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Whol-E Water’s Start (Article from the Austin American Statesman)

Their senior year at Baylor University, Sam O’Brien’s and Kolton Lye’s apartment was filled with bottled water.

“We had to make a pathway to our kitchen and our living room,” Lye said.

“Cases were literally lining the walls,” O’Brien added.

Now, they’re able to keep the product for their new business, Whol-E Water, in a warehouse. The two recent college grads have begun selling alkaline water while donating part of their proceeds to a local charity. Now all they have to do is explain to people what it is they’re selling.

O’Brien and Lye have moved back to Austin to be near to their West Lake Hills families as well as their customers. The two Westlake graduates have been friends since kindergarten, played together on Westlake High School’s varsity soccer team, started a neighborhood business together when they were in high school, then roomed together in college.

As luck would have it, they also got into Baylor’s coveted entrepreneurial class Accelerated Ventures together.

The class gives students $5,000 seed money and the guidance to start their own business. O’Brien and Lye teamed up with finance student Todd Leitgeb, who now works as the company’s CFO out of Houston, and decided to start Whol-E Water (pronounced “holy” water).

A portion of their proceeds will go to the Austin-based charity A Glimmer of Hope, which brings clean water, education, health care facilities and loans to Ethiopia. Through fundraisers where O’Brien and Lye also market Whol-E Water products, they have raised $2,500 for the charity so far, they said. Their goal is $3,500, which will allow them to fund a tap for a well in the Gonok region of Ethiopia to bring water to a community.

Philip Berber, who co-founded A Glimmer of Hope with his wife, Donna, was O’Brien’s soccer coach when he was young. A Glimmer of Hope puts 100 percent of all donations into their programs in Ethiopia and does not fundraise for operating costs.

As athletes — Lye is a former Baylor University football placekicker — the students were interested in creating and marketing a drink that would be hydrating and replenishing. After doing some research, they settled on alkaline water.

“Health water that’s also charitable is perfect for an Austin market,” O’Brien said.

When a liquid is alkaline, that means it’s not acidic. On a pH scale, one end is acidic and the other end is alkaline. Anything from stress, to exercise, to eating certain foods can minimally make the body’s pH more acidic.

“All the good foods are acidic,” Lye said.

The idea of balancing one’s pH for health reasons originated in Asia, though products are now being introduced into the Western market. Research suggests that the best way to lower the body’s pH is by drinking high alkaline water, O’Brien said. Whol-E water has a pH of 9.4, compared to other brands which can be acidic.

“It helps your body reach equilibrium. … That’s how we fight disease and infection the best,” O’Brien said.

Alkaline water isn’t sold in many Texas stores. This meant there’d be little competition, but the scarcity made production difficult for three college students with limited money and resources, they said. They eventually found a company in California that could sell them the minerals they wanted to raise their water’s pH — calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus — and a company in Dallas that could mix the minerals into water and package the water.

They started out with 2,400 bottles. A couple months ago, they ordered a truck-full: 18,000 bottles.

Whol-E water is stocked in 23 locations, including CrossFit Central, Westlake Crossfit, Lola Savannah, Wheatsville Co-Op, all JuiceLand locations, Royal Blue grocery, Thom’s Market and The Co-op Market on Guadalupe Street.

O’Brien and Lye said they have been interested in entrepreneurship from a young age. They started a business in high school called Westlake Express. They laugh as they remember the Westlake Express, because it began as a transportation service and later became the name they used to ask anyone in West Lake Hills if there was any work that could be done.

“Call us if you need something done,” Lye said, recalling their pitch. “If you pay us, we’ll do it.”

O’Brien said he remembers installing a chandelier and helping a band set up. Their friend, Bailey Hinners – who made a lot of the Whol-E water deliveries this summer – once gave actor Dennis Quaid a ride while in high school.

O’Brien and Lye said they’re excited about their newest business venture. Although their initial checks to A Glimmer of Hope will be small as long as their profit margins are small, and the business partners are still making the deliveries themselves out of their own cars, they’re optimistic about their future.

“We’re emulating how a lot of other local brands have started,” O’Brien said.

A Great Feeling in a Bottle

Our main goal is educating our customers. So letting them know what alkaline water is, what Whol-E Water is about and what our brand means is the priority. I want to focus on the fact that our water is not only is good for you, but also charitable. Whol-E gives back, making it a completely positive experience when you buy/drink it

We at Whol-E Water are committed to our brand. Our slogan, ”Feel Good Do Good,” encompasses everything that we strive to do every day. The Whol-E team lives and breathes this slogan, and we want our followers to be able to experience this. For us, Whol-E Water is a great feeling in a bottle.

