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Written on September 22, 2021.

If someone asked you to describe the flavor of root beer soda, what would you say? We’re betting you might struggle to find an answer—or that your answer might vary greatly from your peers. There’s a good reason for that.

Root beer sports an elusive profile that has had consumers around the world scratching their heads for generations. The truth is that there’s no truly authentic root beer recipe and, in fact, recipes differ between brands as well as around the globe.

Get to the root of root beer with us as we explore the origins of this classic drink, how it evolved into a beloved soda, and why it continues to change what the world is drinking.

An Indigenous Medicine Becomes A Colonial Treat

Root beer owes it beginnings to the indigenous populations of early America. Far before colonists arrived on our young nation’s shores, native people were already using different parts of the sassafras tree to create medicinal tonics and delicious cuisines, alike.

Every part of the plant—from the leaves all the way down to its roots—was utilized to create tisanes (herbal teas) and throat-coating syrups to treat respiratory conditions and stomach problems. It was also not uncommon for natives to consume the young leaves at leisure or use the fruit to make jelly or wine.

While the leaves provided a fresh lemony aroma, it was the roots that delivered what we identify today as a distinctly “root beer” profile. As colonists settled in the Americas, they learned the recipes for various food and drink from the natives, and root beer was one such invention embraced by these newcomers.

Colonists had long enjoyed “small beers”, essentially alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages made from herbs, berries, and bark. These drinks, which included birch beer and ginger beer were already a part of the diets of most European settlers, so similar beers made from American ingredients like sassafras root did not seem too unfamiliar to try. It didn’t take long for settlers to acquire a taste for root beer.

In fact, the colonists enjoyed these earliest forms of root beer so much, that records identify it as a favorite among 18th century farmers. As homebrewers, these farmers would often prepare their own versions of the stuff for social events, family celebrations, and parties. Even our founding fathers kept records of their favorite root beer recipes. Talk about American history!

Making Early Root Beer

In addition to sassafras root, common ingredients of the time included sarsaparilla, dandelion root, guaiacum chips, dog grass, and more. When you are living in an uncultivated country, you can’t afford to be picky, so many of these ingredients ended up in root beer. Yep, not quite what you might expect to find in your modern soft drink.

So, how was early root beer made?

Well, the process usually started out with boiled water. Ingredients would be heated in water to create a wort. Sweeteners like molasses, honey, or maple syrup were then added along with yeast and more water. Finally, the mixture could be barreled to ferment. The length of the fermentation process determined the final alcohol content of the beer, as well as its level of carbonation.

This process is surely what inspired the first commercial root beer recipe—ironically the brainchild of a teetotaling pharmacist.

 

The First Commercial Root Beer

Most people don’t spend their honeymoon seeking out inspiration for their next entrepreneurial venture, but we’re assuming Charles Hires wasn’t most people. In fact, you can thank Hires for contributing to the widespread popularity of root beer we enjoy today.

It all starts in 1875. While on his honeymoon, Hires discovered and developed a taste for an herbal “root tea,” taking the recipe home with him to Philadelphia. There, he tinkered with the recipe and became the first to market root beer as a commercial product.

The packaged dry blend contained 16 ingredients and was introduced to the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876. One package of his product cost 25 cents and could create five gallons of the finished drink. Consumers loved it.

Encouraged by the enthusiastic response, Hires soon re-formulated his dry blend into a liquid concentrate of the drink, which included nearly 30 different herbs, berries, and roots. By 1893, he had established a successful business in selling bottles of his famous brew.

Seeing an opportunity, other brands would later emerge and market similar products of their own. Barq’s launched in 1898, followed by followed by A&W in 1919. Dad’s Old Fashioned made its debut in the late 1930s, becoming the first product to utilize the standard six-pack packaging format we enjoy for most beverage products today. Originally marketed as “Belfast Root Beer,” Mug was then created during the 1940s.

Today, these four brands remain the most widely distributed root beer products globally, with A&W dominating as the number one in root beer sales worldwide.

 

Root Beer, Every Way!

We know what you’re thinking—what’s the deal with all of these root beer brands? While brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi dominate the cola market, root beer doesn’t seem to have any one clear winner—at least in so far as consumer tastes are concerned.

Sure, we can see that A&W brings in the most sales for the category, but debates surrounding which root beer brand reigns supreme in flavor usually tend to skew towards the complicated—much more so than the question of “coke or pepsi.”

While root beer has developed a few accepted characteristics—it’s bubbly, brown, sweet, and non-alcoholic—that’s where the similarities stop. Just like the homebrews of the early days of “root tea” and small beers, root beer today continues to be a diverse beverage category with a profile that can be hard to describe.

Medium has attempted to sort through the web of flavors, grouping popular root beer brands by their core profile. “Sharpy pungent” styles of root beer are spicier, sometimes even more bitter or astringent. Brands like Barq’s and Dads Old Fashioned appear in this category, plus the Australian brand Bundaberg. Medium’s head-scratching “sweet and creamy” and “smooth and creamy” groupings present two additional categories for the soda, with subtle differences that again speak to the challenge of nailing down a classic root beer profile.

Our Chief Flavorist, Tom Gibson, has his own take on what constitutes a root beer, then and now:

“There are a variety of flavor profiles of root beer on the market, but at the heart is a wintergreen profile with secondary vanilla, anise, and herbal, earthy notes. Traditionally, the sassafras tree root was blended with other herbs and spices to either enhance that defining wintergreen quality or provide earthier, herbal notes and enhanced flavor. Vanilla was later added to provide a creamier, smoother profile that takes the edge off of the bitter astringency. Over time, root beer has evolved and contained ingredients like allspice, burdock root, sarsaparilla root, yellow dock root, ginger root, juniper berries, wild cherry bark, birch bark, anise, lemon, wintergreen, and more.”

Modern beverage manufacturers continue to utilize some of these components along with a combination of flavorings, sweeteners, carbonation, and caffeine, but there continues to be no single way of making a great root beer product—that’s an exciting prospect for beverage creators.

When you’re ready to talk about your idea for the world’s next root beer soda, give us a call at (502) 273-5214 or get started with this web form.

 

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Written on September 8, 2021.

As the name suggests, milkshakes are typically dairy based. Prepared using ice cream and milk (or milk alternatives), a great milkshake also includes fun add-ins like fruit, candies, and nuts. With an equation like that, it’s hard to go wrong during your search for the perfect frozen treat. Of course, we didn’t say there weren’t favorites… Enter, the chocolate milkshake.

