A New Twist On Traditional Kava

Alana Folen
Wednesday - September 22, 2010
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RZO Beverage’s Brian Brooks and Dustin Schoedel

In 2007 while serving in the U.S. Navy, Brian Brooks visited Vanuatu, where he tried kava for the first time. After returning to Oahu, he put together a formula for a great-tasting kava drink, and by early 2008, RZO (pronounced “rizzo”) Beverage was born. Today, Brooks serves as CEO, and Dustin Schoedel is COO of the Hawaii-based corporation.

“We came up with the idea when we realized, first, how awesome kava is and, second, that RZO could meet the consumer’s need for a non-alcoholic, great-tasting and relaxing drink,” Brooks says, adding that after two years of perfecting the taste, RZO finally launched this past January and is available at Don Quijote, Down to Earth, Cafe 2600, Fresh Cafe, Kalapawai Market and Umeke Market for $1.99. RZO also can be purchased at amazon.com.

Brooks and his team contract several companies to manufacture and bottle the beverage. He says the drink helps relieve stress, works as a sleep aid, great post-workout and is a popular social beverage.

“RZO is a relaxation drink - one of very few,” Brooks explains, noting that kava and orange juice concentrate are the main ingredients. “Because kava is the active ingredient in RZO, the effects of drinking RZO are the same as the effect of drinking kava. It chills you out. It calms you down. It gives you a buzz. It’s a 3,000-year-old Pacific tradition with a modern style and taste. No caffeine, no alcohol.

“Despite the fact that RZO provides the opposite effects of caffeine, we actually share the same market,” he says. “Even the high-speed-low-drag population of the work force needs to relax - our bodies need a healthy balance between high energy and relaxation.”

According to Brooks, an overwhelming percentage of people who have tried the drink like the way it tastes.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide a kava drink that everyone can enjoy,” says Brooks, who is an avid biker, surfer and hiker.

“Being fitness buffs, our favorite part is that RZO causes the feeling of relaxation by releasing tension on tight muscles. When the muscles relax, blood flow and circulation improve, and when the blood flow increases in an area, it heals any ailments faster than it would otherwise.

“Our philosophy is to provide a great product that is safe and healthy through ethical, honest and sincere methods.”

For more information, visit rzorzo.com.


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