After nearly one year of testing formulas, Sun Chaser co-founders Nellie Coffy and Joce Stradiotto are about to launch pre-orders of their beverage brand on their website. Sun Chaser is a carbonated alcohol alternative that is free from booze and caffeine.
In the quickly growing category of alcohol-free, Sun Chaser is designed to give drinkers a ‘buzz’ without alcohol and without the next-day hangover.
It is using a blend of nootropics, which are ‘smart drug’ supplements that improve cognitive function. L-theanine, 5-HTP, GABA and cordyceps come together in Sun Chaser and simulate the feeling of being ‘buzzed’ or slightly drunk.
Biohacking a buzz
Stradiotto dabbled in biohacking with her own supplements to enhance her personal brain cognition when working at Google, where she and Coffy met. Together the two realized an RTD ‘fun’ option was lacking in the market.
The fundamental question behind the product was, “How can we create a better drinking experience for people like us, who want to engage deeply in our social lives, but who also want to have beautiful, enriching lives outside of drinking?” Coffy said.
Coffy spoke to BeverageDaily and emphasized the distinction between ‘drunk’ and ‘buzzed.’ The effects of one 12oz can of Sun Chaser is about equivalent to one average serving of alcohol, and the co-founders do not recommend drinking more than two in one day.
The nootropics included in the formula are known to impact the centers in the brain responsible for stress relief, mood and joy. Each have a specific feeling in the body, but when combined that feeling evolves.
“The interplay of these supplements loosens your inhibitions slightly, it brings on a sense of anti-anxiety properties, beautiful feelings of relaxation and heightened feelings of joy,” Coffy said.
Making nootropics mainstream
Sun Chaser isn’t intended to replace binge drinking or get consumers drunk, but rather give them another option in between. It impacts the brain and induces a slightly altered state, but still allows for moderation and control.
Consumers are advised not to operate heavy machinery after drinking Sun Chaser, and those nursing or pregnant should consult with a doctor before consuming supplements. Sun Chaser’s claims have not been verified by the FDA, and they will enforce an age minimum of 18 to purchase.
“Most individuals feel the intended effects within 15-30 minutes. The buzz often comes quickly, is felt for about an hour, and then ends. We recommend you start with a single can and see how you feel before drinking a second,” Sun Chaser said.
Nootropics are just beginning to gain recognition, and Coffy believes it’s only a matter of time before their application in beverage is mainstream. The closest product on the market to Sun Chaser is Kin Euphorics, which started as an alternative to liquor.
Kin’s original High Rhode and newer Dream Light products are designed to be used as replacements for spirits in cocktails. Both blend adaptogens, nootropics and botanics for a specific function.
The former is to be enjoyed in a social setting like Sun Chaser, while the latter is positioned as a sleep supplement beverage. Kin also sells the 8oz canned Spritz, that it calls a ‘sparkling twist’ on High Rhode for taking on the go.
Setting up the next generation
Sun Chaser is still in its early stages, and will begin accepting pre-orders on February 10. From there, Coffy said they hope to attract enough attention and funds to get the first batch of Sun Chaser in the hands of consumers by April.
“I think this market is going to grow and expand to the point where a generation from now, people aren’t going to think that alcohol is the only drink we have to have fun,” Coffy said.
For now Sun Chaser consists of one, original variety that features tart cherry, mint, lime and lemon flavors. It’s packaged in a 12oz can. They are hoping to target the young millennial and 18+ Gen Z demographic that have been so receptive to low ABV and zero-proof drinks.
Coffy and Stradiotto remind customers on their website that the effects of Sun Chaser are usually seen on a sliding scale, and are dependent on each individual’s physiology. They note that “no two buzzes are alike” and some may not experience an altered state from the product at all.
“I think our kids and our kids’ kids will be drinking drinks that are far beyond our wildest expectations that do give us a sense of feeling a little lighter and feeling a little different, but that we don’t have to trade our health in exchange for,” Coffy said.
“I think we’re on a really exciting precipice when it comes to how we treat our bodies, how we treat our minds and how we engage with the people we love.”