The staple of first dates, slumber parties, and guilty late-night indulgence, the chocolate milkshake is the king of classics. Whether you’re a chocolate lover or not, there is a milkshake for any occasion—and chocolate tends to taste great at any time of day.

In honor of National Chocolate Milkshake Day this September 12, we’re proving it to you with a full menu of chocolatey shakes to enjoy all day long as you celebrate.

Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Make it better with a milkshake.

Start your morning off like royalty with a rich pancake breakfast milkshake. A far cry from the standard breakfast smoothie, this recipe from Tastemade provides a full spread sure to delight the brunch crowd.

All you need to make your milkshake is whole milk, vanilla extract, vanilla (or chocolate) ice cream, and whipped cream to top it off. Sound a little plain? That’s because the pancake add-ins are the star.

For the pancakes, you can either whip them up homemade with all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, eggs, and butter, or grab your favorite boxed mix. Don’t forget to pay homage to the “chocolate” part of Chocolate Milkshake Day by adding a scoop of chocolate chips into your pancake batter.

Cook the pancakes as normal and when they are cooled, blend a few into your shake mix. Top with whipped cream, more chocolate chips, and a drizzle of maple syrup and you’ve got an instant diner special!

Lunch

You might think your usual lunchtime sandwich is a bore, but that’s because you’ve never tried it in milkshake form.

Take your childhood peanut butter and jelly sandwich to the next level of decadence with this chocolate PB&J milkshake, courtesy of The Food Network’s Sunny Anderson.

Just blend together chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, and chocolate (or regular) milk, then add to a glass drizzled with raspberry or strawberry jam. To finish it off, garnish with whipped cream, chopped peanuts, and maraschino cherries and behold—another reason to look forward to your lunch hour.

Need a pick-me-up instead? Try a mocha milkshake from Sarah Cook at BBC’s Good Food. With only four ingredients, you can power through fixing up this tasty chocolate milkshake until you get your caffeine.

Simply chop up some plain chocolate and place it into a large jug with 1 tablespoon of coffee granules. Boil your choice of milk and pour over the chocolate and coffee mix, stirring until it is melted.

When it cools, tip the mocha solution into a blender with vanilla ice cream (or chocolate, for an especially chocolately profile) and blend. You can also add a shot of cooled espresso if you need the added boost.

Top with whipped cream and grated chocolate—and enjoy!

Dinner

We’ve all been told to have dinner before dessert, but what if you made dessert for dinner instead?

Then, just to make things more interesting, take a classic fancy dinner dessert and turn it into a milkshake, too—after all, turning dreams into beverages is what we do. The dreamiest dessert-gone-beverage? A chocolate-covered strawberry cheesecake milkshake.

This recipe is the brainchild of Faithfully Gluten Free. To make this romantic meal for two, you’ll need to have chocolate fudge or syrup, graham crackers, vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries, milk, and cream cheese.

Prepare the glasses first to ensure a great experience. Pour the chocolate sauce into a bowl and dip the rim of your serving glasses, dusting with graham cracker crumbs. Coat the inside of the cups with more chocolate sauce.

When you are ready to make your shakes, blend together the ice cream, strawberries, milk, and cream cheese, then pour into your prepared glasses. Top with whipped cream, graham cracker crumbs, and a chocolate-covered strawberry and serve with love.

Your sweetie will applaud your thoughtfulness on date night and you won’t even have to do too many dishes. It’s a win-win!

One last tip before we go: don’t forget to dress warm and loosen that waistband. Happy sipping!

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.

 

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Written on September 1, 2021.

When we take an orange and squeeze it into a glass, we call that juice. Of course, what you buy off the shelf in your local grocery store is also considered juice. But making a fresh-squeezed orange juice at home and manufacturing a commercially viable juice drink for consumers involve vastly different processes, considerations, and challenges. It should come as no surprise that the latter tends to be a lot more complicated—here are three reasons why:

1. Formulating With Juice Can Be Tricky.

Successfully formulating a beverage is about more than just creating a great tasting product. For one, there are a variety of juice drinks on the market—where will yours fit? PepsiCo offers a helpful summary of common classifications, each of which come with their own formulation considerations:

  • 100% Juice – 100% juice is squeezed from the fruit or vegetable and then packaged or concentrated for reconstitution with water and other ingredients at a later time.
  • Juice Beverage – These products comprise single strength, 100% juice with excess water added so that the juice percentage is below 100% juice to provide an alternative taste. Other terms with the same meaning are “juice cocktail” and “juice drink.” Under US law, manufacturers are required to list the total juice content percentage just above the Nutrition Facts panel of juices and diluted juice beverages.
  • Pasteurized Juice – This is juice that has been heated through pasteurization to increase its shelf life, ensure its safety, and minimize nutrient loss.
  • Chilled, Ready-to-Serve – These products are made from frozen concentrate or pasteurized juice, and then packaged in paper cartons, plastic, or glass.
  • From Concentrate – Juice that is manufactured by reconstituting juice concentrate.
  • Not-from-Concentrate – Juice that is squeezed from a fruit or vegetable and has never been concentrated.
  • Canned Juice – Fruit or vegetable juice that has been heated and sealed in cans to provide shelf life for an extended period.

And let’s not forget the range of drink products on the market that include juice as an ingredient (think sparkling water brand Spindrift, for example). While fruit and vegetable blends can be great for introducing nutritional benefits or enhancing the sweetness of a product, they can also present shelf-life challenges.

Regardless of how much juice is used, how it is processed, as well as where and how the finished product is stored, beverages with this ingredient eventually tend to brown, drop components out of solution, and oxidize over time—some faster than others.

Berry-derived juices, for example, are particularly volatile to browning, a process that gives an unpleasant aesthetic to the drink. Meanwhile, citrus juices are prone to oxidation which affects a beverage’s organoleptic qualities (think sensory characteristics). Ever had a rotten piece of fruit? Yeah, not something you want to see, smell, or taste in your juice!

Products formulated with large volumes of juice and those that add juice to certain combinations of ingredients are generally more susceptible to these quality issues; as a consequence, juice drinks tend to have a relatively short shelf life. This is why some beverage brands choose to combine juice (or substitute it altogether) with added flavors.

