ITO EN is launching a lineup of new ice-steeped cold brew ready-to-drink teas across two award-winning beverage brands, matcha LOVE® and TEAS’ TEA® Organic. Each new beverage leverages authentic Japanese cold brew processes, ice-steeping the tea to bring out the smooth, naturally mellow sweetness of green and black teas. The new teas will begin shipping to retailers in May.
“Consumer demand for cold brew beverages is at an all-time high, and we believe the launch of our new matcha LOVE and TEAS’ TEA Organic Cold Brew teas will help us establish a new segment in the RTD tea category,” said Rona Tison, Senior Vice President of ITO EN (North America) INC. “Given ITO EN’s deep-rooted expertise in Japanese cold brew methods called Mizudashi, we feel there’s an enormous opportunity for us to take the leadership role for this innovative set. We’ve elevated the simple essence of our tea leaves and created a more delicate taste with a smooth, clean finish.”
ITO EN’s new cold brew creations provide an entirely new spin on conventional green and black teas. Ice-steeping the high-quality, premium tea leaves draws out a more nuanced, smooth taste that is refreshingly delicious. Product details include:
Matcha LOVE and TEAS’ TEA Organic are currently available at natural food stores and specialty supermarkets nationwide, to include Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, Wegmans and The Fresh Market. Products are also available at ITO EN brand retail stores and online at Amazon.com. For more information on the brands, visit matcha LOVE at www.matchalove.com and TEAS’ TEA Organic at www.teastea.com.
Beetology is a new line of delicious, organic, cold pressed juices from Kayco, and it’s offering the “clean” attributes health-conscious shoppers demand along with an amazingly delicious, crisp, and refreshing taste.
According to Charles Herzog, Chief Beetologist and Vice President of New Business Development at Kayco, “The movement toward simple, easy-to-understand healthy ingredients is now in the mainstream. Beetology beverages contain no more than five ingredients – nothing but organic, natural, cold-pressed juice. We’re especially proud of their pure, farm-to-table pedigree. You can taste the difference with our juices-we use only the best of the best in order to offer perfectly crafted blends for a crisp and uniquely flavorful difference in every sip.”
All five varieties are 100 percent non-GMO, USDA-certified organic, and certified fair trade. The 100 percent juice blends contain no preservatives, additives, artificial colors, or flavors. They are also non-soy, non-dairy, and certified kosher, making them perfect for anyone, any time.
As for those who balk at beets, Kayco says the trend is here to stay. “Beetology is out to prove just how sweet and tasty this misunderstood root vegetable is,” Herzog said. “We travel the world to find the best tasting beets, because we think that beet juice will be the next big craze since pomegranates.”
The myriad benefits of beets are well-documented. Dense in nutrients and high in antioxidants, they’re great for the heart, brain, and blood pressure. They help boost energy, aid in weight loss, support cleansing and detoxing, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Best of all is the way beets harmonize with other natural juices. Every perfectly-crafted Beetology blend packs a delicious punch that’s refreshing, nuanced, and not too sweet. Varieties include Beet + Lemon + Ginger, Beet + Veggie, Beet + Tropical Fruit, Beet + Berry, and Beet + Cherry.
Refrigerated and merchandised inside the refrigerator, every bottle of Beetology is fresh and ready to grab and go. The new drink is distributed exclusively by New Jersey-based Kayco and will be available this spring at health food, specialty, grocery and kosher food markets .
Beetology is packaged and shipped in six 8-ounce bottles per case and retails for about $3.99 per bottle. Kayco, also known as Kedem, is headquartered in Bayonne, New Jersey, and is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of kosher food products.
Wicked Joe Organic Coffees, the family-owned, 100 percent organic certified, Fair Trade™ coffee roastery known for its single origin varietals and blends such as “Wicked French,” has rolled out new packaging after more than 12 years in business.
