The War on Soft drinks is about to get UGLY!

It’s 3pm.

I’m sat at my desk; bored, hungry and counting down the minutes until I clock off. I’m tempted to go and buy a Twix from the shops, but that would make it the third time this week and not exactly in line with my New Year’s Resolution to ‘lose some weight’!

So, instead I make the decision to go and grab myself a drink, but what to choose…?

Option 1 – Coffee?

Nope! I’ve had three cups already, am buzzing like mad and if I have any more now, especially this late in the afternoon, I can wave goodbye to sleep tonight.

Option 2 – Tea?

Bleurgh! Hate the stuff!

Boring waterOption 3 – Water?


Option 4 – Can of Coke?

Hello, didn’t I just say I was trying to lose a bit of weight?! A can of coke contains a whopping 8.75 teaspoons of sugar, so this is not even an option!

Option 5 – Can of Diet Coke?

This is what usually wins.

It has taste, unlike water; it feels a bit treaty, but without the calories; and it’s quick and easy to grab from the fridge, can be drunk straight from the can and this also means…no washing up!

But, hang on, there’s got to be something better for me than this daily, mid afternoon can of diet coke, that OK has no sugar or calories, but is riddled with artificial sweeteners and other chemical nasties?


Ugly is here to revolutionise your bad drinking habits, by giving you a thirst quenching experience you’ll remember, you’ll love and you won’t regret later. Ugly drinks are a ‘what you see is what you get’ product. All too often we are bombarded with products that sell false hopes and promises, hidden under a facade of glorious packaging and pimped up advertising hype, so what a refreshing change to have Ugly say to us that actually, you know what, you’re sweet enough already, so who needs all that sugar and artificial sweetener gubbins?!

Taking drinks back to their healthy basics, Ugly is sparkling water infused with natural fruit flavours. You still get a carbonated drink and you still get a great taste, but you don’t get the chemical after taste, you don’t get those extra inches round the hips and you don’t get an eye watering bill from your dentist – RESULT!

Currently available in two flavours; Lemon & Lime and Grapefruit & Pineapple; the ingredients list simply read:

  • Sparkling Waterdo you #glugugly ?
  • Natural Lemon and Lime/Grapefruit and Pineapple Flavours
  • Natural Flavour
  • Citric Acid
  • No Sugar!
  • No Sweetener!
  • Nothing Artificial!

Flavours are added to the sparkling water in two different processes: citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes and grapefruits, the oil from the skin is used and for other fruits, in this case pineapple, the extract is taken from infusion.

Taste Test

For the past couple of days my can of diet coke has been replaced with a can of Ugly and in the question of scientific drinks research here are my findings:

Grapefruit & Pineapple

I’m going to start off by telling you about the smell, because my goodness when you open the can the most amazing smell hits your nose like a thousand different fireworks all going off at once. It smells like all those old sweet shop favourites you used to have as a kid; flying saucers, fizzy refreshers and sherbet dips all rolled into one. I literally could have sat there snorting the can all day, but besides the fact I would have looked like a complete and utter freak had anyone caught me in my bizarre sniffy state, there was a glorious can of drink waiting to be glugged.

Expecting to be hit by the same powerful sensation as the smell, I’ll be honest I was initially disappointed by the taste. But, and here comes the very big BUT, the more I had, the more the flavour developed and I realised I LOVED it. Its subtle, refreshing taste builds up the more you drink and it felt really nice to be drinking something that had no chemical after taste. It was pure, simple and incredibly refreshing and it reminded me of something, which I couldn’t quite put my finger on…then it came to me!


Have you read Roald Dahl’s ‘BFG’?

Of course you have (if you haven’t then go and do it now!), so you’ll remember that all the BFG has to eat is the ‘repulsant snozzcumber’, a horrid black and white striped cucumber thing that tastes like frogskins and rotten fish. But, what he lacks in tasty cuisine he certainly makes up for in bubbly beverage, with the ‘delumptious fizzy frobscottle’.

Grapefruit & Pineapple Ugly is, to me, the actual real life version of Frobscottle. It’s (naturally) sweet, it’s ‘jumbly’ and boy can it make you ‘whizzpop’!

Lemon & Lime

I like to think of this flavour as the slightly more sophisticated, slightly more reserved and slightly less frenzied older sister to the Grapefruit & Pineapple Ugly. It has a less ‘in your face’, ‘look at me’ sense to it when first opened, but still there is a gorgeous aroma that wafts up to the nostrils; think sparkler rather than rocket. I must say, though, that this is my favourite flavour of the two. It very much reminds me of other lemon and lime carbonated drinks, but again has no funny, chemical after taste. Hammock time!Now, I’m sure I probably shouldn’t be corrupting this natural, untampered, innocent young drink, but oh how I can imagine this going well with some vodka! I can just picture myself in mid summer, lying in my hammock in the garden, a glass of ‘Uglytini’ in my hand (cos that’s what I’d christen it!) and listening to the gentle hum of lawnmowers and birdsong…bliss.

