By Stett Holbrook
When Paula Schetino was growing up in Brazil, a refreshing beverage was as simple as blending up some ripe tropical fruit and adding a little sparkling water. Local restaurants and markets served the same stuff—easy, fresh and delicious.
But when she moved to the United States, she missed the tastes of home. Instead of the simple taste of fresh juice, she noticed too many drinks were loaded with artificial flavors, sugar and corn syrup. "I just couldn't find anything like what I had in Brazil," she says. "I said, 'I think we need an option. Something better.'"
So she decided to make her own.
Working with her husband, Alex Hill, and partner George Demiris, Schetino created Sungo Beverages. The Healdsburg-based company just completed its first bottling with flavors that include mango-tangerine, hibiscus-raspberry and my favorite, pineapple-lime. Future flavors include acai-blueberry and passion fruit-orange. The ingredients are pretty basic: fruit juice and sparkling water. No sugar added or needed. Why add sugar to naturally sweet juice?
In addition to fresh fruit taste, the drinks are sold in easily recycled glass bottles instead of plastic that will live forever in landfills or the ocean. Sungo will soon be available at Whole Foods stores in Santa Rosa with plans to expand from there.
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