Author Archive

Written on July 3, 2022.

Tea in America

The beginning of America is primarily known to have started with the dumping of tea as a protest. Tea was a lucrative commodity for the British empire that ruled over the 13 colonies that would become America and taxed the colonists for tea often to pay off their debts. The colonists famously opposed this “tea tax” slogan, “No Taxation without representation.” The colonist began dumping exported, and local tea in the Boston River as protest, and such actions led to the American Revolution. The most famous drink known to man is the center of this conflict: tea. Although America began with the dumping of tea, the states have made many innovations and contributions to the tea industry. To celebrate the 4th of July, we would like to highlight the popularization of iced tea in America and how it became popular in the Southern states.

Iced tea in America

Iced tea has been a known beverage in America for years since tea was first brought to the United States in 1789 when French botanist Andre Michaux brought the plant as a popular beverage among citizens. In the 1800s, many cold tea recipes appeared in alcohol punches, such as Charleston’s St. Cecilia punch and Chatham Artillery punch during the civil war. In the 1800s, iced tea was often flavored with many ingredients such as a few squeezes of citrus, an infusion of fragrant spices, perhaps a bit of steeped mint, and most commonly, sugar. In those days, it was green tea that was often used before the more popular black in iced tea beverages. It’s also worth noting that a lot of the iced tea was presweetened by dissolving a large quantity of sugar directly into the hot tea base before diluting it with water and ice, as opposed to sweetening already brewed tea with sweetener.  Soon beverage makers across the country started putting out their recipes for these “tea punches” and iced tea drinks.

In 1839 Lettice Bryan put out her cookbook The Kentucky Housewife, which has a tea punch recipe that requires pouring hot tea over sugar before mixing in cream and champagne or claret wine. In 1879 Marion Cabell Tyree published her cookbook Housekeeping in Virginia, which also popularized the iced tea recipe. Tyree’s recipe calls for green tea to be boiled and stepped throughout the day. In her book, Cabell states, “Fill the goblets with ice, put two teaspoonfuls of granulated sugar in each, and pour the tea over the ice and sugar.” In 1884 D.A. (Mary) Lincoln, the head of the Boston cooking school, released a recipe for iced tea that involved pouring cold black tea over ice, lemon, and two sugar cubes. In 1928, Henrietta Stanley Dull, home economics editor for the Atlanta Journal at the time, published her tea recipe in a book titled Southern Cooking. Dull’s recipe calls for boiled water poured over green or black tea leaves, the tea is removed when its strong enough to taste, pour in small amounts of sugar into the mixture, broken ice, and then finally serve with a garnish of a sliced orange, strawberry, cherry, or pineapple. Sometimes Dull’s tea was with a sprig of mint or lemon as well.

Tea in America

After years and several variations on the iced tea recipe, the beverage would become popularized because of tea farmer Richard Blenchynden. During the 1904 St. Louis World fair, Blenchynden offered complimentary hot tea at the East Indian pavilion; however, no one bought the tea due to the intense heat. It was rumored that Blenchynden, and his team filled several bottles of brewed Indian tea and turned them upside down so the tea could flow through iced lead pipes. It was a very welcomed treat in the intense heart at the time, and soon Blenchynden took his free iced tea idea to New York and sold it to larger crowds. After iced tea had grown in popularity, companies like Lipton started selling iced tea all over the United States and significantly down south.

Sweet Tea in the South  

Sweet tea is often associated with the south, but after iced tea became popular, it took a while before the beverage became such a staple. In the 19th century, it was harder for the south to obtain ice. The harsh heat and the mild winters kept ice from being a popular commodity south. The ice obtained down south was usually transported from the North and was only for those with the luxury to afford it. Two major technological shifts allowed ice in the south: cars were accessible so ice could be transported from the North quickly, and the invention of the refrigerator in the 1920s helped people down south preserve ice and colder beverages. Another factor that played a role in iced sweet tea’s popularity was the prohibition in 1920. Without drinks such as wine, beer, or whisky, many southerners held on to iced tea as much as they could until serving alcohol was legal. Henrietta Dull’s tea recipe was especially popular in the south and became essential for southern sweet tea, save for more sugar between individual preferences. It’s also important to note that during World War II, imports from Japan were not allowed in the U.S. hence, importation from India, Africa, and South America made darker teas more economically sound commodities.

Presweetening brewed tea became a southern tradition and what often makes southern sweet tea overwhelmingly sweet to those not used to the beverage. Sweet iced tea has become such a southern staple that South Carolina (home of some of the largest tea-growing industries in the country) made sweet iced tea the state’s official hospitality beverage in 1995. Georgia passed a house bill in 2003 that requires all restaurants in the state to serve sweet tea. Although the beverage market is inundated with new sodas every year, sweet iced tea is still a special and refreshing beverage for going out and staying home with friends and family.



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Written on June 16, 2022.

Juneteenth is a national holiday dedicated to not only the end of slavery within the United States, but to also celebrate African Americans’ history, culture, and contributions.  Although it is a recent national holiday, it has been celebrated for years, and here at Flavorman, we believe in uplifting those accomplishments and achievements as well. African Americans in the past and now are making bold innovations in the beverage industry. Not only do we want to uplift those that are making drinks, but also those that have a hand in helping the beverage industry grow and reach new audiences. At Flavorman, we want to celebrate 5 people within the African diaspora who are innovators in the beverage world.

Nathan Green- Master Distiller 

There are a lot of unsung and unnoticed African Americans that have helped shape the modern world through inventions and skills. Through obscurity, Nathan Green was almost one of those individuals lost to the sands of time. Still, thanks to the research of 20 Journalists, historians, archivists, archaeologists, conservators, and genealogists, his story has been brought to the light.

