Gojai's organic, caffeinated seltzer looks to dominate soda alternatives

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

“I think this is the next-generation way to drink caffeine, and it’s a cleaner way to drink caffeine."
“I think this is the next-generation way to drink caffeine, and it’s a cleaner way to drink caffeine."

Related tags: Sparkling water, sparkling flavored water, seltzer, flavored water, Expo west

A new sparkling water startup has hit the market in southern California. Gojai promises ‘clean, green, organic caffeine’ in every can, made with advanced reverse osmosis triple filtration.

Gojai comes from the Ojai region of southern California, born out of founder Lindsay Chambers’ need for a healthy, caffeinated soda alternative. She developed the formula for her mother, who was undergoing chemotherapy treatment and trying to kick a diet soda habit.

Keeping the caffeine content equivalent to a can of soda or a half-cup of coffee, Gojai sources its energy from organic, unroasted coffee beans. Chambers tries to keep the product as clean and local as possible, as two out of the range’s three flavors include ingredients grown on her citrus and avocado ranch.

The Orange, Lemon and Grapefruit flavors all have zero calories, 0g of sugar and no preservatives. The water is treated in a triple filtered reverse osmosis process, and all the fruit juices, edible flower oils and natural flavors are certified organic.

Chambers said, “Living on a citrus and avocado ranch, I believe in simplicity and that what you put in your body should be the best that nature has to offer. I’m proud to have been able to create a delicious, uplifting beverage using only the cleanest, healthiest ingredients.”

Next-gen energy

Though there are several organic, caffeinated energy drinks on the market, Chambers said Gojai differs in caffeine content. Rather than 120-180mg, Gojai has just 45mg per 12oz can.

gojai booth 3
Gojai's unfinished booth at Expo West.

“I think this is the next-generation way to drink caffeine, and it’s a cleaner way to drink caffeine than picking up a diet ​[soda],” she said.

They are not the only brand looking at a healthier, caffeinated seltzer product. PepsiCo’s popular bubly water brand has recently hinted that it will soon debut an energized product, with an Instagram caption that promised, “We’ll be on the scene with caffeine pretty soon.”

And Coca-Cola’s new Aha seltzer has caffeine incorporated into two of its eight flavors. They called the addition ‘challenging’ because caffeine has a naturally bitter taste.

It took about a year and a half of Chambers working on her own to get the Gojai idea from concept to launch, which was expected to be at the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim this month. After its postponement due to public health concerns from the coronavirus, she is working to keep the brand’s distribution on track.

Because they are based locally, Chambers and the Gojai team had already begun setting up their booth by the time of the postponement call. She said it won’t severely hurt them financially, but they did miss out on meetings with big name retailers and other industry contacts that can be crucial during a brand’s launch.

“It’s hard for a small brand to get visibility like that with those groups,” ​Chambers said.

“I’m not concerned about Gojai, we’re still getting some really good authorizations. It would have been great to get them all at once, but we’ll live to fight another day.”

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