The Wicked Joe product line – available at retail stores all over New England and in more than 1,500 grocery retailers nationwide as well as online – previously featured a black bag with a red and green coffee cup logo. Wicked Joe Organic Coffees now sports a cleaner, more modern look, including black and chrome brand elements and an array of accent colors indicating the individual blend, flavor or bean’s origin.
The company has grown and refined its operations significantly over the last decade, including increasing sales by 25 percent and growing capacity by 67 percent in 2016 alone. Owners Bob and Carmen Garver wanted a design that would more accurately reflect the roastery’s progress and focus on quality and professionalism.
“We are very excited about where we are with the business right now, and we think a fresh new look captures that feeling,” said Carmen Garver. “We worked collaboratively with our staff and explored many possibilities, and ultimately we wanted to communicate a vintage feel that could translate in today’s market.”
The colorful, lively nature of the new bags aims to stand out on retail shelves among dozens of competitors. Along with their ever-growing team of coffee experts, the Garvers have spent more than two decades – long before the Maine roastery opened – traveling the world in search of the highest quality coffee bean. From the beginning, the company has had a razor-sharp focus on quality, in addition to a commitment to community, farmers and the cooperative partners at bean origin.
“We are constantly evolving,” added Bob Garver. “Our close relationships with the farmers that grow our beans provide so many opportunities for sustainable business practices, education and above all else, inspiration for the next cup of joe.”
Wicked Joe’s new packaging is available in stores now. Visit www.wickedjoe.com for more information.
Talking Rain Beverage Company®, the maker of Sparkling Ice® flavored sparkling waters, has been recognized as a winner in the U.K. by the country’s largest consumer-driven award for product innovation, Product of the Year. Nearly 12,000 U.K. households responded to the survey designed to identify the top CPG products on the market, naming Sparkling Ice the winner in the “No Added Sugar” Drinks category.
Following the brand’s expansion to the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2016, Sparkling Ice has seen significant success in the marketplace, with presence in more than 15,000 stores. First year sales success has shown that the beverage market in the U.K. and Ireland present a wealth of opportunity as consumers shift away from full-calorie CSDs to healthier alternatives like Sparkling Ice.
“Since our launch in the U.K. and Ireland this past spring, we have been energized by the excitement surrounding our brand,” said Kevin Klock, President and CEO of Talking Rain Beverage Co. “This award is a special honor as it has been voted on by the U.K. consumer, and we are proud to offer a beverage free of added sugar, that delivers the bold flavor, fizz and refreshment that the marketplace demands.”
Having hit shelves in April 2016 at major grocery and drug store retailers, Sparkling Ice is now available in four flavors in the UK and Ireland: Black Raspberry, Orange Mango, Peach Nectarine, and most recently, Strawberry Kiwi.
Kantar TNS, one of the world’s leading research agencies conducted the research, offering an industry sector understanding and collating the survey from more than 11,600 people in the UK and Ireland.
For more information about Sparkling Ice, visit www.sparklingice.com.
Artisan winery La Crema has promoted Craig McAllister to the position of Head Winemaker. McAllister, who first joined the winery as the harvest enologist in 2007, has been a passionate steward of La Crema’s Monterey program and played a vital role in elevating the winery’s Sonoma Coast portfolio throughout his tenure. In addition, he has helped to further develop the winery’s collection of single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. In his new role, McAllister, who has most recently served as associate winemaker, will gain increased responsibility for the oversight of all winemaking operations.
“Craig’s long tenure with La Crema and passion for cool-climate winemaking make him a natural fit,” said Mitch Davis, Senior Vice President of Production for Jackson Family Wines. “In particular, his expertise on the Central Coast, in the Monterey appellation, a region in which we see tremendous potential for La Crema, coupled with his skill, experience and passion, will continue to enhance the strength of the La Crema winemaking team.”
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to hand the helm of La Crema over to Craig,” said Elizabeth Grant-Douglas, the company’s most recent winemaker. “He has been my partner and right hand at La Crema for so many years and has the passion and commitment to take La Crema to the next level,” she added.
