Teen entrepreneur launches sugar-free sports drink

LOIS ELFMAN | 5/20/2021, midnight
At age eight, Alana Andrews was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic. She had seen diabetes impact family members and although only ...
16-year-old Alana Andrews has launched SWEY, a sugar-free sports drink Alana Andrews photo

At age eight, Alana Andrews was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic. She had seen diabetes impact family members and although only a child, she became determined to control her destiny. She changed her diet, began exercising and developed a passion for tennis.

“I started to build a healthier lifestyle, which circled around tennis and track and also eating healthy as well,” said Andrews. After sweating on the tennis court, Andrews wanted a refreshing sports drink, but was frustrated by the sugar and artificial ingredients that many drinks contained. Calling upon her entrepreneurial spirit, she saw a gap in the market.

Andrews recently launched SWEY (Strong, Wise, Energetic, Youth), which hit the market earlier this month. She describes it as a sugar-free, natural sports drink, the result of a nine-year vision and a four-year goal. The process began when Andrews took part in a young entrepreneurs’ academy where she learned how to take the idea and turn it into a business.

“I started making SWEY in my kitchen,” said Andrews, who is also an author. “I would Google the vitamins that teens need pre- and post-workout, identify ingredients that had those vitamins and then turn those into powder, make it in my blender and have taste tests. After we identified what needs to be in the drink, we took it to a lab. Then we put it all together and came up with the formulation.”

Now, SWEY is a natural sports drink for Gen Z available online at sweytoplay.com. Andrews said numerous athletes have tried it and given positive feedback. She played on her high school tennis team but sat out this year due to the pandemic and to focus on SWEY but plans to rejoin the team for her senior year. After originally planning to attend college at Stanford University, she’s changed her focus to Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“What I focus on and my parents instilled in me is the power of mindset and having that strong mentality,” said Andrews, whose goal is to have a foundation for SWEY to train young entrepreneurs and teach about physical and mental health. “I do public speaking, so I speak to other young women about identifying who they are at the core, what is their overall vision and what do they want to achieve and then work towards becoming the best version of yourself.”