Live SOCIAL, Drink Clean
Leah Caplanis founded SOCIAL Sparkling after a decline in her own health propelled her lifestyle into a new, wellness-based direction. She tells us about her journey to creating the health-conscious beverage brand and the value it has added to social situations.
Was there a clear defining moment when the idea for SOCIAL Sparkling hit you? Tell us about the journey that lead up to that moment.
After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 26 years old, I decided to forgo surgery and other invasive medical treatments and took on a more holistic healing approach; I followed a strict vegan diet and abstained from alcohol. Three years later, I was healed and ready to enjoy alcohol again!
The first time I drank alcohol again was when I was out with friends in Old Town. I went into a liquor store in hopes of finding a health conscious option. I managed to find one skinny, low-calorie drink, however, I didn’t really like the drink. I thought, “Well why don’t I just make one myself?”
Not only did I want access to more healthy alcohol options, but I also fell in love with the idea of creating an alcoholic beverage with women in mind. The thing with the alcohol industry is that men were the primary drinkers so the companies made products to meet men’s needs. Now women are drinking a lot more, and there’s a huge market and room for growth in women’s products. Our canned wines are 88 calories and 10 ounces. They have less calories for the same-size vodka soda that gets women too drunk too fast. The idea behind this company is that women can feel refreshed and have something to drink throughout the night, keep calories down, and wake up the next morning ready to give their best to the world.
The focus on wellness is becoming more and more prominent today. Consumers want to be mindful of their decisions regarding their lifestyles, diets and drinks. Why do you think that is?
There are so many food and drink products available on the market today, but there is also so much education available about the negative impact of some of these foods and drinks. We live in a time and in a society where education is circulated easily and often (as it should be!) and this, in turn, allows people to become aware of what they are putting in their bodies. Similarly, there is a lot of education available that emphasizes the importance of healthy lifestyles (exercise, mental health, etc.), and consumers are soaking this in and reflecting it in their daily lives.
What kind of role does access to these more mindful options play?
Access to these mindful options are everything! It is not enough to just be aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. One needs to be presented with options to enable them to live healthy lives. At SOCIAL we believe that we are crafting a product that is unique and can help people live life to the fullest by giving consumers access to a product that they can enjoy in the company of others, which helps to emphasize the importance of social connections and the joy we get from these connections.
Where do the SOCIAL Sparkling flavor ideas come from?
At SOCIAL, we like to have one ingredient be sweet with a lot of flavor and the other ingredient to be one that is not as sweet. We use ingredients that are well-known superfoods and that are really popular with juice cleanses and tea brands. SOCIAL uses these ingredients for their health benefits and we combine these superfood ingredients with other elements that have more mass appeal -- ingredients that are a little more familiar to the average consumer. This creates a really well-balanced drink that tastes good and is a better option for the consumer too!
What is your favorite food & SOCIAL Sparkling pairing?
SOCIAL Sparkling Wines are a lighter alcoholic option and so they go perfectly with any healthy food (especially when eaten outdoors); salads or seafood are my favorite pairings with our Hibiscus Cucumber wine.