Meet Wingman: The Sparkling Water for Social Drinkers

The beverage appeals to the ”sober curious”
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Photograph courtesy of Wingman

Käter Wingman is offering a sneaky alternative for those looking to head out to the bars without the next-morning-hangover. The Royal Oak-based sparkling water company, which goes by Wingman for short, created its beverage with social drinking in mind.

“The whole idea was founded after a particular night out locally in Birmingham with some friends a few years ago,” says Tom Chinonis, founder of Wingman. Not wanting to drink, Tom broke off from his group and went to the end of the bar, hoping no one would hear him ordering a “soda on the rocks with a lime.” “I went home, and I remember recounting the night to my brother,” he says. “It felt silly that, at my age, I was still embarrassed about not drinking on a night out.”

Years later, with this moment in mind, Tom launched Käter Wingman Sparkling Water with his brother, Dennis Chinonis, in 2018. Today, Wingman aims to provide an alternative for consumers looking to abstain from alcohol for any reason, whether it’s for one round, an entire night out, or even longer. Its electrolyte-infused water is available in three flavors: lime, grapefruit, and an original flavorless water. All of the company’s drinks contain no sugar, sodium, or calories.

The drink comes in glass bottles that are reminiscent of beer bottles: dark in color with a slender bottleneck and metal cap. So, they can easily camouflage in a bar or drinking environment.“This is a drink that is just as delicious as a cocktail and gives you something that you can feel confident about in social situations,” Tom says. “There’s plenty of non-alcoholic beers out there but we shouldn’t have to sell-out on taste just to feel like we fit in.”

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Tom (left) and Dennis Chinonis. // Photograph courtesy of Wingman

Locally, the beverages can be purchased at Plum Market, Westborn Markets, Holiday Market, Luxe Bar and Grill, The Dow, Off the Wagon, Birmingham Athletic Club, and more. They’re also available in select retailers in Illinois.

“We received an overwhelming response from strangers after the launch,” Tom says, sharing that the trend that Wingman is a part of has been dubbed “sober curious” and “mindful drinking.” “It pairs with the global shift among Generation Z and Millennials. They’re drinking less alcohol due to health and social concerns.”

However, while Wingman is certainly part of a new movement of drinkers, Tom says it’s important to note that the drink is not intended to necessarily push sobriety. “ ‘Drinking smart’ doesn’t mean not drinking ever again. It’s just a more responsible time we live in,” he shares.

Tom says there are big plans in store for the company in 2019.  Toward the end of the year, consumers can expect to see Wingman at more grocery stores, bars, and restaurants across the Midwest. “The demand is growing, and we are excited to supply our water,” he says. “We’re proud to be creating a product that pairs so well with this shift in drinking culture.”

For more information, visit katerwingman.com.


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