Keaton Smith, a senior Barrett Honors student, and Business Entrepreneurship major, recently collaborated with classmates to develop a product in ENT 360- Entrepreneurship + Value Creation. His team’s product, Kavawater, managed to get runner-up in the seed funding pitch competition that the class held at the end of the semester. 

The product, Kavawater, is a relaxing drink that uses a powder made up from the Kava plant. Polynesian Islands such as Hawaii and Fiji, are hosts to the Kava plant and have been using it for generations as a compound for both medicinal and social purposes. The Kavalactones in the Kava plant create a relaxing effect without inebriating the user. The compound is relatively safe to use with no recorded overdoses or deaths from consumption.

Eryck, Keaton’s friend from college, shared his story of how he came home from work and drank a couple of beers to relax quite frequently. Unfortunately for Eryck, this caused him to gain weight and feel less healthy. Keaton’s team found Kavawater as a great solution to this problem. Not only does Kavawater provide the relaxing effect Eryck is looking for, but it is also low-calorie and does not cause one’s body to metabolize energy into fat (which alcohol is known to do). 

The Kavawater team believes the drink will sell itself, by appealing to the health-conscious consumers looking for both a legal and safe way to unwind. The only issue with developing the product is Kava is rather bitter and most users consider it to taste bad. To make it palatable for consumers the Kavawater team developed a manufacturing process using high hydrostatic pressure processing to reduce the bitterness of the Kava plant, while also adding stevia and fruit juices to sweeten the taste. With a better-tasting Kava drink, Kavawater is looking to bring the product to market by 2021, when it will be selling on its website directly to consumers. 

Click here to see Kavawater’s landing page and subscribe for updates on when it will go to market.