When you’re caught up in the romance of a honeymoon, even the water at a restaurant can seem special. For Albert Swantner and Sarah Syma, the water on their post-nuptial trip wasn’t just special—it was a business opportunity. The couple couldn’t get enough of the cucumber-infused water they’d sipped at a Quebec City restaurant in 2013, but when they came back to Austin thirsty for more, they never found anything to match the flavor. “We tried what was out there and realized none of them were doing it right,” says Swantner, a mobile app developer. “We thought we could do it better.”
Together with their organic farmer friend, Paul Westbrook, the couple developed an artisanal fruit-infused water they call Sway. Unlike other flavored waters out there, which tend to use chemical extracts, Sway gets its zing from real organic fruit. “The whole fruit,” says Swantner. “No artificial anything.”
Sway comes in four flavors—strawberry rosemary, cucumber mint lime, grapefruit basil and lemon ginger—each designed to “sway” the drinker’s emotions one way or another. To ensure its more sensitive customers won’t be swayed toward anger, the company has made the operation as sustainable as possible. Swantner and crew use purified Austin tap water, local fruits and recyclable glass bottles, and they compost the leftovers from processing. And aside from the reverse osmosis machine that gussies up the water, they do everything by hand—using human manpower to steep the fruit and bottle the finished product. “It’s like tea; a simple process,” says Swantner.
Since the first batch rolled out in October, Sway has flowed through the refrigerators of places such as JuiceLand, VertsKebap, Thom’s Market, Wright Bros. Brew & Brew and Skinny Limits. They even pay customers 25 cents for every bottle redeemed. What’s more to sway? -Steve Wilson
For more information, visit swaywater.com