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American Born Moonshine Celebrates Second Anniversary

American Born Moonshine celebrated its two-year anniversary with a nod to the past and a push to the future. Founded in 2013 by Patrick Dillingham and Sean Koffel as the lead product of Windy Hill Spirits, American Born Moonshine has expanded its reach to 24 states, while also staking its claim as the fastest growing moonshine brand in the United States, doubling its sales volume over the past year.

“2015 has been an incredible growth year for American Born Moonshine,” says Co-founder Sean Koffel. “We are now available in 25 states across the nation and we have expanded our reach with national marketing campaigns in music and racing as well as local bartender campaigns to help give people the best moonshine experience. We are looking forward to a great rest of the year with more growth on the way for 2016.”

In the past year, Windy Hill Spirits’ first brand has achieved overwhelming success. American Born Moonshine is identified by many as the most authentic and best tasting in the category and is poised to be the category leader. Earlier this year, Windy Hill Spirits kicked off a number of partnerships with large national retail and grocery chains including Kroger’s, Walmart, Safeway, and Albertson’s and expects this to be a significant area of future growth for the brand. In addition, American Born Moonshine has grown geographically and organically over the past 12 months, doubling sales volume and depletions in the same time frame.

“We have seen tremendous positive feedback on American Born Moonshine since we rolled this out in Florida earlier this year,” said Eric G. Pfeil, Vice President of Sales, Premier Beverage Company. “The volume has surpassed our initial expectations and projections. Additionally, the folks from ABM have been very responsive with the market needs, and have provided excellent resources. We are looking forward to continued success with the brand and with Windy Hill Spirits as a whole.”

To celebrate its incredible growth over the past two years, American Born Moonshine will be unveiling a new program called #sharetheshine, which will honor the bartenders, retailers and bootleggers who serve the company’s moonshine this fall and winter. American Born Moonshine will be utilizing the hashtag #sharetheshine to track pictures of bartenders serving these participants and will select the most creative image as a winner every two weeks. The winner will be contacted and will receive an American Born Moonshine crate filled with the best “ABM Moonshine Bootlegger gear.” To participate, people just need to like or follow @AmericanBornMoonshine on Instagram and post their most creative image embodying #sharetheshine. Participants can tag a friend or two they’d like to share the shine with and then hashtag #sharetheshine. Winners will be chosen randomly.

There are three different types of American Born Moonshine – Original, Apple Pie and Dixie:

  • American Born Moonshine Original “White Lighting” is a 103-proof, unaged corn whiskey made from a blend of corn, sugar and water. The recipe is high in corn content yet still embraces the sugar to allow for a smooth finish and remarkable mixability.
  • American Born Moonshine Apple Pie is 83 proof made from a 100 percent corn base with natural apple and cinnamon flavors.
  • American Born Moonshine Dixie is an 83-proof sweet tea-flavored moonshine. Dixie is made from a corn base combined with natural tea flavors.

Patent-Pending Packaging Protects Coffee Flavor


For the first time in the history of coffee, there’s a packaging that will preserve the cold-brewed beverage without refrigeration. Coffee concentrate packaged in a bag-on-valve system is shelf-stable for three years or more and comes out of the can with the same taste and aroma it had when it was freshly brewed, according to BOV Solutions Founder and CEO Paul Hertensen.

“The packaging is specifically designed for today’s cold coffee drinks,” he said. “It looks like an aerosol can, but it’s not aerosol. This is a pure, natural coffee product with nothing added. There are no preservatives. No refrigeration is required.”

BOV Solutions has partnered with the world’s largest coffee-brewing company, which is making the coffee concentrates that are packaged inside the BOV Solutions’ bag-on-valve cans. The coffee concentrate itself is enclosed inside a bag so that it’s in an oxygen-free environment and is never touched by propellants. Then the can is pressurized outside the bag, and that pressure provides the force that propels the coffee concentrate out of the can when the valve is opened. The can is made from 100 percent fully recyclable aluminum, so there’s no landfill impact, and shelf-stability tests have shown no change in the coffee after three years without refrigeration. “The flavor is still there; the aromas, still there. It’s exactly the way it was when it was put into the can,” Hertensen said.

Flavor stays the same because the sealed bag protects the coffee from the oxidation that changes the flavor of coffee as it sits in an open container. “Our coffee tastes the same from the first cup to the last cup with no changes whatsoever,” Hertensen said.

