A Spark of Altruism
Firefighter Beverages LLC, Norwalk, Conn., is one of two new companies started by some entrepreneurial firefighters and former food and beverage company executives. While Firefighter Beverages and its sister company Firefighter Brands are for-profit organizations, they plan to donate 25 percent of their annual net profits to firefighter-related groups and causes with an eye toward providing otherwise unfunded, but essential firefighter equipment. Notables lending their expertise to the venture include: John Bello, founder of SoBe Beverages; Graham West, a veteran of Ocean Spray; and Bruce Burke, formerly of the National Football League’s advertising and design division.
The new food and beverage product line debuted in June to the Florida Professional Firefighters convention in Alamonte Springs, Fla. Distribution agreements are still in negotiation, but if all goes well, the sodas, chips and chilis should be on Florida supermarket shelves this summer. The firefighter-themed sodas are Courageous Cola, Firelight Diet Cola, Backdraft Root Beer and Incendiary Citrus.
Alizé has the blues
New York-based importer Kobrand Corp. is adding Alizé Bleu to its portfolio of liqueurs. Alizé Bleu is an opaque blue beverage made from a blend of French vodka and Cognac. The blue-hued liqueur is 20 percent alcohol by volume and is produced and bottled by L.&L. S.A., Cognac, France. Alizé is available nationally in 200-ml., 375-ml., 750-ml. and 1-liter sizes. Pricing ranges from $7.99 to $21.99.
Alizé Bleu
Kobrand Corp., New York
Telephone: 212/490-3300
Internet: Kobrandwine.com
Distribution: National
Scotching the countryside
Allied Domecq announced it is launching a series of its Scotch malt whisky brands in the United States. The Scotch Malts Portfolio will include Laphroaig from Islay; Tormore 12-Year-Old from Speyside; Scapa from the Orkney Isles and Glendronach from the Highlands.
Scotch Malts Portfolio
Alllied Domecq Spirits, North America, Westport, Conn.
Telephone: 203/221-5400
Internet: Allieddomecqplc.com
Distribution: National
Carb-less tea
Capitalizing on the success of its No Carb Green Teas, Arizona Beverages is adding Arizona No Carb Decaf Green Tea to its lineup. The new addition will be packaged in the company’s signature 20-ounce glass bottle, for single-serve outlets and gallon containers for take-home consumption. Both of the packages will feature pink cherry blossoms. The tea is sweetened with Splenda, is preservative-free, and has 5 calories per 8-ounce serving.
Arizona No Carb Decaf Green Tea
Arizona Beverage Co., Cincinnati
Telephone: 513/784-9898
Internet: Arizonabev.com
Distribution: National
LifeForce Labs LLC recently introduced Zoic Protein Nutrition Drink — a low-carb, low-fat, snack-in-a-can. Zoic has 21 grams of protein and 2 net carbs per serving in both its French Vanilla and Belgian Chocolate flavors. The product carries the heart-check symbol from the American Heart Association for heart-healthy foods. The company claims that Zoic is the first product of its kind to be certified by the American Heart Association for meeting food criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol for people over the age of 2. Zoic is distributed nationally and retails for $1.99 per 11-ounce can.
Zoic Protein Nutrition Drink
LifeForce Labs LLC, Altamonte Springs, Fla.
Telephone: 407/830-0009
Internet: Zoicbev.com
Distribution: National
Ingredients: Water, milk protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, cocoa, natural flavors, cellulose gel, cellulose gum, tricalcium phosphate, sucralose, ascorbic acid, zinc oxide, acesulfame potassium, carrageenan, monosodium phosphate, sodium citrate, vitamin E acetate, niacinamide, calcium D-pantothenate, thiamine hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, ferrous sulfate, riboflavin, manganese sulfate, vitamin A palmitate, folic acid, copper sulfate, biotin, potassium iodide, phylliquinone, chromium chloride, sodium molybdate, sodium selenite, vitamin D3 and cyanocobalamin.
Juice with zing
Celestial Seasonings is diving into the juice market with the launch of Zingerade, a blend of tea, juice and lemonade. The ready-to-drink product is available in three flavors: Wild Berry, Sweet Peach Delight and Tropical Ruby Red. The juice/tea mixtures are low-calorie and provide 100 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C. Zingerade is in limited distribution in the Northeast.
The Hain Celestial Group, Boulder, Colo.
Telephone: 303/581-1363
Internet: Celestialseasonings.com
Distribution: Northeast United States
Ingredients: Wild Berry: Filtered water, evaporated cane juice, apple, red raspberry and blue-berry juice concentrates, natural flavors of raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and lemons with other natural flavors, citric acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and herbal infusion (consists of orange peel, rosehips)
Match, set… cook
Forget white wine with fish and red with meats for a moment and think beer instead. Samuel Adams Brewmaster’s Collection was put together to complement a variety of foods. The collection consists of six brews: Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Sam Adams Light, Samuel Adams Hefeweizen, Samuel Adams Boston Ale, Samuel Adams Scotch Ale and Samuel Adams Cream Stout.
Whether it’s a simple dinner or a six-course sampler, the blend of spices and flavors throughout the collection enhances an array of foods and can hold up to bold tastes. The 12-pack Brewmaster’s Collection is available nationwide and retails from $11.99 to $13.99.
