Posted: May 06, 2014 at 12:00 AM
(Last Updated: May 06, 2014 at 9:58 AM)
Vertical Water is one of several products that is part of a new and unique class of beverages: maple water. This particular product is made with maple water (sourced from U.S. maple trees) as its sole ingredient, and, thanks to aseptic packaging, doesn't incorporate any preservatives. The result is something that should, at least in theory, be pretty close to what you’d get right out of a tree. From a flavor perspective, it’s light and definitely not too far from straight water. There is a subtle sweetness in the background as well as something that definitely resembles maple syrup in a highly diluted form (maple syrup is, after all, maple water cooked down into a syrup). Most importantly, it’s a thirst-quenching product that we would have no problem finishing or consuming on a regular basis. Nutritionally, the product’s strongest attribute appears to be its low calorie (40 per carton) and sugar content (6g per 16.9 oz. carton). There is also some mineral content, but that seems like a tougher benefit to convey. Taking a look at the packaging, the company's approach is a bit more subtle than some of the other brands that have incorporated a maple leaf into their design. It seems like a sound approach in concept, although there are definitely some things that we’d reconsider about the execution. For starters, the product is made by an offshoot of a sustainable forestry organization. That’s something that’s huge from an authenticity perspective and could be worked into the branding more. Second, there’s way too much text on the carton (especially the back, which is almost completely covered in text). Simplifying it and making it more visually engaging would be a good place to start. Overall, we very much like the concept and execution of this product. It is, despite some branding concerns, definitely one of the stronger products in the maple water category.