Lore

Written on June 24, 2022.

Gay Bars

In celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, we want to spotlight one of the community’s most significant cornerstones: the gay bar. Not only have gay bars historically served as an establishment where LGBTQ people can be safe to be themselves, but they have also been used to build culture and civil rights for the queer community. As a beverage formulation company, it is inspiring to know that an establishment for beverages can serve a vital role in the history of civil rights. We want to highlight how and why gay bars play a massive role in LGBTQ nightlife and the liberation of the LGBTQ community.

Establishment

In the early 1900s, clubs specifically for LGBTQ gatherings were primarily located in small “bohemian” or counterculture communities in places like New Orleans’ French Quarter, New York’s Greenwich Village, and San Francisco’s Barbary coast before the first world war. Many were small and low-key establishments, as not to draw too much attention to themselves and avoid discrimination. After the first world war, gay bars began to fade into the background due to a new public perception of homosexuality and cross-dressing as a mental disorder. It wasn’t until 1948 when Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a biologist, and professor who founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, developed a “Heterosexual–Homosexual Rating Scale” (the “Kinsey Scale”) that homosexual attraction was scientifically established as a natural human phenomenon. Gay bars began to flourish across the United States.

World War II was especially a turning point, as more women joined the workforce and closeted gay men returned from the war. Despite how many gay bars there were at this time, they were forced to stay somewhat discreet. For many people with same-sex attraction and transgender or gender non-conforming individuals, gay bars were a safe space for both closeted and “out” people to be themselves, find romantic partners, and seek community.

Struggles

Despite many scientific studies and academic research proving homosexuality as natural human behavior, LGBTQ establishments still face discrimination on all fronts. During the ’50s, Joseph McCarthy, a Republican US Senator, ignited the “Lavender” scare, which alienated gay people as “enemies of the nation.” Due to this scare, many gay bars were investigated by police and, in some cases, raided by undercover cops. This caused many to attempt to rid themselves of a police presence by aligning with criminals for added security. Eventually, tensions peaked, and many gay bars began defending themselves. One of the most notable historical events in these episodes of raids was the Stonewall Inn riots in 1969 San Francisco. The riots lasted six days and sparked people with same-sex attraction and transgender or gender non-conforming individuals to fight back against the police. During the Stonewall Inn riots and other bar raids, many people targeted were trans women. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are two trans women of color credited as significant figures during the riots at Stonewall. The publicity and attention that the Stonewall riots received was the beginning of the major gay and lesbian liberation movements that helped establish LGBTQ rights within the United States today.

Acknowledgment

Gay bars have endured many struggles and have stood the test of time with riots and the HIV/AIDs epidemic of the ‘80s. Gay bars may be considered less essential to the LGBTQ community now, as society has become more accepting, and the community has more options regarding where they can socialize. However, now, especially during pride month, the gay bar remains a respected establishment and monument of LGBTQ history for being a beacon of hope for an oppressed group of people. While most beverage establishments are merely seen as a place for social events and leisure, we proudly acknowledge how essential bars are to the LGBTQ community.

 

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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 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 www.flavorman.com

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 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 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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Written on July 21, 2021.

If you were asked to name a soft drink, odds are a Coke or Pepsi might come the most readily to mind—but what about orange soda brands? As the soft drinks category innovates and gains traction, we’re exploring the origins of this zesty beverage, the world’s top brands, and how orange soda continues to change what the world is drinking.

The World’s First Orange Soda

The “original orange soda”—Orange Crush—was created in 1906 by Chicago’s J.M. Thompson; however, the commercial formula wouldn’t take off until 1911, when California-born beverage chemist Neil C. Ward perfected the blending process. It was this innovation that would ultimately bring the “zesty, all-natural orange flavor” of Orange Crush to the masses.

Soon after upgrading the initial formula, Ward joined forces with Clayton J. Howel and founded the Orange Crush Company in 1916. A beverage innovator himself, Howel brought his expertise from developing “Howel’s Orange Julep” (an orange syrup) to the partnership. As the inventor of the improved Orange Crush, Ward received the honor of having his name featured on the bottle—a common practice for early soft drink brands. The “crush” part of “Ward’s Orange Crush” was kept in the name to refer to the process of extracting oils from orange skins to achieve the drink’s signature flavor.

At the time, orange pulp—without the juice—was added to the recipe, and in 1921, real juice was finally introduced. Nearly a decade later, the decision was made to remove the real orange juice and pulp and instead utilize more shelf-stable flavor compounds to achieve the same great taste.

Within only a few years, Crush became so successful in the US market that the company expanded distribution to Canada. Two new flavors, lemon and lime, were introduced to the brand in 1919 and 1920, respectively, paving the way for a flood of additional flavors to emerge in the coming years.