Nathan Green was born into slavery and was freed with the ratification of slavery. Green was owned by a preacher named Dan Col,  and continued to work with Col in his side-hustle of distilling whisky after the ratification of slavery. Dan Col took in a boy who would later be known as “Jack Daniel” who wanted to be involved in the whisky distilling business. Not much older than Jack, Green was charged to teach him the technique of distilling Tennessee whisky. Green derived his method from West Africa called “sugar-maple-charcoal” filtering. It was also known as the “the Lincoln County process,” and it was a method of distilling whiskey that gave it a unique smoothness. Once Jack got older, he made a career selling whiskey around town and to soldiers during the civil war. When Jack got older, he bought the distilling business from Dan Col and hired Nathan, or “Uncle Nearest” as he liked to call him, as the first master distiller of Jack Daniel’s whiskey company. Jack would later employ green’s sons Eli, Lewis, and George in the business.

Nathan Green’s contribution to the whiskey industry went unnoticed for years, but his work in establishing one of the most well-known alcohol beverages shouldn’t go unnoticed. Nathan Green’s methods are not only innovative in his use of whiskey distilling at the time, but it also touches back to the African roots from which he had been ripped away, making his story and contribution more unique. Thanks to those dedicated historians, and with some endorsement from actor Jeffery Wright, Nathan Green was finally given his own whisky brand in 2019 with the Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey company. The premium whiskey has now earned 450 awards for three consecutive years, is available in all 50 states, and has been dubbed on the website as the “Malt Disney world.

 Mikaila Ulmer- Me and the Bees Lemonade 

One of the youngest entrepreneurs and beverage innovators at 17 years old, Mikaila Ulmer, is the C.E.O. and inventor of “Me and the Bees Lemonade.” Years ago, Ulmer was stung by a bee twice. To ease her pain Ulmer learned about Bees and suddenly became fascinated with what they contributed to the overall ecosystem. One day her parents told her about a Children’s Business competition, and Ulmer got the idea to use her grandmother’s “flaxseed” lemonade recipe. To make the lemonade more unique, Ulmer thought back to her fascination with bees and decided that instead of using sugar for her lemonade, she would use honey from bees. In wanting to preserve the life and the ecosystem the bees helped to maintain, Ulmer dedicates a percentage of her lemonade sales to organizations that help save bees. Ulmer’s business motto is “Buy a bottle, save a bee.”

Ulmer’s lemonade grew in popularity in Austin, Texas, and is now sold in Whole Foods, Fresh Market, World Market, and H-E-B across the state, as well as Kroger stores and Vitamin cottage natural stores. Not only does Mikaila Ulmer work with environmental organizations such as the “Healthy Hive Foundation,” but she has also published a book titled Bee Fearless, Dream Like a Kid. Ulmer’s innovations and ideas are not only in the beverage industry but also in the overall preservation of the ecosystem and the bees, which are in danger of extinction.

Marc Farrell- Ten to One Rum

A Trinidadian native, Marc Farrell not only made a delicious rum from authentic Caribbean ingredients but has also used the rum to connect more people with Caribbean culture and history. An M.I.T., Cambridge, and Harvard Business school graduate, Marc Farrell became the youngest Vice President of Starbucks. After leaving the position, Farrell became fascinated with the public perception that rum carried. Farrell wanted to take the image and connotation of rum away from its roots in slavery, pirating, and British colonialism and imbue it with Caribbean history and culture that is proud and strong.

The flavoring and ingredients of “Ten to one” rum are also authentic to Caribbean culture; the dark rum blends bourbon-aged Barbadian, Dominican, Jamaican, and Trinidadian rums with no added flavoring or sugar. The white version of the rum blends Jamaican pot-still rum and Dominican column-still rum with zesty jasmine and honeysuckle.

Marc Farrell is a trailblazer for his company and to the rum industry overall. Farrell is making his rum more authentic and closer to the culture that helped produce rum, and he is also using his product to promote other Caribbean artists with clothing brands and musicians associated with the brand, including Ciera and those of the “New Calypso” movement.

Tamala Austin- J.I.V.E. Juice 

Houston Texas native Tamala Austin is the founder and C.E.O. of a juice and smoothie company known as J.I.V.E. juice which stands for “Juice Is Very Essential.” After receiving a diagnosis of high blood pressure, Tamala started seriously thinking about her health and wellness. Around this time, she began creating juices and smoothies made from natural fruits and ingredients for herself. Eventually, Tamala started selling the juice and smoothies out of her Texas house and became famous through word-of-mouth marketing. Austin’s juice and smoothies grew more popular, and suddenly J.I.V.E. juice was born! As a certified health professional, Tamala Austin believes “Your health is your wealth. Your health is our business.”

When the company expanded, the J.I.V.E. juice company became the first business owned by an African American to be shelved and stocked in Whole Foods. Her juice and smoothies are guaranteed to help boost your energy, improve your digestion, and improve your immune system. The J.I.V.E. team can also customize drinks with the clients’ health in mind and made with natural fruit ingredients free of additive sugars or fats.

Tamala Austin and her J.I.V.E. company are innovators because they are not only making strides within the juice and beverage world but making a definitive and conscious effort to make their products healthy for the customers. Many brands and companies seek to make a profit, and while J.I.V.E. does charge, they also aim to please and help the customer for their long-term health and wellness.