It is important to understand how this positive feeling came about. Whol-E Water is nothing less than a health product. We take great pride in our water because we know that we are providing people with a water source that can only be matched by a few in terms of quality. For those who are familiar with alkaline water, you must understand how significant our blood’s pH level is and the effect it has on the rest of the body. Don’t believe us? Ask a doctor how important your pH balance is and how a low pH can negatively affect your body.

By drinking Whol-E Water, you are not only supporting local Austin businesses and experiencing the benefits of alkalinity, but also you are giving back. We call this a win-win. As you all may know, a portion of our annual income is set aside for our charitable commitments. With the help of another Austin-based organization, A Glimmer of Hope, we are going to build wells that will provide very clean and accessible drinking water in impoverished nations. So, the next time you take a sip of Whol-E Water, know that you are making a real impact in the lives of many, and feeling good doing it!

Meet the Whol-E Team

We love informing our followers about the benefits of our water, but now we would like to take the chance to tell you a little bit about the Whol-E Water teams’ hobbies and lifestyles. What exactly do the Whol-E Water team members enjoy doing in their free time? Well, let us tell you!

Hom-E: Kolton Lye

On the weekends, you can always find Kolton on the lake, in the pool, or on the pitch and putt greens along Barton Springs Road.

Kolton’s favorite way to stay active: “Surfing hands down. But also, long boarding, working out, indoor soccer, flag football, and paddle boarding.”

Last meal: the Suite 709 from Jalopy

Music (currently): Junip and the High Highs

Guilty Pleasure: Frequent teeth cleaning

Fun fact: deaf in one ear


Home-E- Sam O’Brien

You may have passed Sam once or twice while in the city, he is always venturing around downtown Austin. Aside from roaming the streets of Austin, Sam loves being on the lake, swimming in Barton Springs, and taking his dogs to red bud. Sam also enjoys graphic design, photography, and video games (Fifa and Halo).

Sam’s favorite way to stay active: “Soccer has been a passion of mine ever since I was 9 years old. Since graduation, I try to keep up with it by playing once a week in an indoor league. I also enjoy CrossFit. I train at Westlake CrossFit in Austin three times a week.”

Last meal: 72oz Strip Steak, creme brulee for desert

Guilty Pleasure: Flaming Hot Cheetos, La Croix fizzy water

Music: A little bit of everything– from dirty twerk music to Adele

Fun Fact: Turtle bite victim and tornado survivor (2 separate occasions)


Hom-E: Todd Leitgeb

Todd spends his free time reading, cruising around town in his car, making espresso-based drinks and listening to music. You can also find Todd watching college football and hanging out with friends.

Todd’s favorite way to stay active: “Sports have always been my favorite way to keep active.  I love playing soccer and volleyball but am always up for a pick up game of basketball or anything really.  I try to run several days a week to keep up my cardio and high rep lifts to increase my endurance.”

Last meal: New York strip steak grilled medium, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, sautéed spinach, steam corn, movenpick ice cream and a glass of New Zealand Malbec red wine

Guilty pleasure: “I love cheese. I often buy blocks of cheese and just cut large chunks of it off and eat it by itself.”

Favorite Bands: Kings of Leon, The Black Keys

Fun fact: Never read a book until senior year of high school


Hom-E: Bailey Hinners

On top of spending time with friends and family, Bailey enjoys going to Alamo Draft House, swimming in Barton Springs, and sinking putts at Butler pitch and putt. Bailey also enjoys hiking, spending times outdoors, and playing video games (Fifa).

Bailey’s favorite way to stay active: “Aside from playing soccer for George Washington University, I love running, doing CrossFit, practicing bikram yoga, and playing pick up basketball with my friends.”

Last meal: the world’s best chicken potpie. I’ve yet to discover it, but my search continues!

Music: Anything electronic, Slightly Stoopid and Rebelution for something chill

Guilty Pleasure: Eating massive amounts of candy, mostly sour patch kids

Fun fact: Once ate 2 chicken potpies, 1 pizza, 1 burrito, a bag of chips, a jar of pickles and a bowl of ice cream

Down 2 WOD’s Whol-E Water Review

When you’re hydrating, do you ever think about  what’s going into your body? The guys behind Austin-based company Whol-E (ho•ly) Water certainly do.