All the consumer has to do to prepare the beverage is to dispense a quarter of an ounce of the coffee concentrate into hot or cold water. “You absolutely need no equipment whatsoever. All you need is hot water or cold water or milk, whatever you use to make your coffee drink,” Hertensen said. The coffee concentrate can also be used as a flavoring ingredient for foods like ice creams or baked goods. “It has no bitterness,” Hertensen added. “All the bitterness has been removed.”

The same technology can also be used to package tea concentrates. At-home preparation for those also requires just the dispensing of a quarter of an ounce of the concentrate into a glass of ice water or a cup of hot water. “Tea is also a cold-brewed process,” Hertensen said. “We get the pure flavor of the tea.”

The technology has patents pending around the world, Hertensen says. “What we actually patented was the ability to put a coffee or tea concentrate into a bag on valve. We also patented putting the bag-on-valve into a dispensing system.”

“This is the most exciting product I’ve ever had my fingers on by far,” he added. “People are dying for us to get it onto the market.”

BOV Solutions’ profits from sales of the coffee and tea packaging will be donated to a new veteran’s organization that’s providing an outdoor recreational retreat area for disabled veterans and first responders. “It’s a good cause. There are organizations helping these veterans get mobile, but there’s no place they can go to enjoy outdoor sports that has equipment modified for them,” Hertensen said. “It’ll be totally free of charge to the veterans. This is drastically needed for those who serve and protect us and have been disabled doing so. It’s a marvelous thing because it will help them feel whole again.”

The recreational facility will also be available to firefighters, police officers and other first responders who have become disabled through the performance of their duty as public servants, Hertensen said. “It’s a great organization.”


FDA Proposes New Rule for Gluten-Free Fermented Foods

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released a proposed rule to establish requirements for fermented and hydrolyzed foods, or foods that contain fermented or hydrolyzed ingredients, and bear the “gluten-free” claim. The proposed rule, titled “Gluten-Free Labeling of Fermented or Hydrolyzed Foods,” pertains to foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, cheese, green olives, vinegar, and FDA regulated beers.

In 2013, the FDA issued the gluten-free final rule, which addressed the uncertainty in interpreting the results of current gluten test methods for fermented and hydrolyzed foods in terms of intact gluten.  Due to this uncertainty, the FDA has issued this proposed rule to provide alternative means for the agency to verify compliance for fermented or hydrolyzed foods labeled “gluten-free” based on records that are made and kept by the manufacturer.

The proposed rule, when finalized, would require these manufacturers to make and keep records demonstrating assurance that:

  • the food meets the requirements of the gluten-free food labeling final rule prior to fermentation or hydrolysis, and
  • the manufacturer has adequately evaluated its process for any potential gluten cross-contact, and
  • where a potential for gluten cross-contact has been identified, the manufacturer has implemented measures to prevent the introduction of gluten into the food during the manufacturing process.

Distilled foods such as distilled vinegars are also included in the proposed rule. Distillation is a purification process that separates volatile components from non-volatile components such as proteins.  Thus, when properly done, gluten should not be present in distilled foods. The proposed rule states that FDA would evaluate compliance of distilled foods by verifying the absence of protein (including gluten) using scientifically valid analytical methods that can detect the presence of protein or protein fragments in the distilled food.

The FDA is accepting public comments beginning Wednesday, November 18. To electronically submit comments to the docket, visit and type docket number “FDA-2014-N-1021” in the search box.

To submit comments to the docket by mail, use the following address. Be sure to include docket number “FDA-2014-N-1021” on each page of your written comments.

Division of Dockets Management
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

American Demand for Organic Food Outstrips U.S. Production


By Lorrie Baumann

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has just released figures that tell us how well organic farmers are doing in the marketplace. The big surprise? While U.S. sales of organic food products broke records this year, the number of acres of farmland devoted to organic agriculture in this country declined between 2008 and 2014. The USDA found 14,540 organic farms in the U.S. in 2008, compared to 14,093 in 2014. The number of acres devoted to organic production declined from just over 4 million in 2008 to 3.67 million in 2014.