A New Zealand native, McAllister earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. His deep passion for winemaking has taken him all over the world, from New Zealand to Australia, Chile and Cyprus. Since moving to California, McAllister has also made wine for Wild Ridge, crafting elegant Pinot Noir from vineyards on the rugged Sonoma Coast. In his expanded role, McAllister will continue to build La Crema’s portfolio, ranging from coastal regions as far north as the Willamette Valley, Oregon to as far south as Arroyo Seco, California, with a particular focus on raising the profile of the winery’s Monterey series, which includes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and a soon-to-be-released Rosé of Pinot Noir. Previously only producing small batches of Rosé, La Crema will be releasing its first nationally-distributed bottling this spring.
“This is a dream job for a winemaker who enjoys the challenges and rewards of producing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from cool-climate regions,” said McAllister. “I am thrilled to be a part of this this special team and look forward to carrying on the legacy that has been entrusted to me by continuing to produce the stylistically elegant wines for which La Crema is known, while elevating the winery to new levels of success.”
For more information regarding La Crema, visit www.lacrema.com.
Sugarlands Distilling Company has announced Hazelnut Rum as the newest addition to its award-winning line of spirits. The east Tennessee distillery partnered with distilling legends Mark Ramsey and Digger Manes from the hit series “Moonshiners” to develop the spirit.
Hazelnut Rum meets the nose with sweet aromas of toasted hazelnut and brown sugar. It is a smooth, full bodied spirit that blends the tastes of vanilla, cinnamon and honey. At 80 proof, this brown spirit finishes with a sweet, oaky kick.
“Our Hazelnut rum really became a labor of love, mainly because our wives became the first big fans of it,” said Manes. “Because of them, we were determined to make it better than any other homemade liquor that anyone had ever tasted.”
Mark and Digger created hazelnut rum while filming for the Discovery Channel program. The duo combined real hazelnuts and rum in their backwoods still to create a one-of-a-kind flavored spirit.
“In the words of our mentor Popcorn Sutton, ‘this is some of the finest liquors that’s ever been,'” said Ramsey. “Now it is our pleasure to share it with the rest of the world. We’re really humbled that folks are eager to try it.”
By Lorrie Baumann
Davidson’s Organics celebrates its 40th anniversary with rebranded packaging, a new line of tea jellies and a new line of specialty tea chocolates.
“Consumers today live very busy lifestyles. They’re looking for simplicity, value and health benefits – all in a simple format,” said Kunall Patel, Davidson’s Organics Owner and Director. “Our new package design meets all those needs while providing a very visual, trendy and high-profile look.”
While Davidson’s Organics has been in business since 1976, Patel and his family bought the brand in 2007 after the company, which had been growing organic teas in India since the 1920s, decided to vertically integrate by acquiring a business active in the North American market. Today, the same farmer cooperative of third-generation tea growers grows the tea leaves in India, and Davidson’s Organics imports them to its plant in Sparks, Nevada, where the teas are blended, manufactured, packaged and shipped to retailers.
“We’re the only tea company today that’s 100 percent vertically integrated from farm to cup,” Patel said. “This is different from the majority of other operations who outsource sourcing, blending, manufacturing and distribution. We do everything under one roof.”
The company currently offers about 300 flavors of USDA-certified organic and kosher-certified tea – the largest product range of organic teas on the market. They include 11 distinct product categories: black, green and white teas; dessert teas that mimic the flavor profiles of classic desserts without the calories; honey teas that contain real organic honey inside the teabag that dissolves out into the cup as it’s infused; tulsi “holy basil” teas; rooibos-based red teas; holiday teas inspired by the season but available year-round; decaffeinated teas, chai; and traditional favorites – the Darjeeling, Ceylon and Irish Breakfast teas. They’re available in tea bags, as loose leaf tea and as brew bags designed for iced tea.
