An outfit that’s pumped about relaxation
Energy drinks are everywhere, but an upstart new beverage pledges to take imbibers in a different direction.
Float Beverages' kava-infused drinks aim to relax consumers while keeping them focused, said Float LLC founder Steven George.
"I didn't want to make a drink that knocks people out."
His Ginger Flow and Vanilla Lift drinks are available in about 20 Oahu and Big Island stores after the products' launch in October. The company also offers Ali'i Gold Premium Hawaiian Kava Extract online, along with recipes for hot drinks.
The former software industry guy started incubating his idea about five years ago in California.
Looking at all the energy drinks designed to "make people energized and go 'up,' he thought "they should have a drink that allows people to calm down ... an alternative to alcohol that makes people feel good," George said.
He started researching kava and found partner, Dr. John Pierce, who is "the scientist behind the formulation."
"I tell people it's kind of like a glass of red wine, only without the hangover."
The label recommends it for consumers 18 and older because, "smaller people are more susceptible to what they put in their bodies."
Those who have tried kava may immediately remember the bitter, earthy-tasting mixture that prevented many from truly enjoying it.
Float beverages' products are "a gateway," George chuckled. People with the aforementioned taste-memory have tried his kava-infused, flavored drinks and been surprised that it is pleasant to drink, he said.
Beyond using friends as a focus group, tasters recently have included attendees at the Honolulu Marathon and Great Aloha Run expos.
"Our next step is ... to get it into more peoples' hands," he said. A store list is on his Web site, www.float-beverage.com.
Many working professionals put in a hard day at work, then work out at the gym, "and sometimes it's hard for the body to calm down. This helps the muscles relax," and provides for recovery from all that training.
Despite the newness of the company, it is already giving back to the community. George is on a kickball team and recent tournament winnings were donated to Hawaii International Child -- because his parents, both of whom attended grad school at UH, adopted him from Vietnam.
He handles sales and distribution himself, but will need help to expand his client base and ramp up production.
George has been financing his venture with family-and-friends money. "I'm actually in the process of a bigger round of fundraising, so I'm still in the seed rounds," he said.
George plans to be at a local annual trade show and the Made in Hawaii Festival this summer.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org