The figures come from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, which gathered information on all known certified organic, exempt and transitioning organic farms throughout the U.S. in the first few months of this year. “Exempt” refers to farms that follow national organic standards but have less than $5,000 in annual sales. These farms are allowed to use the term “organic;” they just can’t use the USDA Organic seal. Transitioning farms are those that are converting acreage to organic production but haven’t reached the three-year period under organic management that’s required before produce raised on that acreage can be certified as organic.

While the acreage devoted to organic agriculture in this country has fallen, purchases of organic food have been growing. In the U.S. last year, consumers spent $35.9 billion on organic food, representing 4 percent of total food sales, and an 11 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Organic Trade Association. The majority of American households in all regions of the country now purchase organic food, from 68 to almost 80 percent of households in southern states to nearly 90 percent on the West Coast and in New England, the OTA says.

The total market value of organic agricultural products sold by American farmers in 2014 was $5.5 billion, of which $3.3 billion was for crops, including vegetables, fruit, nuts, grain, hay and soybeans, and $2.2 billion was livestock, poultry and products like milk and eggs. Milk is by far the most important organic livestock and poultry product in the U.S. market.

American farmers have also become global suppliers of fresh organic produce, with more than $550 million worth of organic products exported from the U.S. in 2014, according to an OTA study released in April. The top five organic products exported from the U.S. in 2014 were apples, lettuce, grapes, spinach and strawberries. However, imports of organic product outpaced those exports, amounting to nearly $1.3 billion in 2014. The top five organic imported products are coffee, soybeans, olive oil, bananas and wine. “At the rate that organic is growing, organic will double in size in six years. The current theory that my company is using is that by 2020 we [organic producers] will be at least 10 percent of the U.S. food market. How are we going to do that if we lack the raw materials? We are importing more soybeans than we produce, significantly more than we produce,” said Lynn Clarkson, President of Clarkson Grain.

He noted that in 2013, U.S. imports of organic corn went up by 67 percent, with much of that coming from Romania. India is an important source of the soybeans imported into the U.S., according to Clarkson. “We are turning over our best markets to other countries,” he said. “When you can’t find supply, you go to countries that are organic by default. Until we can tell American farmers that there’s a secure market, we need to convince them that it’s good enough that they can step in…. Every small town has a ‘table of wisdom,’ and many of those tables are extraordinarily adverse to organic farming. With the downturn in corn prices, farmers are starting to pay more attention to the possibility, and that’s making cultural concerns less important as economic concerns grow.”

Also from the USDA report, 10 states account for 78 percent of all organic sales in the U.S. California alone produced $2.2 billion worth of organic products in 2014 from 2,805 certified and exempt organic farms and a total of 687,168 acres devoted to organic production, up from 470,903 in 2008. California farmers accounted for half of all organic crops produced in the U.S. in 2014. Washington, in second place, produced 12 percent of organic crops in the U.S. and totaled up $515 million in organic sales. In order, the top 10 states in organic sales were California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Wisconsin, Texas, New York, Colorado, Michigan and Iowa.

California also leads the nation in organic livestock and poultry sales, with $271 million, or 41 percent of all organic livestock sales in the U.S. and $301 million in livestock and poultry products – milk and eggs. Pennsylvania came in second in livestock and poultry sales with $112 million, or 17 percent of all organic livestock sales. Wisconsin came in second in organic livestock and poultry product sales, with $127 million or 8 percent of the U.S. total.


JSB Industries Partners With, publishers of the Safe Snack Guide – a curated catalog of peanut and tree nut-free foods used by thousands of schools nationwide – has welcomed JSB Industries to its growing partnership of manufacturers.

Muffin Town, the brand founded by JSB in 1978, specializes in the supply of high quality baked products to foodservice & retail companies. Its individually wrapped SunWise SunButter and Jelly Sandwich is manufactured in a peanut and tree nut-free facility and is an exceptional option for people sensitive to these allergens.

“Families coping with food allergies often have difficulties finding foods that are safe to eat, especially in public settings,” says Jack Anderson, President and CEO of JSB Industries. “Our products provide safe, delicious options for families avoiding peanuts and tree nuts, at home and when they’re on the go.’s deep roots in food allergy and school advocacy make them the ideal partner to help us reach out to those families. We’re proud to be featured in their publications.”