Using natural and artificial flavors in your beverage ensures a more consistent product, eliminates many of the potential quality and shelf-life challenges that come with using juice alone, and significantly reduces your Cost of Goods Sold. In fact, formulation affects more than just quality and shelf life—it also impacts production and packaging decisions.

2. Juice Drinks Require Specific Manufacturing And Packaging Considerations.

Fruit and vegetable juices can provide a rich source of nutrients, including key vitamins and minerals; that’s also why they invite a variety of microorganisms. To ensure beverage quality in commercial products using juice, special consideration must be given to manufacturing and packaging.

First of all, you should know that not all contract packers (or co-packers) offer the same capabilities. Once you know what type of process and packaging your juice drink requires, you will need to find a co-packer equipped to accommodate those needs and produce your beverage.

When selecting a co-packer, you should consider the following:

  • What are their processing capabilities?
  • What is their minimum production volume?
  • Do they have the proper licenses or certifications you require?
  • Do they follow current Good Manufacturing Practices?
  • Does the facility participate in an annual third-party audit? What do they score?
  • Where are they located in relation to your distribution area?

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of working with any co-packer and be aware of all the fees involved to make sure you are getting the most for your money. Finding a co-packer within close proximity is great, but only if other considerations ensuring the quality of your juice drink are met.

For example, your juice needs to be stored properly until you are ready to produce. This requires refrigerated or frozen storage, which is not something all co-packers offer. Those that do charge for it, which is going to add to your costs—and don’t forget that you also have to account for cold shipping the ingredient to your co-packing facility.

Juices that require refrigerated distribution are often High Temperature Short Time (HTST) pasteurized. Gentler than a hot-fill process, HTST pasteurization allows for shelf stability; however, it still offers a relatively shorter shelf life than non-juice beverages. You should also note that refrigerated distribution is expensive, so you may need to account for that additional cost.

And let’s not forget packaging: what types of packaging are your co-packer’s lines able to fill? Not only will your co-packer need to have the capabilities required to manufacture your juice drink, but they also need to be equipped to package it accordingly.

Our Beverage Architects recommend keeping juice products away from light and heat which can lead to quality issues. Your packaging should be able to sustain the processing your drink requires, and effectively protect the liquid inside.

3. Labeling Guidelines Are Difficult To Navigate.

The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is the governing body that regulates beverage products in the United States. All commercial beverages—including your juice drink!—will need to adhere to the parameters stipulated by the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations.

Title 21, Parts 101 and 102 of the CFR provide guidelines specific to beverages containing fruit or vegetable juice, including how their percentage juice declaration should appear on the label. Here are a few examples of labeling requirements you may need to consider based on your product’s unique composition:

  • For Less Than 1% Juice – If the beverage contains less than 1 percent juice, the total percentage juice shall be declared as “less than 1 percent juice” or “less than 1 percent ___ juice” with the blank filled in with the name of the particular fruit or vegetable.
  • For 100% Juice Plus Non-Juice Ingredients – If the beverage contains 100 percent juice and also contains non-juice ingredients that do not result in a diminution of the juice soluble solids or, in the case of expressed juice, in a change in the volume, when the 100 percent juice declaration appears on a panel of the label that does not also bear the ingredient statement, it must be accompanied by the phrase “with added ___,” the blank filled in with a term such as “ingredient(s),” “preservative,” or “sweetener,” as appropriate (e.g., “100% juice with added sweetener”), except that when the presence of the non-juice ingredient(s) is declared as a part of the statement of identity of the product, this phrase need not accompany the 100 percent juice declaration.
  • For Minor Amounts of Juice For Flavoring – If a beverage contains minor amounts of juice for flavoring and is labeled with a flavor description using terms such as “flavor,” “flavored,” or “flavoring” with a fruit or vegetable name and does not bear: (1) The term “juice” on the label other than in the ingredient statement; or (2) An explicit vignette depicting the fruit or vegetable from which the flavor derives, such as juice exuding from a fruit or vegetable; or (3) Specific physical resemblance to a juice or distinctive juice characteristic such as pulp then total percentage juice declaration is not required.
  • For Major Modifications – If the product is a beverage that contains a juice whose color, taste, or other organoleptic properties have been modified to the extent that the original juice is no longer recognizable at the time processing is complete, or if its nutrient profile has been diminished to a level below the normal nutrient range for the juice, then that juice to which such a major modification has been made shall not be included in the total percentage juice declaration.

As you can see, these guidelines can be tricky to navigate. That’s why it is always a good idea to find a partner with the expertise to advise on label compliance, like Flavorman.

Opportunities For Juice Innovation

When enjoyed alongside whole fruits and vegetables, juice products can offer a convenient way for consumers to introduce key vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients into their diets, so it is no wonder why juice (and juice-containing) products continue to benefit from a “healthy halo” effect.

Over the last decade, consumer interest in low-calorie juices, organic alternatives, and exotic or novel combinations of flavors has increased, providing beverage brands with an avenue for development and innovation.

Premium juice drinks offer the novelty of new flavors, features, and functionality (think carbonation or probiotics). Meanwhile, beverage brands can also enjoy the simple option of using juice to sweeten a product and achieve a “no added sugar” claim.

Despite the hurdles involved with this ingredient, it does present some great opportunities for creative beverage builders. The possibilities are endless—but the most successful brands will be those that can effectively plan for challenges and partner with the right team of experts.

Flavorman can set you and your product up for success. With nearly 30 years in the business, Flavorman has created almost every kind of drink imaginable—and we’re confident that we can perfect your dream beverage, too.

“Other development companies or flavor houses will give you a formula and flavor and send you on your way,” says Kristen Wemer, Flavorman’s Director Beverage Architect. “They don’t provide any technical or regulatory support. Flavorman is different. Even after your formulation has been finalized, we continue to be an extension of your team. That’s what makes us so unique and that’s what makes our clients—and their beverages—so successful.”

When you’re ready to learn how Flavorman can bring your dream drink to life, fill out this web form or give us a call at (502) 273-5214.

 

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Written on August 26, 2021.

David Dafoe presented with 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award by American Distilling Institute

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (August 26, 2021) — Flavorman, a leading beverage development company, is pleased to announce that its Founder and CEO David Dafoe has been honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Distilling Institute (ADI).

