The inaugural guide features a range of early-stage and established craft spirits brands, each producing an array of unique, small-batch spirits, from across the U.S. The compilation also includes a broad spectrum of mixer companies playing in the space, showcasing the continuing breadth of variety in the category.
In addition to a range of pre-packaged meals and snacks, "raw" food company The Squeeze produces a line of cold-pressed juices and smoothies that are not pasteurized, nor high pressure processed. The company definitely has a knack for crafting unique flavor varieties (and names), including its Cold Brew Squeezuccino and PB & J.
Blending lemon flavor with Aloe Gloe’s base liquid (a blend of water and aloe vera powder) makes for something that’s pleasing to the palate. And in our opinion, this is far and away the best tasting variety in the Aloe Gloe line.
Among the new and intrepid, Coco Cafe is the tallest of the small, while Illy is showing positive growth and also indexing in the refrigerated section with another $3 million or so not included here. Still, it’s a long way to the top.
In the following video on BevNET Food and Beverage University, Mamma Chia founder Janie Hoffman discusses the process by which she was able to identify and partner with co-packers that could mass produce a beverage that incorporated a novel and often challenging ingredient to work with, which in her case, is the chia seed.
Up Mountain Switchel is another rendition of the classic beverage that is the product’s namesake. It blends water, Vermont maple syrup, raw organic apple cider and fresh ginger root into a product that is loaded with flavor. On the outside, it’s hard to miss the 16 oz. mason jar that the company has chosen. Rather than make it look fancy with a custom cap or custom bottle, it seems intentional that it looks like a stock mason jar.
If there’s any company that can credibly market a super-strength cranberry drink, it’s definitely Ocean Spray, which recently launched Pact, a low-calorie beverage that hangs its hat on the benefits of cranberry extract (specifically proanthocyanidins or PACS).
In both formulation and design, TK Hibiscus has taken a minimalist approach to its line of organic, hibiscus teas. TK's label and liquid are both polished and well-conceived, something gives the brand a solid foundation as it looks to grow its retail and distribution footprint.
Based in Los Angeles, Better Booch produces a line of kombucha drinks that are made with organic ingredients. Available in six varieties, we sampled three and were impressed by each for their mainstream-oriented formulation and flavors.
Based in Southhampton, N.Y, Captains Neck & Co. markets a line of craft sodas that are formulated with natural ingredients and sweetened with sugar and stevia. The drinks come in two varieties: Citrus Mint and Grape & Ginger, each containing 40 calories per 12 oz. bottle. Though demand for premium soda options appears to be on the rise, Captain's Neck might require a few packaging updates to gain wider appeal.
Made with a USDA Organic blend of water, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, cane syrup and ginger juice/puree, CideRoad’s switchel starts out with a pretty traditional formulation. It’s definitely not as strong as some of the other brands that we’ve sampled, but it does feel as though it’s something that’s geared towards the mainstream.
BluePrint’s attempt at a seasonal flavor is this product, which is a blend of everything that you’ll find in the flavor name: orange juice, organic cranberry juice, organic apple juice, organic agave, organic ginger and organic cinnamon. Rather than being spicy, we’d describe the flavor as having a “holiday spice” that’s similar to what you’d find in homemade cranberry sauce. However, we’d like the product to be a bit less sweet than it currently is (it has 59g of sugar per bottle).
Sap on Tap is a single-ingredient maple water beverage that is USDA Organic certified. The product, much like every other maple water that we’ve tasted to date, is very subtle and has a light maple flavor.
Following the launch of WTR MLN Water comes Tsamma, another watermelon juice product that recently came to market. Marketed as containing 95 percent watermelon juice that is cold-pressed, the beverage also contains white grape and pomegranate juices from concentrate, malic acid (used for tartness) and natural flavors. The juice, however, is not high pressure processed, something that might hamper placement amid a super-premium set that is increasingly embracing the technology.