From an interview by Hannah Reimann

Founder, Sierra Hooshiari, tells the story of how a severe brain injury and coma inspired the launch of BrainPOP Drink. #DrinkToThink

After trying BrainPOP Drink at one of my performances of the music of Joni Mitchell, I loved the taste and emphasis on brain nutrition When I finally met Sierra, I wanted to know the whole story. ~Hannah

As a sophomore at Cornell, I went abroad for a semester to participate in a humanitarian program at a medical clinic. I was running errands on my day off one spring day, when an intoxicated, speeding driver hit me. I don’t remember the specific details of the event, but onlookers said it appeared as though I was trying to jump out of the way. My sandal got stuck in the hood of the car, and I landed on the windshield. I was in a coma and in critical condition. My parents took the next flight out, thinking they wouldn’t make it in time to see me alive again. The neurosurgeon who evaluated me said I was a ‘force of nature.’ And that’s probably an accurate description.

“A leap of faith into the startup world” Photo credit: Robert Hackman Location: Ithaca Gorges, Cornell University

When I finally woke up out of the coma, the world was strange and different. I had suffered an epidural hematoma and a case of encephalitis. I couldn’t remember much of anything and felt like I was experiencing the world like a newborn baby—for the first time. I had even taken the class, “Intro to neurology and neuroscience’ the year before, and remember wondering during my recovery the irony at how the textbook didn’t mention a brain injury like this.

About half a million people in the U.S. suffer from a TBI every year. The treatment options have come a long way since my incident. I also knew that the opportunity would come to share my story. I won a government grant during the Pandemic to launch BrainPOP Drink. The physicians and healthcare professionals I worked with on the Pandemic Response Team were my eager taste-testers and biggest fans. Today, the mission behind BrainPOP extends beyond my story. We want to inspire brain nutrition in our community, and leave our nation a happier and healthier place—one sip at a time!

BrainPOP Drink is a fun fizzy fusion with only 30 calories and 6-8g of sugar per 12oz can. It has a botanical caffeine blend of green tea extract, green coffee bean, and guarana seed. The hydration component of l-creatine, minerals like magnesium and potassium, and nutrients like taurine, l-theanine and Vitamin D, create a heightened boost and smooth caffeine edge without the crash. The fruit purées add a fresh burst of delicious flavor. There are no artificial flavors, colors, sugars, or preservatives.

The surgeon community showed particular enthusiasm for BrainPOP Drink early on, particularly those who perform microsurgery or are caffeine sensitive. BrainPOP is on track to become the Physician & Healthcare Worker’s #1 Beverage of Choice.

Our four flavors: Mojito Madness, Mango Colada, DragonBerry Warrior, and Coconut Delight make being healthy fun and easy. Our cans are aesthetically appealing and vibrant. They’ll even make your fridge look more glamorous! BrianPOP can support you during rough mornings or a midday slump. It can be used as a pre-workout or post-workout drink. It also makes a great cocktail or mock-tail mixer. There’s something in it for everyone.

We participated in a number of shows during New York Fashion Week, and the model coterie loved the low-calorie profile of BrainPOP, while enjoying a boost of clean caffeine before hitting the runway. Our ‘Drink To Think’ tagline imbues a message of positivity; we want our consumers to care about what they consume and their mental health.

I formulated BrainPOP at Cornell Food Ventures and we completed the production run locally at the Brooklyn Cannery. It is an authentic New Yorker’s drink. CBS talk show host, Donna Drake, first invited me to share my story on The Donna Drake Show during BrainPOP’s launch last summer. Bill O’Reilly has since discovered BrainPOP and advocates for it as a tasteful, low-sugar beverage alternative! We’re now sold online through the website and through our Amazon store. We’re in 20 gourmet grocery stores in the NYC metro area, and featured in trendy new nightclubs like the Myth downtown on 96 Greenwich St.

Our TikTok channel, @BrainPOPRelax has nearly 1 million followers, with videos promoting relaxation and the imagination. Its creation was first inspired by people asking Sierra what being in a coma felt like. These videos resemble the ‘slice of heaven’ she experienced while in a coma.

And be sure to follow us on Instagram @BrainPOPDrink


New York:

18. Brooklyn Fare – Hudson Yards

17. Westside Market 2589 – Upper West Side

16. Uptown Whole Foods – Upper West Side

15. Dumbo Market – Cobble Hill [p

14. Garden of Eden – Upper West Side

13. Brooklyn Fare – Upper West Side

12. Urban Market – Park Slope

11. TMC – Lower East Side r

10. Westside Market – Gramercy Park

9. Mulberry Market – Nolita

8. Gracefully – Upper West Side

7. Amish Market – Hell’s Kitchen

6. Dumbo Market – Dumbo

5. Fresh Start – Brooklyn Heights

4. Garden of Eden – Union Square

3. Westside Market – Chelsea

2. Manhattan Marketplace – East Village

1. Brooklyn Fare – Greenwich Village

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