Dafoe received the award for his “outstanding contribution to distilling.” The award celebrates his multiple businesses for their role in supporting and promoting continued innovation and formalized, hands-on education in the beverage alcohol and distilled spirits sectors. ADI President Erik Owens presented the award to Dafoe during the 2021 ADI Conference & Vendor Expo’s closing Gala Luncheon held in Louisville, KY on Wednesday, August 25.

The creator behind iconic products like the original California Cooler brand, Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails and Lynchburg Lemonade, Dafoe started Pro-Liquitech (now Flavorman) in 1992 with Chiquita Brands as his first client.

“David Dafoe is the Flavorman,” said Owens during the ceremony. “He has spent his whole career creating flavors and launching brands. We may be in this RTD explosion right now, but in 1983 David was already there doing it—and he didn’t stop there.”

“In 2010, David recognized that there was no single location where someone could receive hands-on, formalized training in distilling, so he created Moonshine University,” said Owens. “A few years later, Dave got a call from the Mayor of Louisville about starting a Bourbon Certification program. In 2014, he founded The Stave & Thief Society in Louisville, where the promotion and preservation of Bourbon knowledge and culture remains a key initiative for the city.”

The serial entrepreneur’s achievements are many. Today, Flavorman develops beverage formulations for national and global beverage brands like Crispin Hard Cider, Formula O2, Jones Soda, Joia Spirit Craft Cocktails, Go Fast Energy, and more. Meanwhile, Moonshine University has helped students from all 50 states, 3 US territories, and 49 countries launch nearly 200 distilleries worldwide in addition to certifying more than 4,000 bourbon ambassadors.

“Receiving this award allowed me reflect humbly on how I got here,” said Dafoe. “I landed on three explanations: First, I had great teachers; second, I found an opportunity; and third, I took action to build something. Now, I am grateful for the opportunity to pay it forward. Flavorman and Moonshine University are designed to equip others with the tools they need to identify their own opportunities to build something—and be successful doing it.”

For more information, contact our team.

About Flavorman:

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 flavorman.com.

Have a great idea for a new beverage? Flavorman’s team of experts can help you bring it to life! Get started by filling out this webform or by giving us a call at (502) 273-5214.

 

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Written on August 25, 2021.

Think about your favorite childhood beverages—odds are that a certain powdered fruit drink was one of them. That’s right, we’re talking about Kool-Aid.

The perfect summertime beverage, Kool-Aid was the drink that made us all feel like beverage scientists in our own right. More fun to make than simply pouring liquid into a glass, we could revel in the power of being able to blend the classic red mix ourselves.

Combining the powdered fruit drink with water, ice, and eyebrow-raising amounts of sugar, our tiny, sweet-addicted bodies would happily gulp it down by the pitcher, paying no mind that it left our teeth and tongues red and our little heart palpitating.

If Kool-Aid seems like one of those things that’s been around forever, well that’s because it has. Explore the origins of Kool-Aid, how it became the most recognized children’s drink brand, and how powdered fruit drinks continue to change what the world is drinking.

Before There Was Kool-Aid, There Was FruitSmack

We can’t tell the story of Kool-Aid without first introducing its inventor, Edwin Perkins. In the 1920s, he launched Perkins Products in Hastings, Nebraska, where he made his start by selling smoking cessation products and other inventions door-to-door. Over the course of the next few years, he would rapidly expand his business into a thriving mail-order enterprise with over a hundred household goods—one of which was FruitSmack.

The tasty soft drink concentrate came in six flavors which we recognize now as the first version of our modern-day Kool-Aid. An instant success, the 4-oz syrup allowed families to make pitchers of the fruit-flavored beverage for a fraction of the cost of a single Coca-Cola. There was just one problem: getting the drink safely to customers.

The liquid concentrate was packaged in heavy glass bottles that broke easily and leaked during shipping. Determined to find a solution, Perkins began to experiment with a reformulation of his signature product.

Of all places, he drew inspiration from Jell-O.

 

From Liquid To Powder—And Back Again!

As a boy, Perkins had grown up working at his family’s general store in Hendley, Nebraska. He was fascinated with the business and especially prepackaged products that utilized kitchen chemistry. It was like magic.

During high school, Perkins met classmate Kitty Shoemaker, the girl who would eventually become his wife. She introduced him to an innovative, new dessert made with a flavored powder—yep, you guessed it: Jell-O. He was so impressed with the product, that he eventually convinced his father to add it to the store’s catalog.

Fast forward to the late 1920s and Jell-O stood out to Perkins as much more than a fondly remembered date-night treat—it provided an answer. His mission was clear: he needed to find a way to dehydrate his fruit concentrate—so he did. By adjusting the original recipe’s levels of dextrose, citric and tartaric acids, flavoring, and food coloring, Perkins was successful.

Now in powdered form, the drink (yes, in all six of its original flavors) could be packaged in light, brightly colored envelopes and shipped anywhere in the US. But before unveiling his latest invention to the world, Perkins paid homage to his source of inspiration. He rebranded the drink as “Kool-Ade” in 1927 and business exploded.

 

An “Affordable Luxury” Becomes A Household Name

In 1929, Kool-Ade had started to make its way into stores nationwide—and then The Great Depression hit.

Despite the financial woe of the time, families continued to buy the drink over other brands, thanks to the “affordable luxury” of being able to make more of the beverage for less. The secret?

Dramatic price cuts.

Seeing an opportunity, Perkins made the risky decision to slash the cost of the 10-cent packages by half. This made it even easier for consumers to live with the frivolous expense of adding a powdered fruit drink to their already tight grocery budgets—and for Perkins, it paid off.

By 1931, Kool-Ade had discontinued the mail-order line. Instead, they focused wholly on retail distribution from their new Chicago-based operation. Distribution was finally expanded overseas in 1934. “Kool-Ade” became “Kool-Aid,” forever cementing it as a household name.

 

How Kool-Aid Continues To Change What The World Is Drinking

In 1953, Perkins retired and sold the company to General Foods, which later merged with Kraft Foods. It’s only fitting that the same manufacturer that continues to churn out Perkins’ favorite treat (Jell-O) is now also responsible for the care of his coveted beverage invention.

Under this new management, Kool-Aid has continued to innovate in the form of pre-sweetened formulations and new flavors, and paved the way for the emergence of other powdered drink brands like Tang, Country Time, and more.

Today, Kool-Aid comes in 20+ flavors that hit the spot all these years later—though the most popular flavor will likely always be “red.” As beverage trends continue to support innovative twists on nostalgic flavors, there is an opportunity for powdered beverages to experience continued revival, especially in the functional space.

