IP Information & News

The fizzy drink revolution

Dr Clair Curran

By Dr Clair Curran

Senior Patent Attorney

Carbonated drinks are considered to be unhealthy. Yet, from champagne to soda water, the festive season (at least in the UK) traditionally goes hand-in-hand with a little fizzy indulgence here and there. Now, a new, patented, ‘healthy’ alternative has hit the market. What’s all the fuss about, and why has it taken so long to make such a breakthrough?

1693 — natural carbonation

“Come quickly — I am drinking the stars”. So exclaimed Dom Pierre Pérignon, when he drank the first sparkling champagne.

Carbon dioxide, along with alcohol, is one of the by-products of fermentation. This means that many alcoholic drinks become carbonated (or ‘fizzy’) in the bottle.

Champagne is naturally carbonated through the fermentation process. This type of sparkling wine is produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France using the Méthode Champenoise, in which secondary fermentation of the wine is initiated within the bottle to create carbonation (the stars).


Harrogate-spring-water.jpg#asset:1943

1767 — artificial carbonation

Spring water has been known to have therapeutic properties since time immemorial.

The first mineral spring in Harrogate was discovered in 1571 by William Slingsby, Queen Elizabeth’s physician. The town became known as the ‘English Spa Town’ and attracted visitors from far and wide, seeking the renowned health benefits of spring water.

Yet Harrogate’s famous spring water wasn’t carbonated. And it’s carbonated spring water that offers even more health benefits, which is why it has long been used as a remedy for digestive problems such as indigestion.

Volcanic spring water such as Perrier®, which is sourced from a volcanic spring at Vergéze in France, is naturally carbonated due to the cooled magma of volcanic rock releasing carbonic acid.

But, since not everyone had access to a volcanic spring, and with logistics and markets not as ‘global’ as they are today, human curiosity in these naturally effervescent waters drove the initial experimentation into the first artificially carbonated drinks.

Not far from where I sit writing this, back in 1767 in a brewery in Leeds, English chemist Joseph Priestly was the first to artificially carbonate water. He accidentally discovered ‘soda water’ when a bowl of water was suspended over a beer vat. Fermentation vats generate carbon dioxide in the process of converting sugars into low alcohol.

Priestly referred to his invention of soda water as being his “happiest” discovery.

Since then, all sorts of artificially carbonated beverages have been devised — but very few of them could be considered healthy to consume.

2019 — New Year’s Day

We’ve all been there.

New Year’s Day dawns... you wearily reach for the trusty Alka-Seltzer®. And, feeling sorry for yourself, you start pondering the New Year’s resolutions that you publically committed to the night before. Ridiculous, regrettable thoughts like ‘dry January’, or joining the gym, get tossed around your already sore head…

If you are one of those brave souls aiming to embark on a health kick in the new year (and good luck to you), it’s likely that you’ll combine exercise with sports supplements to assume a range of health benefits, from weight loss to muscle building.

Protein powders, conventionally available as shakes, bars and capsules, are one of the most popular muscle-building supplements. Whey protein, a protein fraction obtained from cow milk, is a rich source of branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) — leucine, isoleucine and valine — which are metabolised directly into muscle tissue. These are the first amino acids to be used during periods of exercise and resistance training.

A serious, long-time obstacle to the development of delicious, carbonated protein drinks has been the destabilisation of whey protein, which results in foaming and gelling problems. This has significantly limited the amount of whey protein that can be included in carbonated beverages.


sports-supplements.jpg#asset:1947

1988-2018 — the healthy alternative… Fizzique®

This all changed when ex-British Olympian David Jenkins, intent on transforming healthy protein products forever, founded NEXT Proteins in 1988. His game-changing work made it possible to increase the amount of protein in fizzy drinks and has now launched the revolutionary Fizzique®.

Fizzique provides a previously unthinkable 4400mg of BCAA’s, with each can containing 20g of whey protein isolate.

Patenting a beverage is possible if it’s novel and inventive. Essentially, a beverage is a chemical composition, and the method of producing it is a chemical process. After creating a proprietary process to make a completely clear protein-infused beverage, Jenkins set about securing a patent in order to avoid repeats of past beverage ventures, where a failure to protect his products led to numerous ‘knock-off’ imitators.

Now, in Europe, the drink and the method of making it are patented as EP1809127 and EP2001312. There are also related patents in the US.

Fizzique LLC has also applied for a US trade mark application for ‘PROTEIN ON THE ROCKS’ (US Trade Mark Serial No. 87560493) but, in the case of this particular drink, volcanic rocks are not needed to form the fizz.

So, if you need a tasty way to jump start your 2019 fitness plan, this might be the drink for you. Maybe just wait until the Alka-Seltzer® kicks in, though…

If you have a food or drink product and want to find out how you might be able to protect it with IP rights, feel free to drop me an email at cxc@udl.co.uk.

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