Because that’s exactly what Lemon & Lime Ugly does; it makes you think of all the good things in life, the promise of all the good things to come, like long summer days, warm sand between your toes, the sound of waves lapping against golden beaches, wandering through Italian lemon groves. It is summer in a can and I LOVE it!

So, I think I’ve made my feelings pretty clear abut Ugly, it rocks! But maybe you’re wondering how it all started and how you can get your hands on some? Check out our interview with Ugly below and find the answers to both these questions and more:

Who and what are Ugly Drinks?

“Ugly Drinks is a brand new company launched in 2015 and co-founded by myself, Hugh Thomas, and Joe Benn. We launched our new product into stores on January 7th 2016. Ugly Drinks is a range of 100% natural, fruit infused sparkling waters. We have two flavours – Lemon & Lime and Grapefruit & Pineapple. The team is currently 4 people and we are based in a small shipping container in Elephant and Castle.”

Ugly Faces

How long has the company been running?

“Joe and I left our jobs to launch Ugly in 2015 and our infused sparkling waters launched in-stores on January 7th this year. We initially had the idea in 2013, so there has been a lot of hard work getting us to this point! “

What was the inspiration behind Ugly Drinks?

“Joe and I began to learn more and more about the impact of sugar and sweetener on the UK population. We felt not only is there a big impact of sugar and sweetener on the health of the nation (an increase in the amount of obesity and number of diabetes patients is forecast) but also an impact on the happiness and productivity of the country. The sugar slump after that lunchtime fizzy drink is felt by many and something we think is avoidable! When we looked at the drink shelves, we realised that it is very difficult to find something with flavour but without sugar or sweetener, so we set out to create something that ticked these boxes. Infused sparkling water was our solution to traditional sugary and sweetened drinks and we were very excited to launch our all natural product in January.”

Why the name Ugly Drinks?

“We think too many products tend to over-promise and under-deliver with their names. Whether it’s promising more energy, more intelligence or even more beauty, generally the products don’t deliver. We didn’t want to do this, and wanted to make a product that was beautiful on the inside and Ugly on the out. Ugly is just sparkling water but infused with fruit. If that makes us Ugly…then so be it!”

Ugly drinksHow many products do you have?

“We launched with two flavours; Lemon & Lime (nice and refreshing) and Grapefruit & Pineapple (a disco in a can!). They’re both equally delicious! Hopefully with time we can launch more flavours…we are always open to suggestions! The RRP for a can of 330ml Ugly is £0.99.”

Who is your target audience?

“We want to make Ugly as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. Our target market is anyone who currently enjoys sugary or sweetened fizzy drinks and is looking to make a healthy switch. Ugly is a great, 100% natural, sugar and sweetener free alternative that still hits that 3pm ‘cold can moment’ – super refreshing!”

Do you drink Ugly? 

“Of course! The team here drink Ugly every day!”

Where can I buy Ugly Drinks?

“Ugly is currently available in Selfridges and Whole Foods Market alongside a number of leading independents across the UK. We also offer a web shop at For readers of the blog, we’ve created a special code ‘UGLYARTOF’ which will give you 20% off all orders!”

What are your future plans?

“We are driven to make healthier drinks accessible to as many people as possible, so we will continue to try and get Ugly in more and more stores across the UK. We genuinely believe people are sweet enough already, and that they should have sugar and sweetener free alternatives available! Alongside this, we will look to introduce more flavours to UK stores in the coming years and maybe one day, if things go to plan, expand beyond these shores!

What is the ‘big dream’?

“We would love Ugly to lead and be part of a movement towards food and drink products that are more transparent with consumers. At the same time, we think the UK is sweet enough already and would love to see drinks fridges stocked with more sugar-free and sweetener-free alternatives in coming years. We call these sorts of drinks ‘unsweet’ and look forward to seeing more on shelves soon!”

Art of Healthy Living get UGLY!Art of Healthy Living get UGLY!Describe Ugly Drinks in three words.

Refreshing, Fun and Delicious.

Wow, thanks Ugly that’s great! Remember to take advantage of their fantastic and very generous offer to you, our fantabulous Art of Healthy Living readers, and get 20% off all orders at by quoting ‘UGLYARTOF’


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