Whol-E Water is a mineral-rich alkaline water that promotes overall health and wellbeing. Now, to explain what alkaline water is and why it’s important, let’s take a quick trip back to high school chemistry. All aqueous solutions have a specific pH level. pH is a measure of how acidic/basic a liquid is. The range goes from 0 – 14, with 7 being neutral. pHs of less than 7 indicate acidity, whereas a pH of greater than 7 indicates alkalinity or a base.

So, why is Whol-E Water alkaline?

The answer can be found when we examine our bodies. Experts say that the blood in an ideal human body should be slightly alkaline at 7.35-7.45 pH. When doctors take blood samples, pH is one of the attributes they’ll measure. This is considered to be as, or more, important than our body temperature. The reason that doctors take careful readings of the pH levels of our blood is because our bodies can effectively fight disease and infection  best at this slightly alkaline state. Diseases like cancer actually thrive in acidic environments, but cannot spread in alkaline ones.

Now, you may ask yourself: why would my body even be acidic? Well, do you work out? Do you eat meat or fish? Do you consume more animal protein than vegetables? Are you stressed from work, life, etc.?

All of these things can cause acid buildup in your body. Because there are more acidic foods than alkaline ones, it’s common that your diet is acidic and therefor unbalanced. Also, if you’re reading this blog, I assume you work out. As you know, this can cause a significant buildup of lactic acid in your muscles which leads to chronic soreness and fatigue.

Alkaline water, namely Whol-E Water Water (9.4+ pH), is effective in counteracting this acidic environment found in our bodies. This results in quicker recovery. Additionally, when water is alkalized, the size of the water molecule actually decreases in size. This means our bodies can absorb and metabolize that molecule at a more efficient rate than other ordinary drinking waters. So Whol-E Water not only helps you recover– fighting the lactic acid we build up through working out, but it also rapidly hydrates your body. There are many other attributes alkaline water is known for like: increased metabolism, natural antioxidants, increased oxygen levels, immunity boost, natural detoxification, natural weight loss, and it is also known to promote bone density.

During our workouts here at Down2WOD, we’ve noticed that one bottle of Whol-E Water goes a long way. Back when we were drinking Ozarka (which we later found out tested at a 3-4 pH [comparable with vinegar]), we noticed that we would sweat out a considerable amount of the bottle we just drank. With Whol-E Water, we found that we don’t sweat nearly as much. We also noticed a slight boost in energy– not anything like an energy drink, but a more sustained, natural energy. We figured that our bodies (while drinking Ozarka) were expelling the acidic water we were consuming. Your body’s job is to expel of acidic wastes and toxins, right? For this reason, we were able to figure out that because Whol-E Water was not acidic, but alkaline, we were utilizing much more of what we were consuming.

Whol-E Water’s process includes reverse osmosis filtration, then the blending of 5 all-natural minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus). These minerals boost the pH level of the purified water, making it alkaline. Oh and by the way, the water is chlorine and fluoride free and they use a BPA free bottle.

As a business, the young venture (9 months old) plans to give part of its annual profits back to non-profits to construct clean water wells in impoverished nations. Whol-E Water has already started fundraising to help build a well in Gonok, a region of rural Ethiopia.

The company’s slogan wraps its mission up in four simple words: “Feel Good Do Good,” describing both its health and charitable aspects.

Down2WOD gives Whol-E Water 5 out of 5 stars! We definitely recommend this to any CrossFitter who is serious about their training.

Whol-E Alkalinity by Cory Gusnowski

We all tend to sweat more during the summer, especially in Texas. Every time you sweat, you are losing essential minerals. The loss of these minerals, stress and what you put in your body daily can affect your overall pH. When you measure your pH level using urine testing strips, you are checking how acid or alkaline the waste products in your urine are. The lower your pH, the more acidic your urine is, indicating more overall stress in the body. Anything that deprives your body of oxygen can cause your body to shift to a more acidic pH. And the more acidic your system becomes, the less likely it will be able to do things like fight off bacteria and yeast, rebuild bone and help with muscle repair. Each organ system has a different pH in your body, and it requires a wide range of neutral to alkaline foods and liquids to maintain the balance that is necessary to keep everything working optimally.
A local water company, Whol-E Water, makes alkaline water powered by Alka-Pure – a unique combination of 5 “buffer minerals” that, when mixed with hexagonal water, will allow your body to absorb your minerals more efficiently. This has the ability to raise your pH to a more neutral level, rather than acidic. Drinking a bottle of Whol-E water along with adequate amounts of clean, pure water is a good idea when your pH is off or if you need to replace essential minerals lost through excessive sweat. Here are a few other tips on how you can keep your pH in the optimal level of 7.3-7.5.