Andra Aj Johnson- Beverage Director

Although she’s mainly known for being a beverage director, Andra Aj Johnson has worn multiple hats within the food and beverage industry since she was 14. An Afro-Latino who grew up in the black and urban neighborhoods of Washington, DC, Andra Johnson is a managing partner and director of her of her own restaurant and bar Serenata , a bar director, and a cocktail mixologist. As a hospitality industry leader, Andra Johnson is level 1 in the Court of master sommeliers and a Cicerone-certified beer server, is only some of the few accomplishments that demonstrate her wide-range of skills and knowledge. She also spearheads an initiative cocktail program, called “Back to Black,” which strives to raise funds and donate to overlooked and underfunded charities and organizations in Washington, DC, especially those within urban neighborhoods.

Andra Johnson is a cut above the rest for not only wearing many different hats in the food and beverage industry but also for using cocktails and drinks to tell stories. Johnson loves to use the combination of cocktail ingredients to reflect a culture, a moment in history, or her people. “Crafting cocktails is a gateway to storytelling and collaboration. Each cocktail is imbued with a meaning and a story to tell.” Andra Johnson intends to share her industry knowledge and tell more stories in her upcoming book White Plates, Black Faces.   

All kinds of people are accomplishing innovations and excellent achievements. If Juneteenth has taught us anything, it’s that we should work to recognize and celebrate the works of the different cultures we encounter in our lives. The five people we listed are certainly not the only ones making significant changes within the beverage industry. We at Flavorman encourage clients to seek and shout out people from underrepresented communities who are inventing and creating new beverages that will change how the world drinks.

Do you have a great drink idea? Our team of beverage experts can help you bring it to life—and change what the world is drinking. Get started by filling out this webform or by giving us a call at (502) 273-5214.

Written on June 7, 2022.

Building company culture

By: David Dafoe, CEO, Founder, Flavorman

It’s been two years since the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic and its bilateral impact on the workforce, or rather, those in the workforce. Seemingly overnight, a massive strain was placed on employees, their overall well-being, and mental health. Workers across all fields were wearing many hats. At the same time, some performed simultaneously as employees, teachers, and caregivers, among many other roles they never dreamed they’d juggle for an extended period. So, it’s no surprise that as the pandemic surges increased, employee burnout also increased. As industry leaders, how do we overcome the barrier to retaining employees and attracting talent in overtired and overworked industries?

Investing in What Matters

Overall, we’re seeing companies create incentives hoping employees will remain at or join a company. This may work for a short time, but if the company culture is not conducive to overall employee well-being above company success, these efforts will be short-lived. To master retention, companies must focus on the comprehensive revitalization and maintenance of culture. “Culture” is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but in today’s day in age, it means providing a place for employees to achieve a “life-work” balance rather than the ages-old work-life balance. Since COVID-19, worker priorities have shifted, and employees are reevaluating where work now fits into their lives.

Getting the Flavor Back

According to ADP’s 2022 Global Workforce View, priorities have shifted since the days of corner offices and yearly 2% salary increases. Employees are seeking real change through overall satisfaction, which includes increased benefits, flexible workdays, and an environment where mental health is honored and respected. To achieve all three, overall, culture must be assessed and revamped.

While important, desiring better benefits doesn’t always mean a pay increase. Benefits can include bonus programs based on performance, paid continuing education courses, and rewarding opportunities both in and out of work to promote employee engagement. An example unique to Flavorman is that team members get together to celebrate work anniversaries and birthdays once a month. Those celebrating an anniversary or a birthday get a chance to spin a prize wheel with prizes ranging from $50 to their favorite restaurant or two free plane tickets anywhere Delta flies throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Designating these special company events inspires employee pride and incentivizes loyalty.

Building company culture

According to ADP’s 2022 annual study of workers, more than half of the assessed U.S. employees would take a pay cut if that meant they could improve their relationship with their jobs through increased flexibility and working in an environment where their interests are considered. This could include summer hours, remote work, or hours dedicated to employee interests, such as volunteer work that would still count as time spent on the clock. An example we use at Flavorman is that we allow extra time off for charitable and volunteer work. We also believe in giving back to our community and conducting fundraising opportunities for our employees to contribute to the efforts they care about.

When employers care about their employees’ best interests, mental wellness will naturally benefit; however, for employees who prefer their employers to have extra components within their wellness benefits, leadership could consider things like added time off, an on-site gym, and perhaps an office pet for added camaraderie and comfort. Our distillery dog, Camden, is a hit with both our employees and guests and regularly makes appearances during workshops and education sessions. These small steps go a long way in ensuring employees feel comforted and cared for throughout the day.

Combating employee burnout from the pandemic requires either a complete transformation or revitalization of culture, and that change begins at the c-suite level. In a rapidly changing workforce, company leadership should focus on understanding the drivers of employee satisfaction and take steps to bring these to fruition to establish a long-standing and robust business. When this starts happening, we can expect The Great Resignation to be a topic of the past.

Written on April 15, 2022.

COVID Consumer Habits

Written by David Dafoe, Cheif Executive Officer & Founder

When I started working in the beverage industry in 1986, almost all of the beverages we created contained flavors that were natural and artificial.  The beverage landscape was quite simple, with a mix of typical soda flavors, a few juices, traditional wines, spirits, and beers sold by large companies with little to no choice for variation. These beverages, for the most part, were packaged in standard bottles and cans with relatively simple graphics, side by side on store shelves.

This was a time before wine coolers, energy drinks, ready-made cocktails, tropical juice flavors, “all-natural” health beverages, dozens of beer variations, and spirits in hundreds of categories, representing a myriad of packaging and serving styles from manufacturers large and small. The beverage industry had wildly progressed into an ever-changing mix of trends, flavors, fads, and fickle consumer preferences. Then, in 2020, we paused.

Consumer Habits

In the sudden shock of COVID, consumers were comforted with familiar flavors in beverages across all categories. Childhood favorites like watermelon, strawberry, cherry, apple, and grape saw a resurgence as consumers gravitated towards immediately recognizable flavor profiles, preferring to reach for drinks that were traditional, relatable, and familiar. It seemed like overnight, consumers had stepped back to the things they knew and understood to bring comfort and make the ridiculously absurd COVID world feel normal, at least for a moment.

