Homegrown Business: Crazy D’s Sparkling Prebiotic Beverages!

We recently spoke with Crazy D’s Sparkling Prebiotic founded by Darren Portelli in 2016.  A brand who are putting health back into the everyday sparkling beverage!

What is your business called and what does it do?

Crazy D’s Sparkling Prebiotic is a start-up innovation company that provides health-conscious consumers functional, no sugar added, sparkling beverages packed with a variety of plant-based, prebiotic fibres. Our drinks offer delicious flavours reflecting traditional, iconic soda’s but are crafted with a theme of botanical, anti-inflammatory ingredients. As the first sparkling prebiotic beverage in Canada, we are pioneering an entirely new category in this exciting industry.

What made you want to do this work?

What began as a small-scale passion project ignited by a migraine induced epiphany has evolved into an exciting business that delivers healthy, flavourful beverages. Today Crazy D’s proudly offers Canada’s first and only Sparkling Prebiotic.
Launched in August of 2016, Crazy D’s founder Darren Portelli sought to create a beverage that could replace traditional sodas with a healthier option high in prebiotic fibre and free of added sugar, artificial sweeteners, stevia and sugar alcohols. Transitioning from his kitchen, to farmers markets, to store shelves,
Portelli’s previous struggles with mental health set in motion a three-year development phase to perfect a recipe that would promote gut health and improve overall wellness. His dedication and hard work have resulted in a beverage category all its own that solves a real need.

Darren Portelli
Darren Portelli, Founder of Crazy D’s Sparkling prebiotic.

What problem does this solve?

Crazy D’s Sparkling Prebiotics addresses the current and overwhelming fibre gap most Canadians currently have in their daily diet. Improved fibre levels create a healthy gut, improve nutrient absorption, strengthen the immune system, balance weight management, support good mental health, and boost energy levels.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Crazy D’s is a product for all. It’s great for every age group and those with particular dietary needs and restrictions.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

Crazy D’s beverages are available with retailers across Canada along with selling directly to consumers online.

Where in Toronto can we find your profession?

crazydlabs.com. The Crazy D head office is located in East Toronto (Upper Beaches).

Why should I purchase this beverage, and who are the competitors in Canada?

For those dedicated to supporting local businesses, we’re an ideal match. Crazy D’s invented North America’s first Sparkling Prebiotic beverages right here in Toronto. The plant-powered and fibre-fueled product, which mitigates a glycemic spike while fueling ketone production, is perfect for the whole family, vegans, diabetics and those following ketogenic diets. Fibre is also known to help with ADHD and other mental health conditions.

While other brands are currently available in the US, we’re proud to be made by Canadians and for Canadians.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The best part of this business is creating a product that is good for consumers and connecting with those who share a passion for well-balanced living. The worst part is managing so many deliverables simultaneously, but as a robust start-up, we’re up for the challenge!

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

It’s taken a good sense of humour to come along this far, which any start-up operating during a pandemic will undoubtedly understand. One might envision working in the “health” industry would be on the shinier, greener path, but a business is business, and this has taken endless amounts of sacrifice and hard work.

And for those who love a good chuckle, here’s a favourite joke at the Crazy D lab.

What do you call a microbiome with a refined taste in art, literature and music?

… Cultured bacteria!

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?

I would have to pay it forward to my old friend Jennifer Italiano from Live Organic Foods. Jennifer is a fantastic entrepreneur, and I watched her create a juice bar business that is thriving. I recall eating her salads in the early days that made me crave them again and again. Live Organics Foods is the OG, in my opinion. That girl started something big and special.