-Eat a large green salad tossed with lemon juice and olive oil. Eating a variety of greens is the best way to consume alkalizing minerals. Other foods that assist in alkalizing are berries, garlic, citrus, raw almonds, apples, cucumbers and green beans.

-Avoid acid-causing foods such as cow’s dairy, wheat, red meat, processed sugars and soda waters (just to name a few).

-Reduce stress. Excess stress can cause a lower (more acidic) pH. Use stress-reducing techniques and exercise to reduce and flush out excess acidity. Remember to always hydrate properly before and after exercise to avoid dehydration.

-Certain medications can cause your pH to shift. If you find that you’re having a hard time adjusting your pH appropriately, talk to your pharmacist to make sure a medication is not the culprit.

-Don’t forget to test your pH daily to make sure that you are maintaining as close to 7.3-7.5 pH as you can. You can find pH test strips at any of your Austin Peoples locations.

Whol-E Water thanks Cory Gusnowski for this informative blog.

Westlake Crossfit’s Blog over Whol-E

Some of you may have had a bottle of Whol-E Water lately. Apparently there are a few health benefits to this water as well.

Whol-E, a premier alkaline water, is the perfect adjunct to any CrossFit athlete’s nutrition regimen. Unlike other bottled waters, which are generally acidic, Whol-E bottled water boasts a PH of 9.4 and an all-natural blend of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. Due to its higher PH and life-supporting minerals, Whol-E provides your body with optimal hydration, boosts your workout performance, and supports your long-term health.

First, Whol-E can help you perform better during workouts and recover more quickly afterwards. Because alkaline water has lower surface tension than standard bottled water and tap water, your body’s cells absorb Whol-E more quickly than other waters. This faster rate of rehydration not only enables you to power through intense workouts but also facilitates your body’s recovery process afterwards. Moreover, Whol-E’s all-natural blend of chelated minerals further expedites your body’s recovery efforts.

Second, Whol-E can promote your health and longevity. Specifically, Whol-E water’s higher PH corrects alkaline-acid imbalances in the body that can contribute to many chronic conditions, such as diabetes, blood pressure, and obesity. Furthermore, due to its high concentration of hydroxyl ions, Whol-E water acts as an effective antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that can give rise to cancer and other health conditions.  Finally, alkaline water like Whol-E has also been touted for its ability to boost bodily metabolism, supporting you in your efforts to burn fat and lose weight.

So, after your next workout, grab a bottle of Whol-E water out of the Westlake CrossFit fridge, and make a toast to your health, performance, and soon-to-be six pack!

Source: Healing Waters: Understanding the Science and Benefits of Alkaline Water by Ben Johnson, MD, DO, NMD

Alkalinity and its effects on the aging process

Worried about aging? Who isn’t these days? Lifes short, why not do everything we
can to make sure we can live our lives to the next level. One way to slow down the
aging process is to speed up your metabolism. Research has shown that the best
way to kick your metabolism into gear is by having a pH level between 7.5 and 10,
which can be accomplished through drinking alkaline water and consuming foods
with high alkaline levels regularly. This is where Whol-E water comes in. Whol-
E Water has a pH level between 9 and 10, significantly higher than your average
accessible bottled water. When your body has a higher pH level, it eliminates the
need for excessive fat and cholesterol to protect itself from unhealthy levels of acids.
Alkaline water also aids in the creation of a better environment for cells to absorb
nutrients and burn them for energy that in turn boosts your metabolism. Luckily
for you, Whol-E Water also contains Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium and
Phosphorus. So don’t stay thirsty my friends, stay hydrated Hom-E’s.

Put down the bottled tap water, and treat your body the way it deserves to be treated.

Why Whol-E Water?

Whol-E Water, powered by Alka-Pure®, uses five all natural minerals to keep your body going. Unlike most bottled water, which can be slightly acidic, Whol-E Water reaches a pH level of 9-10, making it ultra-pure. This high pH provides your body with optimum performance and boosts your immune system. Our blend consists of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.