It just goes to show how a great idea, a little innovation, and a dream can change what the world is drinking.

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

 

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Written on August 18, 2021.

How much is a cup of lemonade worth?

While you might be tempted to go by the pricing set by the neighborhood kids and their summer stand, the truth is that lemonade happens to be a much more lucrative business in the commercial beverage world. According to a recent IndustryARC research report, the global market size for lemonade is currently worth a whopping $12 billion, and is projected to continue growth at a CAGR of 6.8% through 2025.

Supported by consumer nostalgia and continued hybridization of beverage categories, brands have gotten a lot more creative with this classic drink over the last few years. That’s right—lemonade isn’t just a combination of lemons, sugar, and water anymore. This childhood favorite has officially grown up.

Here are the 5 biggest trends in lemonade:

1. Classic—But With A Twist…

Sometimes, elevating a classic drink like lemonade only requires swapping out a familiar ingredient to create a fresh take. While the bright flavor of lemon continues to be a staple in the beverage world, consumers are increasingly seeking new citrus profiles and exotic pairings designed to add a little adventure to an otherwise traditional experience.

Substituting lemon with similar exotic profiles like Meyer lemon and yuzu can preserve the appeal of a childhood favorite while catering to a more premium audience. Meanwhile, introducing unique flavors like dragon fruit and prickly pear can complement the sour, bitter profile of the lemon with a subtle sweetness and added complexity.

There is plenty of inspiration to be found across the globe where traditional lemonade takes on many forms. Throughout North America and India, “lemonade” means exactly what you’d expect: a blend of lemon juice, sugar, and water (though the Southern US likes to add basil to the recipe).

Travel to Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan or Brazil and your drink will be served with a flavorful addition of crushed mint leaves. However, if you order a lemonade in England, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand, and you might be in for a bigger surprise. In these countries, “lemonade” refers to a carbonated lemon-lime soda (think Sprite).

The lesson here is that sometimes, sticking with your roots and keeping it simple works best. Spindrift is a great example with a whole brand built on simplicity and quality. Their new line of unsweetened lemonade comes in three flavors—lemon limeade, pink lemonade, and strawberry lemonade—with bubbles to emphasize the drink’s signature freshness.

 

2. Lemonade, Plus Premium Flavor!

We know better than anyone that consumers crave flavor. As the category continues to gain traction, beverage brands are introducing an array of innovative lemonade flavors to delight the tastebuds—and why not? Lemon and sugar tend to pair well with almost anything. Going beyond the staple lemonade flavors of the past, brands are taking the drink to the premium sector with sophisticated new combinations.

A minority-owned brand by teenaged entrepreneur Mikaila Ulmer, Me & The Bees recently launched two new flavors of its flaxseed lemonade at Target and Whole Foods stores around the country: Prickly Pear and Ginger. The flavors, as well as the drink’s organic, clean label formulation have helped dazzle consumers and present a feel-good way to fund organizations working hard to save the bees.

Another wildly successful lemonade brand, Calypso, packages their products in glass bottles and offers nearly 20 flavors in both full sugar and sugar-free versions. Unique flavors include Triple Melon, Cucumber Limeade, and Southern Peach. During the past few years, the brand has expanded internationally and nearly doubled in growth with increased interest in their no sugar options.

Flavor may be king, but texture matters too—and it happens to be a beverage quality that is gaining more attention as of late.

 

3. For Boba Lovers

Boba is a refreshing Taiwanese beverage that features round, chewy balls of tapioca. Also known as bubble tea or milk tea, the drink has quickly become a summer sensation in the US. Even while the industry experiences a shortage of boba balls and the tapioca starch from which they are made, brands are scrambling to deliver consumers their boba fix with lemonade.

Last summer, Del Taco—the nation’s second largest Mexican quick service restaurant—added Sprite Poppers (the lemon-lime soda brand, plus boba balls) to menus for a limited time. In March of this year, they made Poppers permanent, choosing to pair the chewy blueberry and peach-flavored beads with Minute Maid ZeroSugar Lemonade.

Dunkin’ restaurants recently announced their own roll out of “popping bubbles” to their menu. The bubbles, which only come in a strawberry flavor for now, can be added to any iced or frozen Dunkin’ beverage. Thanks to their fruity flavor, they reportedly have been a hit in complementing the chain’s coconut refreshers and lemonade options.

RTD brands have also taken the plunge, churning out novel pre-mixed boba products. Joyba Bubble Tea is an RTD brand featuring two flavors, including a strawberry lemonade green tea with boba, now available at Costco stores nationwide.

The move to pair boba with lemonade not only provides an approachable way for F&B brands to introduce the drink to Western consumers, but also to elevate an otherwise standard experience. This is especially critical as more people develop sensory disorders from chronic COVID. The industry has an opportunity to innovate and create more interesting drinks for sufferers of lost or distorted taste and smell by enhancing beverages with texture.

 

4. Make It Whipped

Boba isn’t the only drink texture consumers seem to be drawn to. TikTok—the app that recently hit a milestone three billion downloads worldwide—can be thanked for giving us the latest trend in lemonade.

Following the hype around the fluffy South Korean dalgona coffee in 2020, TikTok users started experimenting with other forms of whipped drinks, including lemonade. While it is difficult to pinpoint who can be credited for first circulating the viral “creamy lemonade,” there’s no doubt that it has since fascinated consumers who have rushed to try it out.

In an interview with TODAY, user @goldenxclouds said she was first inspired to make a version of the dalgona drink for non-coffee lovers like herself. Using a handheld frother, she combined a packet of pink lemonade-flavored Kool-Aid and heavy whipping cream, using the resulting fluffy mixture as a topping for a regular glass of store-bought lemonade. She described the drink as a “cool sorbet” or “lemonade creamsicle.”

Since then, other variations of the recipe have circulated, though it remains to be seen whether this is an innovation that can be prepared in a ready-to-drink form. A user called @mtlajeunesse shared a version that incorporates ice, whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk, and fresh squeezed lemon juice, blended together to form a creamy, sweet treat. Other takes on the drink use powdered lemonade mixes instead of fresh juice, or add ingredients like egg, coconut milk, fresh fruit, or alcohol—which brings us to our last lemonade concoction.