“The brand’s new packaging is designed to stand out on the shelf and portray the products’ clean-label health benefits, company story, key certifications and simple ingredients that are easily and quickly assimilated to influence buying decisions,” Patel said. “The consumer has very little time to analyze a product,” he said. “To engender loyalty you need something more than just price.”
The celebration continues with a new line of tea jellies, the first of their kind on the market. The tea jellies are made by infusing real tea leaves, grown by the farmer cooperative of third-generation tea farmers in the Darjeeling region of India who grow the company’s other tea products. Pectin and cane sugar are then added to make the jelly. The jellies come in four flavors that reflect the four best-selling Davidson’s Organics teas: Earl Grey, White Pomegranate, Classic Chai and Coconut Vanilla.
“The jellies reflect the true flavors of the tea blend,” Patel said. “There are a lot of jellies out there. There’s no other real tea jelly that’s made out of infused organic tea.”
The Earl Grey Tea Jelly pairs very well with meat or cheeses, according to Patel. “It’s a wonderful addition to any backyard barbecue or dinner,” he said. “It makes a perfect combination of salty and sweet at the same time.” Consumers would use the Chai Tea Jelly as they might use a pumpkin butter in a holiday feast – as a complement to bread or cheeses. White Pomegranate Tea Jelly is a tart and fruity spread that pairs well in spring-time treats, and the Coconut Vanilla Tea Jelly is perfect as an addition to scones or croissants.
Following along with the thought that tea need not be just for drinking, Davidson’s Organics is also introducing a new line of specialty tea chocolates made with certified organic dark cacao chocolate sprinkled with loose leaf tea, molded into bars, and then sprinkled with more tea. The chocolate comes from a cooperative of 400 third-generation cacao farmers from the Esmeraldas region of Ecuador.
“It’s a perfect marriage and celebration of three generations of organic agriculture,” Patel said. He noted that although there are cultural differences between the two groups of farmers – the tea growers in India and the cacao growers in Ecuador —the partnership has benefited from a shared respect for each other’s agricultural tradition.
The 70g bars are 65 percent dark chocolate in three flavors: Earl Grey Lavender, Classic Chai and Coconut Vanilla. They retail for about $6.99.
Meijer began carrying its first craft brew more than 20 years ago. Today, Meijer remains committed to the growing industry and the up-and-coming local breweries across the Midwest.
The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer’s commitment to local craft breweries represents an annual economic impact of more than $100 million across the Midwest. Meijer expects to stay on par with its projected double-digit volume growth in craft beer sales, as the retailer has experienced over the past three years. With respect to Michigan-based craft beer alone, Meijer reports it has seen a 20 percent increase across its six-state footprint so far this year, said Rich O’Keefe, Meijer Senior Buyer, during a recent exclusive roundtable gathering of some of the best craft beer breweries in southeast Michigan.
“We attribute this growth to establishing a great dialogue with craft beer breweries throughout Michigan and cultivating their popularity across our retail foot print,” said O’Keefe at Atwater Brewery in Detroit. “The consumer response has been tremendous. It proves that the thirst for Michigan craft beer is apparent throughout our retail markets. We are proud of the great products Michigan-based breweries produce and look forward to expanding the availability and building the popularity of other great regional breweries.”
Meijer gathered together several Detroit and Michigan-based brewery owners and founders at Atwater Brewery to discuss product trends and the state of the local craft beer industry. The event kicked off local in-store tasting events with area craft “brewlebrities” on site at select Meijer stores.
