Junior creates, markets hangover drink

Many college students begin their weekend mornings by looking for a cure for a common ailment – the hangover. But last year, GW junior Carla Lewin developed her own remedy.

Hango, a product of Health Products Corporation, is a carbonated citrus drink that intends to replenish the minerals and liquids lost during the consumption of alcohol.

Lewin, originally from Yonkers, N.Y., is a 22-year old marketing major. After high school, Carla took two years off to spend time in Montreal, pursuing various jobs in sales before starting her college career. While attending GW, she had the idea for Hango, which is now distributed to pharmacies, grocery stores and convenience stores throughout the east coast.

The Health Products Corporation released Hango in May 2003. Joseph Lewin, Carla’s father and president of Health Products Corporation, played an integral role in getting Carla’s product off the ground.

“He really let me have a free hand in developing this product,” she said, adding that she first thought of the idea when speaking with her brother. “He had tried one of those pill remedies. We thought it would be a good idea to have a drink.”

Carla’s father, always looking for new ideas for his vitamin company, began assisting Carla in the research of Hango’s ingredients.

“We came up with a couple of formulas, and did hundreds of taste tests. We finally decided on the final formula because it tastes really good and it works,” Carla said. Her father then began working with a company that actually produces the liquid and cans.

Hango is rich in B6 and B12, which serve to break down alcohol in the body. It also contains several other vitamins (including Vitamin C), salts and carbohydrates, which are essential to re-hydration and restoring electrolytes. Other ingredients include bee pollen, caffeine, ginseng, riboflavin and taurine, an ingredient commonly found in energy drinks.

Hango works by replenishing the vitamins and minerals lost after a night of drinking, while adding sugars to break down the alcohol and caffeine to reduce headaches.

“It has a lot less sodium than (sports drinks), less sugar and calories than most energy drinks, and still gives you the boost that they do,” Lewin said.

Lewin, however, found that developing the recipe was only half the battle – she still needed it to get out on the market. “Our first distributor was around New Haven (Conn.), near Yale University,” she said.

Lewin later attended the SOBE-FEST, a South Beach beverage convention for would-be retailers. “We were very happy with the consumer feedback,” she said. “We got a distributor at the festival and Hango is now being sold in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.”

In addition, Hango is now sold in Connecticut and New York as well as on the Internet. Hango.biz sells and ships cases of the drink to consumers, 24 cans for approximately $30.

“We do a lot of marketing on the Internet, and we go to a lot of beverage festivals to pitch it to distributors,” Lewin said. She said she plans to have Hango in stores on GW’s campus shortly.

“Hopefully it will be available to everyone at GW. I kept cases in my room last semester. I went through a case in a month,” she said. “Everybody loved it. They really help you get out of bed and wake you up.”

According to a May 27 press release from Health Products, Hango can be used in three effective ways: “Drinking Hango before going out and drinking, using Hango as a mixer with your favorite alcohol and drinking Hango before you go to bed.”

Hango claims to aid the consumer in “getting over the debilitating feelings of nausea, headache, diarrhea, lack of appetite … and overall feeling of being unwell.”

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