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CPGInnovation of the WeekStartupsMarch 18, 20220Innovation of the Week – March 18, 2022

by Brooke Bender


Hiyo– CPG

What it is: 


Hiyo is a “social tonic” that contains organic adaptogens, natural nootropics, and functional botanicals.  The lightly carbonated seltzer uses a range of ingredients: ashwagandha to relieve stress, lion’s mane to promote clarity, l-theanine to improve focus, cordyceps to boost energy, ginger to aid digestion, and turmeric to fight inflammation.  The company claims that Hiyo can produce a stress-relieving, mood-boosting feeling (that they call “the float”) that people usually turn to alcohol for.  Their drinks provide this same effect by using healthy, functional ingredients.   

Hiyo is packaged in 12-ounce slim cans and comes in 3 flavors: Peach Mango, Watermelon Lime, and Blackberry Lemon.  A 12-pack retails for $44.99.  Each can contains only 25 calories and is non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan.   

Hiyo is currently available at select retail locations in LA, NYC, Chicago, DC, and Texas.  They also sell directly from their website.  

Who Made It? 

Hiyo was launched in May 2021 and was co-founded by Evan Quinn and George Youmans.  It was created to provide a “better-than-alcohol” alternative to the modern drinker.  Quinn, the company’s CEO, worked at global investment management firm Guggenheim Partners, but left to pursue entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Funding status: 

The company was awarded $40,000 of prize money from UCLA Anderson School of Management in June 2020. The company received funding after winning UCLA’s Knapp Venture competition.

Why we like it: 

  • We have been tracking zero-spirit alcohol alternatives since we first started seeing these types of products in 2017.  This one is being marketed in an interesting way (“the float” effect the ingredients provide) and the slim cans mimic the alcoholic seltzers that are so popular right now. 
  • No corporate or VC backing at this point 
  • Brand new product (launched less than a year ago) but already at retail locations in top markets 

Did you know?  

A February 2021 market study from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis indicated that 10 key countries (including the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, and the UK) represent over 75% of the global zero-proof and low-proof alcoholic beverage market.  Globally, the no/low category gained 3% of the total alcoholic marketTotal volume is forecast to grow +31% by 2024. More Here 


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