 

5. Lemonade, But For Adults

When life gives you lemons, add alcohol! Hard lemonade seems to be the next frontier for the hard alternative market. While not new to the beverage alcohol sector, hard lemonade has been getting more attention as big brands seek out additional avenues of differentiation.

A refreshing beverage in its own right, hard lemonade has grown up from the sugary and syrupy concoctions of the past. Modern adaptions of hard lemonade are now much lighter on the palate and waistline, prioritizing flavor and ingredient quality over sweetness.

Big brands like Truly and Bud Light released their collections of hard lemonade and many other beverage companies—big and small—have since followed suit.

The sweet spot in ABV and calories for these products tends to mirror that of hard seltzer, with most hard alternatives clocking in at around 5% ABV and 100 calories per can. Flavors also model many of those popularized by hard seltzer—think black cherry, peach, and mango.

Among the latest ingredient shortages at Starbucks, there’s no doubt that lemonade is trending. As more brands pop up on the market, make sure you’re doing what you can to set your beverage up for success. Like lemonade, the recipe is simple: bold flavors, quality ingredients, a unique twist, and the right beverage development partner.

Have a great idea for a new RTD lemonade? Flavorman’s team of experts can help you bring it to life and change what the world is drinking. Get started by filling out this form or giving us a call at (502) 273-5214.

 

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Written on August 11, 2021.

Take a moment and try to remember everything you threw in the trash this week. Go ahead, try it. Statistics suggest that at least 65 percent of your household’s trash came from packaging. Now factor in your neighbors. Your city. The state. The country.

If you can’t quite do the math on that, don’t worry, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already done it for you. According to the EPA, Americans produce nearly 80 million tons of waste per year in packaging alone—the equivalent of 200 Empire State Buildings.

When landfilled or incinerated, it becomes pollution, waste that poisons the environment—that’s our air, soil, and water—and poses health risks to both people and wildlife. In fact, packaging waste is the number one contributor to plastic pollution in our oceans; at current rates, it’s projected to exceed the weight of all the fish on our planet by 2050.

Unfortunately, the Food & Beverage (F&B) industry is a big part of the problem—but there’s good news to be found here, too. As some of the largest contributors of packaging waste, F&B brands can play a huge role in making a difference; and truth be told, it’s also our responsibility to try.

The sweeping decision for brands to do away with plastic straws in 2018 was just the beginning. Consumer packaging in the beverage world spans everything from the rings around soda cans and bottles to the containers themselves, their labels and closures, as well as any materials by which they are shipped and stored.

Driven by rising consumer awareness of the impact of product packaging on ongoing environmental issues—like food and material waste, pollution, and climate change—sustainability has become a significant motivator for consumer purchase decisions.

Your beverage’s packaging should not only support your drink and business, but also take care to reduce any negative impact on the environment. Smart packaging decisions require thoughtful consideration of the various elements involved in packaging a beverage product as well as the sustainable alternatives that might be available to you.

Here are 3 approaches to achieving more sustainable drink packaging:

1. Choose the most efficiently recycled packaging materials.

Not all packaging materials are created equally. Take plastic for example. While all plastics are not necessarily recyclable, many utilized in the beverage industry can be. Plastics are assigned across seven categories based on their Resin Identification Codes (RIC), distinguished by the temperature at which the material has been heated. This numerical classification can tell you what type of plastic it is you’re dealing with—and whether it’s recyclable.

PET (or polyethylene terephthalate) bottles are clear, strong, lightweight and 100 percent recyclable plastic; however there is a limit to how many times this material can be recycled before degrading substantially in quality—two-to-three times before, to be specific. This happens because every time PET plastic is recycled, its polymer chain grows shorter, and even then, additional “virgin” material needs to be added to make it durable enough to go back into the market. In other words, “recycled” plastic may not actually be completely re-used material.

This is a big reason why other highly recyclable materials are considered much more sustainable drink packaging options. Glass and metal (usually aluminum) can be recycled indefinitely without sacrificing on quality or durability, and without adding additional virgin material.

Again, there’s always a tradeoff: where plastic is lightweight and durable, glass is heavy and delicate, making shipping a challenge. Cans offer a great balance of desirable qualities for drink packaging and sustainability, but there are ongoing supply chain issues that have (at least for now) made it difficult for beverage companies to obtain them reliably.

2. Dedicate some space on your label to educate your consumers.

At this point you should know that the type of packaging materials you pick does matter. The easiest products to recycle are generally those made from a single, recyclable material; of course, the onus still lies with the consumer to actually choose to recycle the product. This is where investing in consumer awareness and education can make an impact.

Brands can help things along by calling attention to the recyclability of their product’s packaging, and by putting in the extra effort to tell consumers exactly how to do it. In fact, it’s in their best interest to do so. According to Chicago-based Mintel’s Global Packaging Trends 2019 report, it is becoming increasingly common for consumers to request the ability to recycle, and they are interested in understanding how the recycling process really works. This is great news for beverage brands serious about making a positive impact.

The Coca-Cola Co. for example recently introduced the standardized labeling system “How2Recycle” across packaging for its DASANI products. The addition—which has also been utilized by other F&B brands such as Walmart, Target, Nestlé, and General Mills—is designed to both educate and encourage consumers to take advantage of the option to recycle a product’s packaging materials after use.

3. Leverage sustainability in your product’s marketing and/or brand.

Why not make environmentalism a pillar your brand is known for? Companies pairing sustainable drink packaging initiatives with thoughtful consumer education and marketing have found great success in generating meaningful change without sacrificing their bottom line.

Boxed Water Is Better was founded in 2009 with a brand identity completely focused on the company’s commitment to sustainability. As the name suggests, their mission is to offer the most environmentally friendly alternative to plastic water bottles on the market.

Their purified, mineral-free water is packaged in a 100-percent recyclable, almost entirely plant-based carton. The packaging also comprises 75 percent FSC-certified paper and 5 percent aluminum with a protective plastic film lining. Even their closure is plant-based.

Not only has the guilt-free box design allowed them to attract eco-conscious consumers to their brand while substantially reducing their carbon footprint, but it has also made shipping more logistically and financially efficient. For every 26 trucks required to ship plastic water bottles, only a single truck is needed to transport the same number of Boxed Water products. Everyone wins.

Whether you choose to utilize one of these approaches or all three, taking steps to provide more sustainable drink packaging should be a priority for any beverage brand—and it doesn’t have to be a detriment to your business! We hope we’ve shown you that you can change the world and change what the world is drinking.

