Erewhon’s Latest Trendy Beverage? Barcode, an Adaptogen-Infused Sports Drink

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Barcode is a premium hydration brand made with all natural, plant-based ingredients.
Courtesy of Barcode
Los Angeles’ trendiest grocery store is investing in a new sports drink that’s putting a healthy spin on Gatorade.

Erewhon Market is among the new investors in Barcode, an L.A.-based sports drink startup launched by former New York Knicks performance director Mubarak Malik and former Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma. On Monday, Barcode announced a new $2.2 million funding round that also included Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland and NBA player Maurice Harkless, as well as Los Angeles-based Trousdale Ventures among other VC firms.

Barcode is among a trend of drink brands—including L.A.-based AMASS Brands, which has partnered with pop star Katy Perry to make alcohol-free aperitifs—that are dipping into the adaptogen craze. Barcode’s drinks are infused with ashwagandha, cordycep mushrooms and rhodiola rosea—plant extracts that may improve organ functions and mental sharpness, though studies on such claims remain mostly inconclusive.

Barcode has looked to bring those elements into the realm of sports drinks, offering three flavors (lemon lime, watermelon and pinot noir) that sell for $48 per 12-pack. The company plans to expand via Texas-based gourmet grocery store chain Central Market and launch on Amazon next month, with broader plans to eventually expand across the U.S.

The investment is yet another notch in the belt for Erewhon, which has helped popularize the market for “functional drinks” infused with prebiotics, adaptogens and superfoods that promise health benefits. The organic market was the first vendor to carry Olipop, a prebiotic-infused soda that recently raised $30 million from Beverly Hills-based Monogram Capital Partners and celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and the Jonas Brothers.

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