Consumers quickly trended toward “ready to drink” pre-mixed alcoholic beverages that were easy to buy, store and drink.  Ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails had started to build steam in recent years, but took off like a rocket during quarantine, delivering an easy solution for consumers to drink at home the cocktails they may have previously consumed in a bar or restaurant. Manhattans, Margaritas, and Gin and Tonic are now close at hand and available with the crack of a tab. Store shelves ballooned with carbonated cocktails, noncarbonated favorites, and cream-based RTDs. It was a match made in COVIDville!

Similarly, healthy and clean-label drinks became a favorite of families with kids at home learning remotely. Beverages with low sugar content and vitamins and minerals enhanced with flavors their parents recognized from their childhood were rising in popularity and being generated by product developers all around the country. “Make it healthy, simple, and familiar” was the demand of this market.

Beverages In stores

Generally, large alcohol companies sold well, as their brands were well-known and comfortable for consumers—a clear disadvantage for craft distillers. In a flash, consumers were more willing to spend money on something tried and true, and became less likely to spend money on a more expensive craft beverage that they had never tried. Adventure and exploration had been thrown out the window and classic was king. At the same time, newly health-conscious consumers became familiar with low- or no-alcohol brands and mocktails. Although both classic, established beverages and “good-for-you” spirits gained ground during COVID, no large alcohol companies seemed to lean into the healthy trend, keeping this market segment popular and “new.”

And let us not forget the common COVID symptom, loss of taste and smell, pushing afflicted consumers into bolder, more flavorful options and giving beverage manufacturers an advantage in introducing new products. Making drinks more flavorful became the mantra in beverage creation labs.  Add a bit more flavor to the beverage, make it more distinct, but still keep with traditional favorites so COVID-affected consumers have choices.


As we move towards the end of major COVID surges, we can see several things that will likely remain in the beverage industry for some time. First, consumers have driven flavor profiles to a more familiar and nostalgic slant.  Although we cannot control what has happened in our COVID world, we can imbibe on beverages and flavors that take us back to a simpler, “normal” time. Secondly, “ready to drink” is here to stay, making it easy to buy, store and enjoy a cocktail anytime and anywhere. Third, tried and true beverages will continue to see strong sales as we sail away from the last several years of wild experimentation.  Lastly, beverages will continue to see growth in healthy, clean-label offerings that have risen to the surface through the health concerns of our COVID era.

Like many industries through COVID, beverage and flavor companies adapted quickly to the needs and desires of consumers. Although supply chain issues caused many of us to lose sleep (and hair!), the industry as a whole reacted and rolled with consumers. I suspect that when we look back, we will see that this beverage industry has been changed for the better, while receiving good grades for our rapid changes in consumer demands.  Now, please let us move on.

When you’re ready to talk about your beverage idea, give us a call at (502) 273-5214 or get started with this web form.


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Written on March 30, 2022.

So, you’re a new beverage company and everything is coming together. You have the world’s tastiest drink locked up. You have the best team in place to sell it and distribute it to the perfect markets. You’ve done the research, you’ve got a plan, you are in control. But now you need to actually produce this game-changing beverage. How do you pick a contract manufacturer or bottling company to turn all your hard work into a real, tangible, drinkable beverage? And once you’ve done that, how do you know that everything is going according to plan?

Pick a Co-Packer

There are plenty of names for the companies that blend, fill, seal, and label your beverage. Whether you call it a bottling company, a canner, a copacker, or a contract manufacturer, the terms are loosely interchangeable. These are all companies that combine the necessary raw ingredients for your drink and then get them into your packaging for sale. But each copacker is going to have its own processes, specialties. How do you know who to trust with your business?

Picking a copacker is an important decision and there are a few things to keep in mind. Specifically: don’t rush. Take your time and make your decision based off of as much information as you can acquire. Make some phone calls, ask for advice, peruse their websites. Do the work. Selecting this partner is one of the major keys to producing a winning beverage. Make sure that they have the capacity and capability to make a drink to your specifications. It’s your business, so take the extra time to get this choice right the first time.

Acquire Raw Materials

It is vital that the lines of communication between you and your copacker stay open. One great example of this is the acquisition of raw materials.  Some co-packers will want to handle all the ordering themselves – your beverage ingredients (sweeteners, functional ingredients, flavors, colors, etc), and your packaging (i.e. bottles, labels, cartons) themselves. Others will expect you to place and arrange all those moving pieces yourself. Work with your copacker to have clear expectations of who is responsible for what aspect of material acquisition.

Acquire Raw Materials

Production Manual

You’ve picked your copacker and you’ve managed to get all of the necessary materials to their facility.  It’s time to make your drink! But how? This is where your copacker will expect a clear set of instructions about how to combine all those raw materials into a delicious, ready-for-market drink. At Flavorman, we provide an extensive Production Manual that hits all the required notes. It’s easy to read, thorough, and contains all the necessary specifications and instructions that will make life easier for your copacker. Before your production is started or even scheduled, it’s good to review this information with your copacker to make sure that there will be no ugly and costly surprises on the way to getting your first unit filled.

Production Manual

Schedule a Date

Now that you and your copacker are confident about how to make your beverage, it’s time to decide when. This is another point at which open communication is important. Some copackers will give you a specific date and require the materials all be on hand as much as two weeks ahead of time. Others will give you a range of dates. And still others will require everything has arrived at their facility before they can provide your official date for a production run. Have clear expectations and communicate them regularly. If you did your research, you’ll know your copackers regulations and requirements before you reach this stage. Work with your suppliers to get lead times that fit your copacker’s schedule and are realistic for your supply chain.

