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Beverage launched by Fargo men wins international awards

Two of the flavors of ax-water as seen March 9, 2017. Forum file photo

FARGO—An infused water beverage line that was launched by two Fargo men recently earned multiple international awards and was selected as the most likely to succeed in its category.

Aronia berry-infused water beverage ax-water was launched in March by co-founders Blake Johnson and Wade Gronwold.

During the 14th annual Zenith Global Bottled Water Congress in October held in Barcelona, Spain, ax-water was among more than 100 brands from 23 countries that competed for awards. The brand was represented by Johnson, a civil engineer who serves as ax-water's CEO.

It received several awards, including second place for best functional beverage, second for best new water concept and third for best new brand or brand extension. It was also selected as the most likely to succeed in the entrepreneur panel.

In a written statement, Sanjay Patel, global innovator ignitor at Coca-Cola Services EMEA, said he was impressed by the beverage's formulation because it doesn't have a metallic aftertaste despite counting natural sweetener stevia as one of its ingredients.

"You are on the path to do with aronia berry what acai did with the industry 20 years ago," he said.

There are now three flavors of ax-water, which recently signed with an overseas distribution firm to bring the beverage to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson is a Community Editor for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He previously wrote for The Forum and the Grand Forks Herald.

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