Schools, cities, workplaces – many of these venues around the country have tried to ban sugary sodas as nutritionists and public health experts have sounded the alarm over their ubiquitous presence in the American diet. A regular soda is sugar bomb that, with regular consumption, can blow up your health.

Chris Kinkade of Brunswick banned sugary sodas in his own household and came up with an alternative, honey-sweetened soda that his kids liked so much he started making them commercially, founding a company called Green Bee in 2010. Still, his customers told him they wanted less sugar.

To the Kinkades, honey is healthy, “but some people don’t want any additional sugars, not even honey,” says Lori Kinkade, Chris’ wife and director of communications for the family company. So now the Kinkades have developed a line of sparkling waters flavored with fresh ingredients and no added sugars. The simplest is ridiculously simple: the lemon-flavored, which is just lemon juice and carbonated water. That’s just 5 calories per 12-ounce bottle, compared with 110 calories for the same size honey-sweetened Lemon Sting and 140 calories for a Coca-Cola). It would make a nice non-alcoholic accompaniment to a summer dinner of lobster or other seafood.

The ginger flavor is just right, providing enough spiciness to satisfy ginger fans without overdoing it. Tiny bits of ginger “sediment” float in the bottle, but they’re not noticeable when you’re drinking it. Kinkade says the drink looks that way because they’ve left it unfiltered: “That’s where all the flavor is. That’s the best part.”

My favorite was the blueberry sparkling water. Other blueberry drinks go so heavy on the sugar, you have to wonder if they’re really any better for you than regular soda. This one was very lightly sweet, and that sweetness came right from the berries. Kinkade says they buy their blueberries from growers Down East, then press them in an Italian wine press. The leftover skins are composted. (Kinkade used to feed them to her chickens, “and the chickens love them,” but now the business is so big, the chickens can’t keep up.)

The sparkling waters sell for about $2.50 a bottle, depending on where you buy them. You’ll find them at natural foods stores such as Whole Foods, the Portland Food Co-op, Lois’ Natural Marketplace and the Rosemont markets. For a complete list, as well as a list of restaurants that sell the drinks, go to the map on the Green Bee website,


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