Have a Presence

The greatest copacker of all time with the best of intentions and the best possible instructions can still make mistakes. One way to help prevent this is to be present. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to physically be at the production facility on the day of your production (though that’s a good idea, too!). Being present means staying involved and staying informed about your production. If you aren’t able for whatever reason to personally attend, many copackers will accommodate you with phone call updates or even video conferencing. But there is nothing that can replace having someone there to advocate for your business. Maybe it is someone from your organization, but maybe that representative will be a trusted third party. The production process consists of batching (making your beverage), and filling (getting it into your bottle or can). Having someone other than the copacker there to taste and test your beverage after batching and to physically hold your drink after filling is irreplaceable.

Have a Presence

Flavorman recommends having a technical representative attend your production.  This is especially true for first productions. Whether it’s the first time you are making a drink or the first time working with a new copacker, first productions are more likely to experience difficulties and therefore more aided by the presence of technical professionals. Having a highly trained technician familiar with your beverage present offers the following benefits:

1 – Answer Questions: A Flavorman Representative can answer any questions that your copacker may have about the beverage or Production Manual. Furthermore, they can also answer questions for you! It can be a long and confusing day for your first production. Having someone to walk you through the processes while your copackers are busily at work can be a great comfort.

2 – Catch Errors: Their familiarity with your beverage and the manufacturing process can help stop problems before they arise. Specifically, in the “batching” process it can be extremely handy to have professionals present to keep an eye on the process and confirm that it’s being done according to your requirements.

3 – Ensure Quality: Understanding the organoleptic (taste, smell, color) properties of your beverage is one of Flavorman’s calling cards. Having a technician on site to test your finished product to make sure that it is properly representative of your intended drink is a great insurance policy. You want all units of your beverage to taste exactly the way it did when you perfected it! Beyond just the sensory evaluations, having a member of the Flavorman quality team at your production allows you to have someone who understands all the numbers that are being thrown around. Are your densities, BRIX, pH, and proofs all coming out according to plan? They can tell you!


Transforming your beverage from an idea into a real, tangible product can seem interminable. And just when you think you’ve reached the finish line, you are faced with the important decision of picking a copacker. There are great options all over the world, but there may only be one that meets your needs perfectly. Hopefully you now feel a little more comfortable about what that process looks like and the pieces it consists of.

Remember to do your research, ask around, and take your time when picking your copacker. Once you’ve found the perfect match, keep the lines of communication open and the expectations of both sides clear and manageable. And when the day comes to finally fill your drink into your bottles, make sure you’ve got experts on your side who can monitor the process and advocate for your business. Working with industry experts can help you get across the finish line on your way to having your beverage hit the market.

When you’re ready to talk about your idea to change what the world is drinking, give us a call at (502) 273-5214 or get started with this web form.


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Written on March 7, 2022.

International Women's Day

When we heard about this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #BreakTheBias, we knew exactly the group of women who perfectly illustrate it – our lab team. In recognition of the all the women of Flavorman, we want to highlight our women-led lab team and hear their thoughts on the inclusion of girls and women into the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


Celebrating International Women's Day

Monica Horn, Associate Beverage Architect
Meet Monica Horn – an Associate Beverage Architect at Flavorman in charge of making beverages that meet our clients’ visions. Monica got her start in science and technology after graduating from Michigan State University, where she worked in biomedical laboratories in the health care industry. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, she wanted to make a change and joined us at Flavorman. She said she applied to work at our company because she could show other people that women should have roles in STEM.

“I knew I was going to enjoy working for a company that allows women from different backgrounds to be themselves.”

Monica hopes to inspire women and girls to consider a career in science and technology because it has “endless routes to fulfill whatever your desire is.”

She says the most important advice to remember is to “create your career, don’t let society make that choice for you, and go for it.”

Celebrating International Women's Day

Kristen Wemer, Director of Technical Services
Kristen has been on our team for more than 10 years and oversees all technical services for our clients. She’s even had a client take their product onto “Shark Tank” and successfully get a deal, which was a dream come true for her. She says she has always been passionate about food and science, and once she knew this passion could turn into a career, she was on the fast track to success. She says it’s essential for women to

“have the opportunity to have any role they want, and by seeing other women in these roles, it helps others visualize themselves in that position.”

As a leader at Flavorman, she hopes to inspire women and girls about the careers they can have and to chase their dreams, and looks forward to the day when women are recognized daily for all that they do. We couldn’t agree more!

Celebrating International Women's Day

Kadeja Davis, Associate Beverage Architect
Jack-of-all-trades Kadeja Davis serves as an Associate Beverage Architect, Vendor Coordinator, Beverage Developer, and Inventory Associate at Flavorman. Kadeja plays an integral role in the success of our company – right down to the specific ingredients we need to create the perfect beverage for our clients. Her duties at Flavorman require a lot of teamwork and collaboration with other departments. She says she finds empowerment and joy in working with her teammates because “we teach one another every step of the way.” As someone who is constantly willing to lead and learn from others, Kadeja cannot stress the importance of asking people questions and collaborating.

“I would encourage young girls to be eager to learn from whoever you can, ask as many questions as you can and never lose your desire to learn. One of my supervisors once told me ‘knowledge is power,’ and that helps me every day with my desire to learn.”

Kadeja’s dedication to learning keeps our entire team motivated daily!

Celebrating International Women's Day

Dorian Joseph, Assistant Beverage Architect
As an Assistant Beverage Architect at Flavorman, Dorian Joseph helps develop samples for clients, updates ingredients to make the product even better and executes new ideas they may have. Dorian started as a temporary employee and was both fascinated and motivated to learn more about the process. She has worked her way up in our company and although she’s thriving in her current role, Dorian says she would have been inspired at a younger age if she saw people like herself in more science and technology roles.

