Review: Render Foods’ “Bryner” and “Weyla” Upcycled Beverages
Covers Products: Bryner - Beet Horseradish, Bryner - Smoky Tomato Chipotle, Weyla: Blueberry, Juniper, Orange with Lemon, Weyla: Strawberry, Fennel, Tarragon with Lemon
Render Foods is a chef driven brand that’s creating food and beverage products. Today, we’re taking a look at the company’s first two beverage lines, both of which utilize upcycled ingredients.
First, there’s Bryner, which is a product that’s made from upcycled pickle brine from a Sonoma pickle brinery. We sampled two of the three flavors, Smoky Tomato Chipotle and Beet Horseradish. Both are savory and salty and have layers of flavor and we particularly liked the smoky note in the Smoky Tomato Chipotle. Beet Horseradish indeed has notes of both of these flavors. And you can certainly taste that the base was made from pickle brine.
While we could certainly see the potential for this product to be used as a mixer by a professional mixologist, Bryner is one of those products that we’re not quite sure is right for the average consumer. It’s hard to imagine this product having a lot of appeal or being approachable to most consumers -- and honestly the use occasion for these products as a single serve ready to drink beverage is hard to see as well.
That said, we were happy to move on to Weyla, which is a sparkling whey drink that uses upcycled whey from cheese making. We sampled the Blueberry Juniper Orange and the Strawberry Fennel Tarragon varieties, which clock in at 45 and 50 calories respectively. Despite the dark color of the liquid, the fruit flavors of both varieties are really subtle and are the secondary or tertiary flavors rather than the spotlight. The carbonation is light and the flavor of the whey is something that adds a bit of tang to the finish.
While these flavors are preferable and more practical than what Bryner has to offer, our conclusion is largely the same: we’re not sure what the use occasion is for this product and it doesn’t feel all that approachable or appealing to the senses. In addition, the whey, which is most commonly known for its use in protein drinks, adds less than 1 gram of protein to this product which might be confusing to consumers.
On the packaging front, both products are packaged in glass 10 ounce bottles, but the two lines use slightly different shapes -- Wheyla is a bit taller and a bit narrower than Bryner. The labels look technical in nature and neither really gives the consumer much in terms of context. If this is the approach they are going to pursue, we think that they need to figure out how to strengthen the appeal of both of these drinks.
However, we’re not quite sure that this is the best approach. While we appreciate what they are trying to do, we think that building demand, educating consumers, and building a base of repeat buyers will be challenging for each of these products -- and even harder if they’re trying to do both. With a stronger and more marketable line of snacks in their “State Bird Crunch,” it’s hard to imagine the company sticking with these products and fighting through these challenges (especially since they’ll take a lot of time and money to overcome).
Overall, we appreciate the effort to come up with something that’s really innovative, is clearly high quality, and makes use of upcycled ingredients. But we think that the gap between the present set of products and something that will be commercially successful is pretty broad in the current format.