04 July, 2009

Zevia "Carbonated Stevia Supplement"

When is a soft drink not a soft drink? When it's sweetened with stevia leaf. Stevia, despite a long and world-wide history of use as a non-sugar sweetener, is not approved for use as a sweetener in the US, but has been grudgingly approved by the FDA as a "supplement." So stevia-sweetened beverages like Zevia Natural Ginger Root Beer have to be sold as "carbonated stevia supplements."

If you think this is stupid, consider this: the FDA has approved steviol glycoside-based sweeteners Truvia and PureVia for use as an additive (i.e. okay for companies to use as an artificial sweetener) even though the plant itself isn't "safe." Maybe that's because Truvia is backed by Coca-Cola and PureVia by PepsiCo. No, that couldn't possibly be it.

Anyway. This post wasn't intended to be a rant against ridiculous government regulations, it's a review of Zevia Natural Ginger Root Beer, albeit a somewhat mixed review.

The flavor is very good. Somewhat herbal and not very gingery, it's immediately identifyable as a root beer. But it lacks the thickish body we've come to expect of a good root beer, the color is more of a dark amber than a true brown, and there is virtually no head when it's poured out. Zevia is best served cold, because the flavor seems to be fragile and easily diluted out by melting ice (personally, I don't consider that a defect because I rather prefer a more subtlely-flavored beverage.) Sweetness is just about right for a root beer - that is, sweeter than a cola but not quite as much as a fruit flavor (orange or grape, for example.) There is a hint of bitter aftertaste to the stevia leaf sweetening, but far less than saccharine or aspartame; to my palate it's comparable to Splenda or Ace-K.

I like it, and I'll buy it when I find it.


Zevia's website.
Product information and some info about stevia as well.

1 comment:

Ian Eisenberg said...

Hi Dave!

I am Ian Eisenberg a founder of Zevia. From the photo you posted it looks like you have a n older version of our Ginger Root Beer. Email me at ian at zevia dot com and I will send you a new 6 pack as well as the other flavors if you like. Remember Zevia is the only 0 Calorie, All Natural Diet SOda with no artificial sweeteners in the world!