A Hungarian couple is introducing Kiwis to a popular German drink they hope will become as liked here as a healthy alternative to alcohol.
Csaba Toke and Katalin Mikecz decided to import their favourite drink Karamalz to New Zealand about a year ago.
The couple moved here from Hungary seven years ago with their two children but missed the malty beverage.
Toke said his wife pushed for them to import Karamalz when she became pregnant with their third child, as all the nutrients are good for breastfeeding.
Karamalz is Germany's most popular non-alcoholic malt drink. It is made with hop extract and barley malt and tastes a bit like caramel.
Toke explained that the production process was similar to brewing beer but didn't allow the liquid to ferment. The end result was a sweet, malty juice.
Malt is known for its nutritional value, and Karamalz has no artificial colours or flavours.
Because of the natural sugar and brain-stimulating protein found in malt, the drink could also be used as an energy drink, said Toke.
A lot of athletes and students drink it for the energy boost, he added.
Many Kiwis were hesitant to try the drink but came back for more after the first sip.
Toke also wanted to provide a non-alcoholic alternative for those who don't drink alcohol. His background in therapy showed him that people who gave up drinking needed alternatives to satisfy the cravings. So instead of cracking open a beer, you open a Karamalz.
Karamalz comes in three flavours and is stocked at Bin Inn stores and cafes around the country, sold online and at markets like the monthly Vegan Night Market. The couple hoped the drink would be available in supermarkets soon.