If you’ve got a great drink idea, Flavorman can help you bring it to life! Get started by filling out this webform or by giving us a call at (502) 273-5214.

 

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Written on August 10, 2021.

Louisville-based beverage developer welcomes industry veterans to leadership team

Aug 10, 2021 (Louisville, KY) — Flavorman, a leading beverage development company, today announced that Scott Weddle and Peter Eberle have been named Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO). Effective August 1, the decision comes ahead of the company’s milestone 30th-year anniversary in 2022.

“We are honored to welcome Scott and Peter into their respective roles,” said Flavorman Founder & CEO, David Dafoe. “Flavorman has a 29-year history of successful growth. Following this trajectory, our new COO and CSO will work together to strengthen the company’s existing processes while introducing new procedures and initiatives designed to propel us into the future.”

Formerly Flavorman’s Director of Business Development, Scott Weddle has been with Flavorman since 2010. From production and purchasing to fulfillment and quality, Scott has served in nearly every aspect of the business. As COO, Scott will apply the full spectrum of his beverage development expertise to advancing Flavorman’s operations and contribute a customer-first approach to product innovation, consistency, and quality.

Peter Eberle joins the Flavorman team with an extensive career in successfully leading multimillion-dollar companies through critical growth and development periods. He offers 30 years of specialized experience in the start-up, transformation, and turnaround of businesses in highly competitive markets. As CSO, Peter will employ his diverse skill set in directing Flavorman’s strategic planning initiatives, as well as overseeing key projects in production, logistics, construction, safety, and financing.

“It’s an exciting time for Flavorman,” said Dafoe. “As we approach our 30-year anniversary in 2022, we see this evolutionary period as the perfect moment to celebrate and renew our commitment to our clients and partners in the industry. Under Scott and Peter’s leadership, the Flavorman Team will continue growing in a direction that adds value to our business and fuels our mission to change what the world is drinking.”

For more information, contact our team.

ABOUT FLAVORMAN: 

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 flavorman.com.

Have a great idea for a new beverage? Flavorman’s team of experts can help you bring it to life! Get started by filling out this webform or by giving us a call at (502) 273-5214.

 

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Written on August 4, 2021.

Every two years, athletes from around the globe gather for a chance to compete at the Olympic Games. The best of their class, these athletes train hard in hopes of taking home a gold medal for their country. This year, we’re interested in more than just the incredible skill of those participating in the Tokyo Olympics; as beverage developers, we’re also paying attention to how the world’s best athletes are hydrating their bodies.

When you work out as much as an Olympian, plain water just doesn’t cut it anymore. That’s why most athletes incorporate sports drinks into their regimen. Discover what it takes to fuel a champion, including why the composition of the ingredients matter.

What’s In A Sports Drink?

While it’s true that sports drinks can contain a range of ingredients (think antioxidants, vitamins, and flavor additives), for the most part they are made up of three components: water, electrolytes, and simple carbs. Though it may not sound like much, this trifecta of ingredients is critical to the performance-enhancing functionality of the drink. Here’s why:

Okay—water is pretty self-explanatory. We need water for hydration.

Electrolytes can be a little more complicated to explain… As strange as it sounds, electrolytes are chemical substances that conduct electricity when dissolved in water. We lose electrolytes when we work out or when we’re recovering from an illness (yes, hangovers count too). Consuming drinks high in electrolytes (i.e., sports drinks) can help you get back on track.

Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonates, magnesium, chloride, phosphate, and more. Maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes is essential for normal functioning of the human body. Many of the body’s automatic processes rely on a small electric current to function and electrolytes provide this necessary charge. By interacting with cells and tissues, electrolytes regulate nerve and muscle function, keep your body hydrated, balance blood acidity, and assist in rebuilding damaged tissue.

Still with us? Good. Luckily the last ingredient is likely something you already know…

Simple carbs are essentially just sugars. A staple in sports drinks, simple carbs can come in many forms including raw sugar, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Not only do simple carbs add sweetness and flavor to sports drinks, but they also provide energy and help the body maintain stable blood glucose levels during a workout.

Of course, you can still have too much of a good thing. For one, sugars are not all created equally. Different sugars use different transport mechanisms to pass through the intestinal wall: that means the type of sugars/sugar combinations being consumed (as well as the rate of consumption) will have an impact on the body’s ability to effectively absorb and oxidize those carbs. There are also risks involved in consuming too many electrolytes. If left unchecked, electrolyte imbalances (excess or deficiency) can cause twitching and weakness, or worse symptoms like seizures and heart rhythm disturbances.

These are just some of the reasons why professional athletes don’t just go for any sports drink. Different ratios of ingredients can have huge implications for even the best performers. You can bet that before a sports drink makes its way into the program of any professional athlete, they are meticulously researched.

Why Composition Matters

As functional beverages, sports drinks should be selected based off of their composition to ensure they meet an athlete’s (or consumer’s) specific needs. Based off of the carbohydrate content, sports drinks can be classified into three categories:

  1. Isotonic (6-8% carbs)
  2. Hypotonic (>6% carbs)
  3. Hypertonic (>8% carbs)

Each of these compositions serves a different purpose. Isotonic sports drinks contain a similar amount of carbohydrates and electrolytes as found naturally in the human body. Isotonic sports drinks are designed to restore water, sugars, and salts lost during exercise, while providing the electrolytes and carbohydrates necessary to maintain the body’s glycogen content. This is important for fueling and regulating physical activity, particularly in short-duration, high-intensity exercise involving explosive movements. Most sports drinks on the market fall under the isotonic classification—think Gatorade, Maximus, or Staminade.

Hypotonic sports drinks contain a reduced amount of carbohydrates. Research suggests that hypotonic sports drinks are more easily absorbed by the body than isotonic sports drinks, making them a great option for athletes prioritizing fluid replacement (hydration) over carbs (energy). Hypotonic sports drinks are best used for activity lasting more than an hour, or when a lot of sweat is lost. Examples include Hydralyte Sports, Mizone, and Powerade Zero.

Finally, hypertonic sports drinks are those that contain the highest percentage of carbohydrates. These high-carb drinks increase the rate of water flow into the intestine where nutrients can be absorbed quickly through osmolarity. This provides a swift shot of energy to the system, however, it can also cause dehydration and GI distress—a major reason why these drinks are typically reserved for short duration activity or recovery. Some examples include hydrogels (a carb-rich biopolymer), protein-enriched recovery drinks, and energy drink brands like Lucozade and GU Roctane.