“We welcome JSB Industries to our growing partnership of over 50 responsible manufacturers,” says Dave Bloom, CEO of “They’ve committed to providing more complete information regarding the potential for allergen exposure than the FDA requires, and in doing so embrace the needs of those with severe food allergies.”

Joining the partnership is absolutely free, as are listings in the Safe Snack Guide and Allergence, the free allergen screening service. Manufacturers are encouraged to inquire at or call 347.915.4777.

To Meat or Not to Meat

White-tablecloth chefs are beginning to pass the word that they’re interested in moving meat off the center of the plate, and they say that that’s in response to request from their customers who are interested in eating less meat but have no intention whatever of cutting back on flavor. Specialty food producers are hearing those whispers as well, and they’re also responding.

Sweet Earth Natural Foods is producing a line of handheld sandwich options that include no meat but will appeal to consumers who want options for multiple day parts. Think about McDonald’s decision to offer breakfast all day long and the early success of that strategy and about growing acceptance of the burrito as a breakfast option, and you’ll see why this is an idea with legs.

Quorn is a market leader in meat alternatives because it tastes great and even mimics the texture of poultry. Made from mycoprotein, which is derived from a fungus, the taste and mouth feel of the company’s chik’n and turk’y products are winning fans.

While the meat alternatives are offering great options for people who want to cut back on the amount of meat they’re consuming, other consumers are bound to decide that the way they prefer to go is to find meat choices that will give them more satisfaction. For some of those folks, Lone Mountain Wagyu, which won awards in this year’s sofi Awards competition, will be an option to consider. Vermont Smoke & Cure offers another line of meat snacks with great taste that will hit some of the same marks.


Food Innovation Award Finalists Named

Innovations from 19 food and beverage companies have been shortlisted as finalists in the biennial Fi Europe Innovation Awards. Many submissions were received from around the world for innovative ingredients created in 2015, across categories ranging from bakery to dairy and savoury to organic. This year the shortlisted candidates are: AAK, Ingredion, FrieslandCampina Kievit, CHR Hansen, IOI-Loders Croklaan, Avebe, Arla Foods Ingredients, Dutch Spices, Probi AB, Salt of the Earth, Scelta Mushrooms, ADM, Fiberstar,Inc, ENRICO GIOTTI SPA, and Roquette.

Chair of the judging panel, The Healthy Marketing Team President Peter Wenstromm, said it was a duty and a joy to be celebrating the companies who carry the torch for innovation. “In a time when innovation in the food industry is challenged by financial pressure, regulatory barriers and consumer distrust, it is vital that we continue to recognise the efforts of the companies that are still innovating,” he said.

The winners will be announced at Fi Europe in Paris, a trade show dedicated to the food and beverage industry that brings together more than 20,000 industry members every two years.  The Fi Innovation Awards honor professionals and companies for their ability to demonstrate and stimulate innovation in the food industry under nine different categories. There is also an award for the Most Innovative Food Ingredient – the overall winner of the Fi Innovation Awards, as selected by the independent judging panel.

Wenstromm said worthy finalists had been selected in all categories and he was looking forward to announcing the winners in less than a month.  “In the meantime, I am pleased to announce Cargill as the winner of the Best Sustainability Innovation – for their affordable finance for cocoa farmer cooperatives,” he added. “We received an outstanding entry from Cargill, which was head and shoulders above the competition, so the judging panel agreed unanimously to declare them the winner.”

Gelson’s Wins Approval to Purchase Haggen Properties in Southern California

Gelson’s Markets, one of California’s premier supermarket chains, has won final approval to buy six Haggen properties in Southern California. Terms of the agreement were not announced.

Gelson’s successfully bid on the following six Haggen stores across five counties:

  • Los Angeles County: 2627 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica
  • Orange County: 25636 Crown Valley Parkway, Ladera Ranch
  • Riverside County: 36-101 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage
  • San Diego County: 2707 Via De La Valle, Del Mar; 730 Turquoise Street, San Diego
  • Ventura County: 1736 Avenida De Los Arboles, Thousand Oaks

“We’re excited to become part of these communities, a process that may take time in order to customize stores for each neighborhood,” said Gelson’s President & CEO Rob McDougall. “Our goal is to retain as many local Haggen workers as possible while also giving opportunities to existing Gelson’s employees, as well as others who wish to join the Gelson’s family.”