“I believe representation matters, especially to young Black girls. If I had a science teacher who looked like me, it would’ve pushed me to keep going and ask more questions.”

She says seeing women like herself in the STEM field is a great feeling, and she hopes to see more Black women join the industry. Dorian believes women’s accomplishments should be recognized daily. “Beyonce said it best, ‘who runs the world? Girls!’”

Celebrating International Women's Day

Cristene Gilbert, Beverage Architect
Cristene Gilbert, a Beverage Architect at Flavorman, focuses on reading formulations, gathering ingredients, and combining them in an order that allows the best and tastiest blend. After working in animal research for seven years, Cristene switched to join us at Flavorman less than a year ago. As someone who finds empowerment from the women before her, she is proud to be that role model for other women and girls and help pave a path for them in STEM.

“The importance to have women in roles like this is undeniably the key for future young women. To know that another strong woman has walked the path that I am on now and having a support system that understands me as a female in the workforce is a true privilege.”

Cristine says people would be surprised to know that the company helps to develop some of their favorite drinks, and she’s proud to play a part in this work with her teammates.
“It a true privilege to say the least,” Cristine says.

Celebrating International Women's Day

Katie Clark, Director of Research and Development
As Director of Research and Development at Flavorman, Katie Clark is our fearless leader of all things process improvements and project guidance. Katie says she earned her ranks through “blood, sweat, tears, the combination of an ‘old-fashioned farmgirl’ work ethic and a timely opportunity from Flavorman’s success.” She says that working with so many incredible women daily has made her “both proud and humbled.”

“Every woman brings certain strengths, and it’s important that we acknowledge and embrace those unique strengths. There’s still work to do in clearing a fair path for women to succeed professionally, but I think it starts with women embracing other women’s strengths and letting that intention be louder than any weakness. To me, that’s empowerment.”

Celebrating International Women's Day

Claire Oslund, Associate Beverage Architect
Claire Oslund is an Associate Beverage Architect who focuses on precisely completing recipes created by our team and ensuring they reach our clients efficiently. She says that finding a place where she feels supported and successful has been “the most exciting part of this job,” and “to have a working environment so open about its values, that does so much for the community, and really works hard to take care of its employees is a beautiful thing in this day and age.”
When it comes to inspiring other women to get involved in STEM roles, Claire says that biases in society have improved, but there’s still a ways to go.

“Too long have women been restricted or held back because of prejudice and outdated societal expectations about their abilities, intelligence, or value. More representation of women in science and technology is not just important to current women in STEM and their success, but also to the generations that come after us and the intrinsic quality of what they help create.”

She hopes all women and girls will advocate for themselves and remember how valued and important they are because their “happiness, safety and dreams are valid.”


Thank you all for your powerful stories that are helping to change the stigma behind women in STEM and inspiring women and girls across the world that they can be whatever they want to be. Cheers to your accomplishments, your empowerment, and for each of you being the change we all want to see!


ABOUT FLAVORMAN: Founded by David Dafoe in 1992, Flavorman is a custom beverage development company located in the heart of Bourbon country. Flavorman works with companies and entrepreneurs— big and small —to develop everything from energy drinks to flavored spirits and more. With 30 years in the industry and almost 75,000 beverage formulations, Flavorman has helped create thousands of household staples and iconic brands that have defined generations – and changed what the world is drinking. For more information, visit

Written on February 24, 2022.

Flavorman Celebrates 30 Years

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 14, 2022) – Flavorman, a leading beverage development company headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is celebrating 30 years of creating flavors for beverage brands worldwide, ranging from large companies like Ocean Spray, Sunsweet Growers, and Kellogg to independent companies just getting a start in the beverage industry.

Flavorman was founded in January 1992 by David Dafoe – one of the foremost authorities on flavor who got his start as a lab assistant at a Cincinnati-based flavor company, then as manager of flavor development at Brown-Forman, where he developed some of the global spirits giant’s biggest new brands. He left Brown Forman and branched out on his own to start Flavorman to help assist beverage clients in creating new flavors. Flavorman’s first big customer was Chiquita Brands International.

“We’ve come a long way from where we first started, and I couldn’t be prouder of the team of experts we have in place and the work we’ve done over the years,” said David Dafoe, CEO and Founder of Flavorman. “We have worked with hundreds of well-known and up-and-coming brands to help build new flavors and beverages to offer to consumers. We saw the need for technical innovation in the beverage industry, jumped in, and haven’t looked back, and I’m looking forward to another 30 years of working with clients to create trendsetting flavors and innovative beverages.”

Flavorman has helped many companies get their start in the beverage industry. Louisville resident, Joe Heron, used Flavorman to create his soda company Nutrisoda, which he later sold to PepsiAmericas. Two years later, with the help of Flavorman, he created a craft cider, Crispin Hard Cider, which was later sold to MillerCoors. Heron went on to further make a splash in the spirits industry after he founded Copper & Kings American Brandy Company with the help of Dafoe and Flavorman.

“Because of our work with Flavorman, beverages that began as simple ideas from novices in the beverage industry have successfully been sold to major corporations,” said Heron. “Flavorman was the engine behind the beverage formulations, and we would not be where we are today without them.”

Located at 809 South 8th Street in Louisville, Ky., Flavorman is currently expanding its 24,000-square-foot facility, which will bring 30 new jobs to the area and serve as a catalyst for attracting global business to the heart of Kentucky’s largest city. The addition will cover 27,000 square feet and connect to the company’s main laboratory. Once complete, it will boost production capacity, expanding Flavorman’s blending, bottling/canning, processing and bulk storage operations.

