‘A tangible connection to nature’: Säpp sees big opportunity for birch water in US

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Original Birch Water, Nettle Infusion and Rosehip makes up Säpp's trio of birch waters
Original Birch Water, Nettle Infusion and Rosehip makes up Säpp's trio of birch waters
New York City-based startup Säpp believes birch water can appeal to a mass audience in the US, offering consumers a lower sugar alternative to coconut water and maple water.  

Birch water first gained popularity in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia where it has been consumed for its health benefits for centuries. Säpp says it hopes to emerge as the brand leader in this emerging beverage category.

Säpp comes in three flavors: Original Birch Water, Nettle Infusion, and Rosehip. The beverage is available in stores on the East Coast and in the Midwest US regions at $3.00 per bottle.

Preserving its roots

Säpp co-founders John Kavchak and Yaroslav Khromyak grew up in Eastern Europe drinking birch water. They believe their product provides the consumer with a tangible connection to nature, largely due to its sustainable production process. Sapp’s birch water is sourced from birch trees located in the Carpathian mountains of Ukraine for three to four short weeks during the spring. Säpp is also looking to begin sourcing in the US.

Birch trees spend the year absorbing minerals from their base soil. Once spring arrives, natural sap flows up through the trunk, infusing and filtering the water with nutrients and minerals. Trees are then tapped to yield birch water that is ready to drink. 

In order to make sure that the quality of the beverage is maintained, the birch water undergoes a flash-freeze and filtration process following extraction from the birch tree, Khromyak said.

Slow & steady

“We want to take it gradually, and educate the customer. It’s a very young category.” ​Säpp’s co-founder Khromyak told BeverageDaily.

Säpp first launched in independent organic stores on the East Coast of the US six months ago and has since expanded its distribution to large grocery retails chains including Whole Foods and Mariano’s, according to Khromyak.

Säpp conducts regular educational and interactive demonstrations in retail stores where customers can sample and learn about birch water.  

“We are committed to building the brand bottom up, and spending time over the year to educate the customer,” ​Khromyak said.

Säpp’s end goal is to expand from a niche to mass market appeal.

Health appeal

Birch water has been commonly consumed for its alleged detoxifying, diuretic, and cleansing properties. It contains 80% less sugar than coconut water, about 60% less sugar than maple water, and five times more manganese than a cup of kale, claims Säpp.

With its low calorie count – 10 calories per 10 oz. bottle ­­- Säpp’s target audience is the health conscious consumer.

“It appeals to people who are looking for healthy beverages, particularly for those who are looking for low sugar content…more health conscious people. For people who drink a lot of water throughout the day, and that get kind of bored with water,” ​Khromyak said.

While Säpp touts many health benefits, including markedly lower sugar content, the company’s goal is not to replace other plant-based waters but rather to serve as well-known, hydrating alternative. 

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