Flavors like chocolate, blue raspberry, banana, and even red licorice have all been a part of the Crush portfolio; however, Crush now focuses on promoting staple flavors like grape, strawberry, and cherry alongside its signature orange. While still popular in Canada and other parts of the world, Crush, owned by Keurig Dr Pepper has become a smaller scale offering in the US market.

In general, orange soda seems to be more of a favorite abroad. But truth be told, there is another brand consumers tend to gravitate towards—and it has a much more tumultuous origin story.

 

“Another Man’s Trash” Becomes… A German Soft Drink?

We can’t talk about orange soda without also talking about Fanta. While Crush may have been the first, Fanta holds the title as the world’s favorite—and it owes it all to Max Keith.

If “necessity is the mother of invention” then Max Keith must be the father. As the head of Coca-Cola’s German operation in the 1930s, Keith brought prosperity to the formerly struggling branch; in fact, at the time, the Coca-Cola business in Germany was one of the world’s most successful, second only to the company’s sales in the US. Everything changed with the beginning of World War II.

In 1939, Coca-Cola had 43 bottling plants and over 600 local distributors across Germany—but with the outbreak of the war, there was no way to get the ingredients needed from the US to make Coca-Cola products. Enter, Fanta.

Keith was determined to continue business as usual, despite not being able to have any contact with the Atlanta-based headquarters. The company needed a product to sell, so he created one—an exclusively German soft drink. Utilizing the leftovers from other food industries (like fruit pulp and cheese whey) plus saccharin for sweetness, Keith created a pale golden soft drink and called it “Fanta” after the German word “fantasie.”

The drink was a hit and quickly became a household staple; especially when food shortages prompted German families to adopt Fanta as a base for soups and stews. At the end of the war, international business could resume. Despite being a profitable enterprise in Germany, production of Fanta was stopped and replaced once again by regular Coca-Cola. That was the end of the Fanta brand—at least for a little while.

 

How A WWII Soft Drink Became A Global Favorite

Fast forward to the 1950’s. Competitor Pepsi had started rolling out a variety of new drink flavors, while Coca-Cola’s business remained focused on selling their single, iconic product. In an effort to better compete, Coca-Cola revisited the Fanta brand and reformulated the recipe for the European market. In 1955, the new Fanta was released in Naples, Italy, using local citrus to achieve a bright and juicy orange flavor. Modern versions of Fanta Orange have since evolved from this recipe.

The drink quickly became a hit across Europe, but executives were cautious about releasing the new product in the US. Fearing that it would cannibalize sales of their signature product, Coca-Cola eventually chose to roll out Fanta Orange to the US market in the 1960s. But with little support (and marketing dollars) the US release was less successful.

Fanta Orange continued to reap slow sales in the US until the mid-1980s when Coca-Cola made the decision to pull the plug on nationwide distribution. Finding a niche consumer group for the product, the company allowed the product to remain available in regions with large immigrant populations who would be familiar with it.

In 2001, Coca-Cola gave it another shot. Fanta Orange went national in the US again, and this time, the roll out was supported by a much more aggressive marketing campaign. Moving up from its previously negligible sales volume in the early 90s, Fanta is now among the top 10 soft drinks in the US—and the world. Over the last decade, Fanta has achieved a US market share of just under 3% in 2019 and in 2020, it became the only orange soda brand to make it onto Statista’s list of the “Most Valuable Soft Drink Brands Worldwide.”

With more than 90 flavors available worldwide, it’s evident that Fanta really shines in the international space—of course, the most popular flavor will likely always be orange. As beverage trends continue to support nostalgic flavors as well as profiles that provide freshness and perceived sweetness, there is an opportunity for orange soda to experience continued revival. Bubbly, juicy, bright, and sweet—orange soda is a beverage classic that dazzles the taste buds and continues to change what the world is drinking.

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

 

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Whether you gulp it down by the glass or simply enjoy a splash of it in your breakfast cereal, milk has been a staple in homes around the globe for generations. Now, that seems to be changing. Evidenced by several decades of declining milk sales, consumers seem to be turning their backs on dairy, opting instead for trendy “alternative milk” products made from plants. The latest craze? Oat milk.

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Written on May 12, 2021.

When you hear the word “brunch,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It’s likely a tall, fluted glass of sparkling orange liquid. That’s right, we’re talking about the Mimosa.

Ahead of National Mimosa Day this May 16, we’re exploring the origins of this boozy breakfast treat, its fast rise to fame, and how it changed what the world is drinking. Pop that cork and grab an omelet—let’s tuck in for a little cocktail history:

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