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Weekend Sip: ‘I’m not a big fan of bubbles. I don’t like the bloat I get’: Can this non-carbonated alcoholic drink take the place of hard seltzer?

The can

Funny Water, $27.99 for a 12-pack

The back story

Is it time to forgo the hard seltzer and think flat?

That’s essentially the pitch behind Funny Water, a brand that launched last year and offers a non-fizzy (or flat) take on a canned alcoholic beverage (the Ready to Drink, or RTD, category in industry parlance). The product is the brainchild of veteran advertising and design professional PJ Loughran, and boating-industry entrepreneur Jake Vogel.

As Loughran explains, the brand started out with a name — Funny Water just seemed, well, fun — and eventually became about a style of flat beverage. Loughran is convinced that there’s a market for people who don’t like carbonated drinks. “I’m not a big fan of bubbles. I don’t like the bloat I get,” he says.

Funny Water comes in three flavors — citrus, watermelon and cucumber mint — and each one is fairly low in calories (80 — roughly equivalent to some light beers). Loughran says they’re designed to be like slightly alcoholic versions of spa water, as in the kind of fruit or vegetable-flavored water you’ll find at a health club (or at a hotel welcome desk). In short, a light form of refreshment that will provide just a little buzz.

Funny Water arrives at a time when the hard-seltzer biz has lost some of its, well, fizz. Just a few years ago, everyone was seemingly celebrating “White Claw Summer,” as the trend was called in reference to the popular hard-seltzer brand. But by 2021, sales had slowed considerably for the category.

Still, Funny Water, which Loughran says was funded with $1.5 million in start-up money, has a way to go: The Chicago-based brand is currently available in just one state — Pennsylvania — though it’s sold online. Loughran says it will launch in several other states in the coming months, however.

What we think about it

In a word, this is refreshing. I mean, super-refreshing. Funny Water does very much taste like spa water, with the flavorings providing a clean and subtle boost (I’m especially partial to the cucumber mint). And you don’t really miss the fizz, either. The fact it’s low in alcohol (3.75%) is another plus — you can enjoy a couple of these without fear of getting overly buzzed.

How to enjoy it

Just crack open a can and sip. Though Loughran says it’s fine to enjoy Funny Water on ice as well.

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