Haggen filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this past September. Gelson’s was selected as Stalking Horse bidder in mid-October and anticipates closing on the stores late this year. Gelson’s plans to relaunch its purchased stores early next year under its own brand with initial improvements to product selection and merchandising, followed several months later by redesign and construction. Existing pharmacies will remain open during the transition. In addition to the newly acquired locations, Gelson’s is on track to open new stores in Rancho Mission Viejo and Manhattan Beach.

McCrea’s Candies Named a 2016 Good Food Awards Finalist

McCrea’s Candies has been selected as a Good Food Awards Finalist. The Boston-based maker of small-batch handcrafted caramel secured its spot in the awards’ Confections Category.

Each year, the Good Food Awards celebrate tasty, real food that is responsibly made, and grants awards to outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients.

In further news, USA Today has recognized McCrea’s in its 10 Best “Best Gift for Foodies” competition. The contest features twenty exceptional products curated by a panel of food and travel experts. Readers of the national newspaper vote for their favorites. McCrea’s currently ranks fourth in the competition.

“We are thrilled that both The Good Food Awards and USA Today have recognized McCrea’s Candies as a company that not only produces exceptional caramel but one that strives to do good at the same time,” said Kate McCrea, the company’s co-founder. “It is important to us that we give back to our communities, pay a fair price for ingredients, and are environmentally responsible. All of which helps us on our mission to make world’s best caramel.”

The recognition from The Good Food Awards and USA Today comes hot on the heels of the company’s placement as a finalist in the Martha Stewart Living American Made Awards. In addition, McCrea’s Candies caramels were awarded the Yankee Magazine Editor’s Choice Food Award in 2014 and named Best New Autumn Product at the 2013 New England Made Specialty Food Show. McCrea’s Candies also received Best Candy honors at the 2012 New England Dessert Showcase.

McCrea’s Candies was founded by husband-wife team Jason and Kate McCrea. Building upon backgrounds in biology and chemistry, the McCrea’s transitioned into the sweet science of candy making after double layoffs. Started in a home kitchen, McCrea’s Candies now offers a full line of mouthwatering caramels to retail outlets throughout North America.

The hallmark of the McCrea’s Candies line is its use of striking seasonings to produce provocatively-flavored caramel candies. McCrea’s flagship product features Hawaiian black lava sea salt swirled into caramel to provide a salty-sweet mouthful. Basil and cayenne are combined for a heat and sweet treat. Additional flavor combinations include ginger fusion, curried butternut, and rosemary truffle sea salt. McCrea’s also offers such classic flavors as vanilla, scotch, chocolate, maple, mocha, and coffee.



FDA Releases Foreign Supplier Verification Program Final Rule

 On November 13, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its final rule for Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) for Food for Humans and Animals. This rule is part of FDA’s implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  Most importers will be required to comply with FDA’s FSVP rule in May 2017 (18 months after publication).

FDA defines an FSVP as a program that verifies “that [importers'] foreign suppliers are producing food in a manner that provides the same level of public health protection as the preventive controls or produce safety regulations, as appropriate, and to ensure that the supplier’s food is not adulterated and is not misbranded with respect to allergen labeling.”  The FSVP rule covers importers of food and beverages, which FDA defines as “the U.S. owner or consignee of a food offered for import into the United States.” If there is no U.S. owner or consignee, the exporter’s U.S. agent is the importer.

Importers must create an FSVP for each food imported from each foreign supplier.  If they import the same food from two different suppliers, that will require two FSVPs.  One element of an FSVP is a hazard analysis.  Importers must determine potential biological, chemical, and physical hazards posed by each food they import.

Importers must also evaluate the performance of each of their foreign suppliers and use that evaluation to approve suppliers.  This includes evaluating each supplier’s history of compliance with FDA food safety regulations, “including whether the foreign supplier is the subject of an FDA warning letter or import alert.”  Importers should only import from approved foreign suppliers.

For approved foreign suppliers, importers must determine appropriate supplier verification activities, conduct those activities, and conduct corrective actions.  Examples of verification activities may include annual on-site audits of a supplier’s facility, sampling and testing, and review of a supplier’s food safety records.  Importers should choose verification activities that appropriately fit the risks of each supplier. Importers may designate a third party to conduct a hazard analysis, a supplier risk evaluation, or to perform verification activities on their behalf.

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