Water with ‘Sol’: Exeter High grad creates new sports drink
STRATHAM — What started as a grad school business plan now stands on the precipice of becoming the newest trend in performance sports drinks.
Exeter High School graduate Calvin Engle is the founder of Sol Water Company, which makes all-natural electrolyte water. Sol Water is made from nothing more than spring water, lemon and Himalayan pink salt.
Engle said he was finishing up his MBA program at Rutgers University and wrote the product business plan as his capstone project. He launched his prototype beverage over the summer starting with $5,000 to research canning options for his beverage.
“It’s a drink I’ve been making myself for the last three years,” Engle, a resident of New York City, but has returned home to live with his parents during the pandemic. “In my (Crossfit) community, a lot of people seemed to be making this for themselves, so I wanted to see if there was a real market for it.”
Engle began making his own electrolyte water concoction each morning. He said he had a pink saltwater mixture premade and he would add it to a glass of water with some lemon juice.
“Salt takes time to dilute in water so you can’t really make it on the go or else the salt just sits at the bottom of the glass,” Engle said. “It’s become a morning ritual for people as a mineral cocktail.”
Over the summer, after purchasing a hand can seamer, Engle began experimenting with different concentrations of water with diluted Himalayan pink salt in a five-gallon drum and mixing it with lemon juice and spring water. He said he uses Himalayan salt because it is some of the oldest and mineral-rich salt in the world, as opposed to normal table salt, which has been mostly stripped of its natural minerals.
Engle said finding the perfect balance between an overly salty beverage designed to hydrate the buyer has been a delicate balance to strike and it remains an evolving process.
“The first sip is salty for those who aren’t expecting it, but when you get past the first sip it’s pretty refreshing,” Engle said. “We’re still tweaking the formula and treading the salt concentration line carefully, using my original formula as the baseline. If the salt concentration is too low, it degrades the lemon taste, but at a certain threshold the salt really brings out that taste.”
Engle said Sol Water is catered to physically active people who may not be receiving enough salt in their diets. Each can offers a boost of more than 1,000 milligrams of sodium.
“There’s some sticker shock when people see 1,000 milligrams of sodium,” Engle said. “We want to educate people on the benefits of balancing salt and minerals in their diet. (Sol Water) is for people with healthy lifestyles already but not getting enough sodium, not really if you’re eating fast food and consuming sodium that way.”
Engle said Sol Water Company has partnered with NOBL Beverages in Seabrook, which is expanding his market footprint. He said Sol Water has begun to catch on at several gyms and yoga studios in New Jersey and he is working so it will soon be available for retail purchase in the Seacoast.
For now, Engle recommends anyone interesting in trying Sol Water purchase it directly through the company website solwatercompany.com. Five cents from every can sold is donated to protecting the Amazon rain forest.