The $8.5 million expansion, set to be complete in the fall of 2022, is the latest in a series of developments in the last several years as the company continues to experience exponential growth – 28 of its 59 employees were hired in the last two years. In 2006, Flavorman rehabbed the existing building, and a few years later, purchased a neighboring building to create the nation’s premier educational distillery, Moonshine University.

“We joke that we started Moonshine University when Flavorman was 21-years-old and of legal age,” said Dafoe. “It has been a great investment for us and allows us to offer distillers, or even newbies, the opportunity to learn more about how to own and operate their own distillery. We’re helping so many people learn about the art of distilling, and believe we are truly leaving an impression on the bourbon and beverage industries.”

Together, Flavorman and Moonshine University make up a world-class “Beverage Campus” that houses a fully equipped educational distillery, state-of-the-art classroom, production facility with a custom bottling line, extensive sensory library and a beverage innovation laboratory. Flavorman has developed more than 74,000 beverage formulations for brands worldwide, while Moonshine University has hosted hands-on classes for students from all 50 states and 44 countries, with attendees opening over 186 distilleries.

ABOUT FLAVORMAN: Founded by David Dafoe in 1992, Flavorman is a custom beverage development company located in the heart of Bourbon country. Flavorman works with companies and entrepreneurs— big and small —to develop everything from energy drinks to flavored spirits and more. With 30 years in the industry and almost 75,000 beverage formulations, Flavorman has helped create thousands of household staples and iconic brands that have defined generations – and changed what the world is drinking. For more information, visit

Written on January 6, 2022.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 06, 2022) Flavorman, a leading custom beverage development company, has announced a new drink flavor to sum up 2021 – “Nada Colada.”

Flavorman made headlines in 2020 when it created a drink flavor coined “Dumpster Fire,” which helped sum up the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The flavor fittingly incorporated spicy, smoky ginger hints alongside bittersweet grapefruit to coincide with the sentiment that the year resembled flaming trash.

The Flavorman team is back at it again, and for 2021, has crafted another beverage flavor to sum up another challenging and, frankly, lackluster year. The year was filled with slow starts and sudden stops, spinning wheels with little traction and a sense of getting nothing meaningful accomplished. We waited for the tide to turn and as we took two steps forward and took one or two back. The Flavorman team has dubbed 2021’s flavor “Nada Colada,” which, if it was a drink, would include no flavor at all, no color, no sweetness or sour – it would be a bland beverage that tastes like nothing, nada.

“When you think of a ‘nothing’ flavor, you think of flat carbonation or a soft drink without syrup. Or, a glass of slightly infused water left stagnant overnight,” said David Dafoe, Founder and CEO of Flavorman. “We thought 2021 would be a positive year but it just felt like a slow-motion continuation of 2020 with unfulfilled hope of a return to normal, so we are naming the beverage and flavor ‘Nada Colada’ and hoping next year’s flavor will be much more exciting for us all. The positive is that 2022’s flavor should be much more enticing since we’re starting from nothing.”

The Flavorman team will create a flavor annually to represent the year.


ABOUT FLAVORMAN: Founded by David Dafoe in 1992, Flavorman is a custom beverage development company located in the heart of Bourbon country. Flavorman works with companies and entrepreneurs— big and small —to develop everything from energy drinks to flavored spirits and more. With 30 years in the industry and almost 75,000 beverage formulations, Flavorman has helped create thousands of household staples and iconic brands that have defined generations – and changed what the world is drinking. For more information, visit

Written on December 2, 2021.

2022 Beverage Trends

Experts at the Louisville, KY-based beverage development company, Flavorman, have announced the drink trends to watch for in 2022. Driven by the long-term effects of an ongoing pandemic, this year’s forecast is shaping up to focus on celebrating life’s simple pleasures while striving for balance.

Going Big & Bold: As evidenced by the seltzer boom of the last few years, drinks with subtle displays of flavor have previously taken center stage, but that is likely to change in 2022. With the seltzer market beginning to saturate, beverage makers are now seeking ways to differentiate from the competition, opting for bigger and bolder profiles.

Client requests have taken a 180-degree turn on flavor, especially where seltzers and sparkling waters are concerned,” said Tom Gibson, Flavorman’s Chief Flavorist. “Whereas before, clients would be looking for a gentler spritz of nuanced flavors in their drink, we are now seeing more clients ask for loud and proud, single-note flavors.

In the wake of COVID-19 – a virus that is notorious for attacking a person’s taste and smell – it makes sense that drinks with prominently featured and straightforward flavors may provide reassurance to consumers still recovering from sensory loss related to the virus, or those who are just concerned with changes to their senses in general.

In 2022, expect beverage makers to continue emphasizing the presence of familiar flavors in drinks across categories. Childhood favorites like watermelon, strawberry, cherry, apple and grape will see a resurgence as consumers reach for those immediately recognizable and nostalgic profiles.


Guilt-Free Indulgence: As the world becomes more accustomed to the challenges of an ongoing pandemic, consumers are learning to strive for balance in all aspects of their life. Rather than sacrificing on indulgent experiences, consumers are embracing them with some slight modifications.

Citrus flavors have been a cornerstone for the drinks industry, but consumer tastes are now evolving towards botanical-forward beverages—particularly in the premium sector. Floral profiles like hibiscus, lavender and elderflower are becoming more mainstream and making way for the earthier, more herbal flavors of turmeric, anise and rosemary.

Many of the ingredients you would find in your kitchen spice cabinet can introduce an extra element to a drink, providing new dimensions of flavor or functionality,” said Katie Clark, Flavorman’s Lab Manager. “Consumers tend to react to these twists with greater expectations—an insight that brands can leverage in premium beverage offers.

