Beer, Wine, and Liquor

Published on July 18th, 2012 | by Jennifer Kaplan


Air: Not Just All-Natural Water + Alcohol


Hmmm. A new “low-calorie” drink has hit the market: Air or Alcohol Inspired Refresher.

The company is marketing this drink as “water + alcohol,” “all-natural” (and we know how little that means!), and claiming only 95 calories*. The asterisk tells us that this applies only to a 12 ounce serving of citrus and berry flavors. The club flavor – which  is supposed to taste like club soda or have the least flavor – ironically has the most calories at 143.

But all natural water and alcohol is clearly not what we are talking about here, nor is 143 calories all that lo-calorie. The fine print lets us know that it’s actually a “clear malt liquor beverage with water and natural flavors.”

Now that we know what Air actually is, what is it pretending to be? It appears that like other low-calorie beverages that are trying to appeal to women like the not-so-all-natural Skinny Girls Cocktails, it is trying to be an all-natural, light alcoholic beverage (think vodka and club soda). According to

[Air is] virtually odorless, colorless, and tasteless…The prime focus of Air is its neutrality.

And, like other low-calorie beverages that are trying to appeal to women.

Air has committed the most common greenwash sin: the Sin of Vagueness. As points out, the term ‘natural’ can mean just about anything; it has no nutritional meaning and isn’t truly regulated by the FDA. Nor is it regulated by the TTB. whose rules (pdf) on using the term ‘natural’ in marketing of spirits are virtually impossible to decipher but clearly allow for preservatives. Since there is no public information on the ingredients of Air, its really hard to say what the “all-natural” label means.

I am highly skeptical that Air is truly “all-natural,” so I guess the question is: Will Whole Foods carry it?

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About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - follow her on and .

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