Loudoun Co. teen launches sugar-free sports drink for Gen-Z

Alana Andrews invented SWEY after realizing how much sugar was in most sports drinks. (Courtesy SWEY)

A Potomac Falls, Virginia, high school student has launched her own line of sugar-free sports drinks.

Alana Andrews, 17, a junior at Potomac Falls High School, was diagnosed as borderline diabetic at age 8, and was worried the disease would affect her life. She began exercising rigorously, but was surprised to see how much sugar and how many artificial ingredients were in traditional sports drinks.

Alana Andrews is marketing SWEY toward other young people. (Courtesy SWEY)

“I couldn’t find anything that I could drink on those really hot days when I needed to replenish electrolytes. Everything I found on store shelves had a lot of sugar, and that was detrimental to my goals to beat diabetes,” Andrews said.

So she launched her own company and sports drink called SWEY. It stands for Strong, Wise, Energetic Youth. She hopes to reach young athletes with her sports drinks, which have just 5 to 15 calories per bottle and come in natural flavors such as orange and tangerine; strawberry and kiwi, and pineapple and coconut.

Her drinks also contain vitamins A, B and E, magnesium and zinc, electrolytes and coconut juice, and they are sweetened with monk fruit, Stevia and erythritol.

SWEY is already available online.

Andrews developed her sports drinks in her family’s kitchen, and has raised funding from friends, family and crowdsourcing. She is looking for other investors.

She conducted dozens of focus groups and spoke with dozens of athletes, athletic directors and coaches in the development process.

The sports drink and the company, which plans to develop other Gen-Z-focused products, are just her latest entrepreneurial undertakings. She has written two books, produced a song on iTunes and established a website and brand called So Positive LLC, which promotes confidence and self-esteem in girls and young women.

She is the youngest of four siblings. Her father is an engineer at Raytheon in Dulles; her mother is a full-time psychology student at Harvard University.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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