2022 Beverage Trends

Because premium is also so often associated with quality, ingredients like juice and full sugar are also becoming more popular in beverages marketed as high-end. Consumers indulging in these drinks aren’t as concerned with calorie restrictions or sugar because they recognize that they are treating themselves to a unique experience. The same can be observed in the spirits and beverage alcohol sectors.

In the spirits world, amaro, absinthe and other botanical spirits are seeing a renaissance,” said Colin Blake, Director of Spirits Education at Moonshine University, the sister company of the Flavorman Beverage Campus. “These drinks tend to have a distinctive quality due to their balance of bitter and sweet, and they are consumed in very particular ways, usually before or directly following a meal. Consumers in the premium sector have embraced the ritual involved as another way of replicating a bar experience.


A Return to Simplicity: Simplicity provides a source of comfort during a time when life feels like it has become much more complicated. In fact, the ongoing “clean label” trend shows us how the quality of ingredients, not quantity, is shaping consumer perceptions of the value of a beverage. It also explains why drinks with simple ingredient statements continue to be consumer favorites.

Transparency has, time and time again, proven to be important to consumers,” said Clark. “Many clients seeking compliance with Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and other ‘better-for-you’ food and beverage retailers have simply opted to do away with sweeteners or added colors instead of combing through the accepted ingredient lists. Consumers don’t seem to mind.

2022 Beverage Trends

With health and wellness continuing to drive trends as we move into 2022, beverage brands will opt for simplicity in beverage formulations across the board. In the spirits sector, simplicity takes the form of moderation.

Going low- or no-alcohol is a lifestyle choice that some consumers are rallying behind as a way to achieve holistic health goals, said Clark. This trend has fueled explosive growth in non-alcoholic spirits and ready-to-drink mocktails—as well as lower ABV wine-based cocktails—that we expect to continue into the New Year.

With nearly 30 years in the beverage business and over 70,000 drink formulations, Flavorman compiles this annual trends summary through examination of beverage projects that have passed through its laboratory over the last 12 months.


See how last year’s Flavor Trends compare.

Have a drink idea that you think will excel in 2022? Flavorman can help you bring it to life. Give us a call at (502) 273-5214 or contact our team through this webform.


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Written on September 27, 2021.

28,000-square-foot addition to bring 30 new jobs to downtown Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (September 27, 2021) – Flavorman, a leading beverage development company, today held a ceremonial groundbreaking on the site of its new facility expansion at 809 South 8th Street. Upon completion, the project will bring 30 new jobs to downtown Louisville and will continue to serve as a catalyst for attracting global business to the heart of Kentucky’s largest city.

Officials in attendance included Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, Mayor Greg Fischer, and Shalanna Taylor, Legislative Aide to Metro Council President David James, who spoke to the significance of the development’s impact on the surrounding community and Greater Louisville.

“With more than 125 food and beverage companies located regionally, businesses can take products from concept to consumer all in one place – Louisville, Ky. – and Flavorman is a key player in that ecosystem. Whether a company wants to find just the right balance of flavors to entice consumers, or someone wants to learn about the art of distilling, Flavorman is where they turn,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.

The project represents an $8.5 million investment to scale up Flavorman’s state-of-the-art “Beverage Campus” and better serve demand for their custom beverage development services. Designed by Frankfort-based G. Scott & Associates (GSA) and contracted by Cardinal Industries, the addition will cover 28,000 square feet and connect to the company’s main laboratory. Once complete, it will boost production capacity, expanding Flavorman’s blending, bottling/canning, processing and bulk storage operations.

“Kentucky’s economy continues to gain momentum, and our state’s food, beverage and agritech sector is a vital part of that growth,” said Governor Andy Beshear. “This expansion by Flavorman will not only allow the company to take its business to the next level but will also create quality job opportunities for residents in the Louisville area while encouraging innovation within the commonwealth’s food and beverage and spirits industries. I want to thank the leadership at this homegrown Kentucky company for furthering their commitment to our state and our talented workforce.”


The project is the latest in a series of expansions at Flavorman in the last few years as the company continues to experience exponential growth. In 2006, the company rehabbed the existing 24,000-square-foot building at 809 South 8th Street, believing it would be more space than they could ever use. Six years later, the company purchased a neighboring building to create the nation’s premier educational distillery, Moonshine University. In 2018, the company added office space at 827 South 8th Street.

Together, Flavorman and Moonshine University make up a world-class “Beverage Campus” that houses a fully equipped educational distillery, state-of-the-art classroom, production facility with a custom bottling line, extensive sensory library and a beverage innovation laboratory. Flavorman has developed more than 70,000 beverage formulations for brands worldwide, while Moonshine University has hosted hands-on classes for students from all 50 states and 44 countries.

“This expansion is an incredible opportunity for our city,” says David Dafoe, Flavorman Founder & CEO. “When I started Flavorman almost 30 years ago, I did it out of a passion for the craft. I’m proud of the role Flavorman and Moonshine University continue to play in establishing Louisville as the epicenter for not just Bourbon, but the beverage industry overall.”

Construction on the upcoming addition to the campus is estimated to complete during fall of 2022.


Founded by David Dafoe in 1992, Flavorman is an industry leading custom beverage development company based out of Louisville, KY. In contrast to “flavor houses” that manufacture ready-made, “stock” formulations, Flavorman helps clients—big and small—bring custom products to market from concept to production planning and quality control. As of 2021, Flavorman has created 70k unique beverage formulations for brands like Crispin Hard Cider, Formula O2, Jones Soda, Chiquita, Joia Spirit Craft Cocktails, Go Fast Energy, and more. Visit


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