Sports drinks may have been invented as a custom solution for a famous Florida college football team, but today the category serves athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all kinds—yep, even Olympic gold medalists.

If you’ve got an innovative idea for the next sports drink, Flavorman can help you bring it to life! Get started by filling out this webform or by giving us a call at (502) 273-5214.

 

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Yerba Mate: What Is It?

Written on July 28, 2021.

From kickstarting the day to pushing through a tough workout, caffeine is a regular part of our diets; in fact, we consume over 100,000 metric tons of it worldwide each year! While it might seem obvious, most of that caffeine comes from drinks—and we are lucky to enjoy more caffeinated beverage options than ever before.

Despite being around for generations, one caffeinated drink in particular has recently been making its way into the spotlight. If you aren’t already familiar with yerba mate, then you’re sure to be hearing more about it soon. Discover the origins behind this ancient superfood, why it’s so unique, and how innovative beverage brands are using it to change what the world is drinking:

Yerba Mate’s Origins

Yerba mate is made from the leaves and twigs of the Ilex paraguariensis plant, a member of the holly family. Native to the subtropical regions of South America, this herbal remedy has been enjoyed by indigenous cultures like the Guaraní for over a millennium.

With the discovery of the New World in 1492, Spanish colonizers in the Parana-Paraguay system learned of the plant and the native’s practice of consuming it. Unlike cacao and coffee, yerba mate was not a domestic plant when first encountered by Europeans; instead, it was harvested traditionally from wild stands.

In an attempt to cultivate the resource, Jesuit missionaries built up plantations in the 1650s-70s. Agricultural efforts were difficult, though they helped to establish a commercial market for yerba mate throughout the rest of the Spanish Americas. Of course, yerba mate wouldn’t make it to Europe until much later, as the continent was already too focused on crops like tea, cacao, and coffee.

By the 1770s, the drink had become largely a niche product and staple of South America where it eventually became a chief export of Paraguay and surrounding countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. It remained the preferred caffeinated beverage of the region even after coffee and tea were introduced.

 

Drinking Yerba Mate

Consumed at all hours of the day, yerba mate continues its reign as a South American favorite prepared and enjoyed the traditional way—among friends and family.

Yerba mate is drunk from a single hollowed out gourd called a “calabash” or “mate.” This vessel comes in all kinds of shapes and styles, and utilizes another instrument called a “bombilla”—essentially a thick, curved straw with a filter at one end. Any authentic yerba mate requires these tools for proper preparation.

First, a kettle of water is heated—but not boiled! While the water is being arranged, the mate or calabash is filled about two-thirds of the way with “yerba” (the herb). Covering the opening of the gourd, it is shaken gently to bring all the larger leaves and stems to the bottom of the container so as not to clog the bombilla later.

The vessel remains tilted to keep all the herbs to one side, then the bombilla is inserted into the mate, still held at an angle. A little cold water should be added to prevent dust from gathering in the bombilla and prepare the yerba for the infusion, preserving any nutrients that might be neutralized by the addition of hot water.

Finally, hot water (less than 150-degrees Fahrenheit) can be added—but not filled to the top! Now it is ready to drink. This is where the ritual part of this process comes in. The same vessel can be refilled nearly 20 times and is meant to be shared. Here are some best practices to follow, courtesy of Francisco Huanaco of Buenos Aires, Argentina:

  • The person preparing the yerba mate is known as the “cebador/a” and should be the only person who pours fresh water between tastings.
  • The cebador/a should drink the first yerba mate poured.
  • The cebador/a should try to avoid dampening all of the leaves with each pour or the drink will lose its flavor too quickly—this is called “lavado.” It is considered disrespectful to pass someone a “mate lavado.” Always pour near the bombilla for the best result.
  • If you are offered the yerba mate, you must drink all of the liquid inside and then pass the vessel once again to the cebador/a. Always return the mate to the cebador/a!
  • It is okay to add sugar for some extra flavor, but gauge the preferences of your group before doing so. A yerba mate without sugar added is called “amargo,” meaning bitter.
  • When you are finished, rinse out the calabash and bombilla with water only, dry with a cloth, and let rest upside down to ensure no water is left inside to mold.

 

From Ancient Drinking Ritual To Trendy Beverage Ingredient

With a bitter, smokey, and woody flavor, yerba mate has a very distinctive taste that, like coffee, can require adjusting to—but the real draw for consumers is the caffeine. That’s right, there’s a reason why some have referred to the drink as a “productivity hack.”

Boasting an allegedly jitter-free buzz, yerba mate contains about 80mg of caffeine per cup. This amount has been described as a happy medium for consumers looking for a boost, as it contains twice as much caffeine as in black tea, but less than half that of a cup of coffee. You could even call it the Goldilocks of caffeinated beverages!

As a bonus, the beverage is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as beneficial plant compounds like quercetin, theobromine and theophylline. Components of this superfood have been known to reduce risk of cancer and heart disease, decrease the accumulation of fat in the body, and improve blood flow. The health benefits abound.

It helps that the qualities of yerba mate are supported by trends favoring experiential, naturally positioned beverages that deliver on both functionality and flavor. This is a driving force behind why yerba mate has become a beverage favorite in recent months—and beverage developers are finding creative ways to innovate with it. As an energy booster, weight loss supplement, focus aid, and source of digestive support, there are many reasons why beverage developers are exploring the utility of yerba mate as a beverage ingredient.

Dozens of brands have popped up on the shelf and some US consumers have even taken to brewing it up the traditional way at home, as yerba mate leaves are made available at grocery stores across the nation. In recent years, yerba mate has made its way into everything from health elixirs to “clean and natural” energy drinks, even alcoholic seltzer. In May 2021, Coca-Cola’s Honest Tea portfolio rolled out a line of organic yerba mate beverages in three flavors—lemon ginger black tea, strawberry pomegranate matcha, and peach mango green tea.

It’s clear that what was once a niche beverage has officially entered the mainstream. As consumers become more educated about yerba mate, new products containing this special ingredient are sure to emerge. Yours could be next.

Do you have an idea for the next tasty, caffeinated drink? Flavorman can help you make it a reality! Get started by filling out this form or giving us a call at (502) 273-5214.

 

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