Joe Short: Founder/Owner of Short’s Brewing Company
Mark Reith: Owner of Atwater Brewery
Eric Briggeman: Vice President/General Manager of Rochester Mills Brewery
Kyle VanDeventer: Sales Manager of Griffin Claw
John Leone: Owner/President of ROAK Brewing Company
Tony Grant: Owner of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, North Peak Brewing Company and Northern United Brewing Company
Chase Kushak: Co-Founder/CEO of Founders Brewing Company
Matt Moberly: Director of Business Insights of Bells Brewery
“The concept of craft beer – especially in Detroit – has grown quickly from a garage hobby to a viable economic engine for Detroit and Michigan,” said Peter Whitsett, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing for Meijer. “We are proud to celebrate the craft masters who drove this industry to where it is today in Detroit. Their commitment to quality and craftsmanship is fueling demand for craft beer in and around Detroit.”
Meijer began carrying its first craft brew – Bell’s Oberon – 20 years ago at a single Kalamazoo store, and today sells more than 550 different craft beers from 220 local breweries across the retailer’s six-state footprint. Of those, 40 are produced by Detroit or southeast Michigan breweries. Meijer continues to partner with local craft brewers to expand their distribution. In fact, Michigan craft beer sales account for 31 percent of the retailer’s craft beer sales and 10 percent of the retailer’s total beer sales.
“Being in the same room with this group of craft brewlebrities – knowing their histories and the how far they’ve come is truly amazing,” said Shannon Long, Producer and Co-host of “Pure Brews America,” who moderated the roundtable discussion. “I think what makes them great is that they are focused on their core and not the next hot thing. They don’t need to follow a trend because they are the trend. “
For nearly 50 years, the Celestial Seasonings® brand has brought the magic of tea to people around the world with its unique packaging. Celestial Seasonings is now returning to its iconic artful packaging in response to consumer demand. Celestial Seasonings is also launching five new flavors and re-releasing a fan favorite.
“Last fall, we introduced refreshed packaging intended to modernize our look while maintaining our Celestial Seasonings heritage. Our passionate fans made it clear that our refreshed look was missing some of that special Celestial Seasonings magic,” said Irwin D. Simon, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hain Celestial. “We’ve listened to our consumers and are excited to return to our classic, imaginative package design they feel passionate about, which has made Celestial Seasonings the leading specialty tea brand since 1969 and a key part of the Hain Celestial portfolio since 2000.”
In addition to reintroducing the iconic classic packaging, Celestial Seasonings has launched five delicious new varieties to its herbal and green tea portfolios. The new flavors include:
Also due to consumer demand, the brand is re-releasing its popular Almond Sunset™ Herbal Tea. Available exclusively online, this treasured Celestial Seasonings tea is a toasty blend of roasted carob and barley enhanced with rich and mellow almond flavor, orange peel and a hint of sweet cinnamon. This beloved tea and the five new varieties are now shipping.
What originally began as a homebrew quest to develop an herbal beer instead led to the birth of Top Note Tonics. Mary Pellettieri, a chemist, botanist and craft beer veteran who spent a number of years in product development at Goose Island Brewery, was experimenting with botanicals when she produced an herbal concentrate that intrigued her. It was a flavor profile that paired bitter, sour and sweet and was reminiscent of the curative tonics used in Europe in the early 1800s.
Over the course of several years, Pellettieri and her partner, Noah Swanson, refined her original recipe and in 2014 debuted Top Note Tonics – a classic line of complex herbal concentrates that create an amaro soft beverage or sophisticated hard drink when mixed with seltzer water and spirits.
“There’s a certain elegance to assembling a cocktail that’s purposely built with refreshing flavors and not overpowered by sweet. Top Note Tonics are simple to use and provide flavor complexity without extra steps,” says Pellettieri.
The tonics are available in five concentrates – Bitter Orange, Bitter Lemon, Gentian Lime, Indian Tonic and Ginger Beer. Each is made from carefully sourced whole roots, barks, fruits, herbs, spices and real cane sugar. No artificial colors or preservatives are used and all varieties are gluten free, made with non-GMO ingredients and contain half the sugar of standard mixers.
Top Note Tonics are available in 10- and 25-ounce bottles. They retail for approximately $10 and $22 and can be purchased online attopnotetonic.com and Amazon or at select grocery and spirit stores.