Courtesy of CLEAN Cause
In a world increasingly aware – and vocal – of the realities of drug addiction and addiction, more alcohol-free options are appearing in bars, restaurants and store shelves. But an Austin-born brand keeps Austin hydrated and caffeinated while actively supporting those who are recovering.
Wes Hurt founded CLEAN Cause with the intention of helping recovering people re-enter rehabilitation into a sober day-to-day life. Half of CLEAN’s proceeds go to helping people recovering from drug addiction, and to date they have awarded more than 2,823 scholarships, worth over $ 1.4 million. And with the addition of the Kroger banners to their retailers (which already included HEB, Whole Foods Market, Amazon, Instacart, and Walmart), CLEAN Cause is poised to help thousands more.
“It was seeing the pain my addiction had brought to me and, more importantly, to my family and friends, that made me realize how much of a problem addiction is in America.” , Hurt told the Chronicle. âNineteen million Americans struggle with drug addiction and each of them has a network of family and friends like me. So if you take that 19 million times, multiplied by an individual’s family and friend network, it quickly becomes clear that there probably isn’t a single person in America untouched by drug addiction. “
This is the second venture launched by Hurt, a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. The first was Hey Cupcake !, one of Austin’s very first food trailers. After visiting Magnolia Bakery on a trip to New York City, he decided to bring the cupcake craze to Austin. He had never made a cupcake in his life, but he developed a basic recipe through trial and error, with the help of his best friend’s mother, an experienced baker.
Wes injured (Courtesy of CLEAN Cause)
âWe give where you drink. So wherever there is a can sold, you can bet sober living purses are available. ” – CLEAN Cause founder Wes Hurt, who has now been sober for seven years
The trailer was an immediate hit, but Hurt’s addiction to alcohol and cocaine was spiraling out of control, and he had started using opiates as well. It took him to be fired from the company and kicked out of the house by his wife for him to really hit rock bottom and decide to engage in sobriety.
âEarly in my recovery there was a spark in my stomach that came without warning and it was just this: I’m going to start a business that supports recovery from addiction,â Hurt recalled. “[Initially], I had no idea what the product was, so we’ve been motivated by the cause since day zero. “
Having already been to rehab six times, he identified a supportive gap between inpatient rehabilitation and a sober life. It was during this transition that Hurt and so many of his peers returned to using. He has therefore developed a program where individuals can apply for a scholarship and CLEAN Cause will work with them to cover some or all of the costs associated with the sober living establishment of their choice, with the funds being sent directly home. (Information on how to apply for a sober living scholarship is available at cleancause.com/pages/apply-for-a-scholarship.)
Hurt first started CLEAN Cause in 2015 as a bottled water business, selling it door-to-door from his truck to convenience stores and grocery stores around Austin. But he found himself looking for a clean, organic source of energy to stay energized as the brand grew. He also wanted to develop an attractive product that had not already oversaturated the consumer packaged goods market and could provide a sustainable source of funds to expand access to a sober life.
After sourcing Fairtrade yerba mate, a naturally caffeinated clean energy source, he worked with a food scientist to develop a line of certified organic crispy and lightly sweet, low-calorie sparkling teas. (blackberry, peach, lime, raspberry, and watermelon mint) and natural zero calorie flavors (berry mint, orange ginger, cherry lime and watermelon).
Earlier this year, he rebranded CLEAN Cause as a sparkling tea company and built the brand’s distribution center in Austin. The company now ships products to more than 10,000 stores from Mexico to Canada. By distributing internally, the company is also able to directly offer more employment opportunities to people recovering from addiction.
âWe give where you drink,â says Hurt, who has now been sober for seven years. âSo wherever there’s a can sold you can bet sober living scholarships are available. From football to the arts community, addiction has impacted every community and every community is looking for a way to support recovery. . That’s why we’re here, as a simple way to put your money – and your taste buds – into action. “