Samuel Adams Brewmaster’s Collection
The Boston Beer Co., Boston
Telephone: 617/368-5000
Internet: Samadams.com
Distribution: National
Black cherry Bacardi
Anheuser-Busch introduced another flavor to its Bacardi Silver flavored malt beverage line – Black Cherry. The new quaff features the sweet and tangy flavor of black cherries along with a hint of vanilla. This version of the flavored malt beverage is low-carb and low-cal with 2.6 grams of carbohydrates and 96 calories per 12 -ounce serving, compared with 250 calories and 33 carbs in the traditional version. Bacardi Silver Black Cherry is available nationally and priced on par with other Bacardi Silver products.
Bacardi Silver Black Cherry
Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Mo.
Telephone: 314/577-2000
Internet: Bacardisilver.com
Distribution: National
Apple beer
This summer Merchant du Vin is introducing a new beer to its portfolio — Floris Appel Witbier, a Belgian wheat ale made with apples. Belgian wheat beer is a regional specialty that is enjoying something of a renaissance. Wheat gives the beer a hazy, golden color. It is light-bodied with little bitterness.
Floris Appel Witbier is brewed from 60 percent barley, 38 percent unmalted wheat and 2 percent oatmeal. Belgian hops, crushed coriander seeds and orange peel are added during the brewing process and contribute to the brew’s subtle bouquet and complex spiciness. During maturation, fresh apple juice is added. Floris Appel is available on draft only in select regions of the United States.
Elvis wines
Need something to wash down those peanut butter and banana sandwiches? California-based Signature Wines launched the Graceland Cellars line of Elvis Presley brand wines in New Jersey. Jailhouse Red Merlot, The King Cabernet Sauvignon and Blue Suede Chardonnay are available at select New Jersey wine retailers.
The 2002 Blue Suede Chardonnay features citrus, pear and floral aromas. Its flavor is a light, toasty oak with a hints of butter and vanilla. The medium-bodied 2001 Jailhouse Merlot has aromas of berries and fresh herbs and the flavors of oak and vanilla. The King Cabernet has a subtle oak flavor with a hint of spice. The suggested retail price of all three varieties is $11.99.
Graceland Cellars Elvis Presley Wines
Signature Wines, Hayward Calif.
Telephone: 510/259-6555
Internet: Signaturewines.com
Distribution: New Jersey
Pep o’ mint
Soma Beverage Co. launched Metromint Peppermint Water June 1 into select markets. Metromint is unsweetened peppermint flavored water. The water is intended to be a stress relieving, refreshing thirst quencher.
Soma Beverage Co., San Francisco, Calif.
Telephone: 415/317-1446
Internet: Mintwater.com
Distribution: Gourmet and natural food stores in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles
UV Vodka’s latest innovation is UV Citruv, a citrus-infused vodka that matches natural lemon and lime essence with the clear spirit. According to the company, citrus is the largest sub-category of flavored vodka in the United States. The vodka used in UV Citruv is activated carbon filtered and distilled four times from Midwestern grain. The product is priced at around $10 per 750-ml. bottle.
UV Citruv
Phillips Distilling Co., Minneapolis, Minn.
Telephone: 612/362-7500
Internet: Uvvodka.com
Distribution: National and selected international markets
Juice light
Apple & Eve has a new line of low-carb, low-calorie juices called Light & Fruitful. The juices are meant to appeal to diet- and carb-conscious consumers. Each flavor of Light & Fruitful has at least two-thirds fewer calories and 9 grams of carbohydrates or less. The products are made with pure fruit juices and sweetened with Splenda.
According to the company, all of the Light & Fruitful flavors contain as high a level of real fruit juice as possible, in order to provide the health benefits and juicy flavor of fruit. Flavors available in 64-ounce PET bottles are Cranberry, Cranberry Raspberry and Cranberry Grape. Flavors available in 16-ounce single-serve bottles are Ruby Red Grapefruit, Orange Mango and Cranberry Raspberry. The 64-ounce bottles retail for $3.29 and the 16-ounce bottles for $1.19.
Light & Fruitful
Apple & Eve, Port Washington, N.Y
Telephone: 516/621-1122
Internet: Appleandeve.com
Distribution: East Coast
Primo tequila
The Patron Spirits Co. is introducing its first new product in 10 years – Gran Patron Platinum Tequila. The triple-distilled tequila is made with hand-selected blue agave plants. The plants are pruned prior to baking to eliminate bitterness and ensure the highest sugar content possible for distillation. The aged tequila is bottled in crystal and packaged in handmade maple wood boxes. Each bottle and box is hand-signed and numbered. The ultra-premium tequila costs $189 per 750-ml. bottle.
Taster’s Voice
This month’s tasters are a young urban couple with a one-year-old child. These two blend their own smoothies at home, adding the occasional bit of soy, but mostly sticking to fruit and yogurt. They were intrigued by the idea of a portable, healthy option and pleasantly surprised by the mostly true-to-the-fruit flavors of Silk Live!
Smooth as silk
White Wave Inc. expanded its Silk soymilk franchise with the launch of Silk Live!, a soymilk smoothie spiked with six live and active cultures that aid healthy digestion. To fill out the nutritional roster, Silk Live! also has 19 essential nutrients including calcium, magnesium, folic acid, potassium and vitamins A, B, C, D and E, and 280 mg. of omega-3 fatty acids per 10-ounce serving. To help the absorption of calcium and magnesium, fructan NutraFlora, a natural dietary fiber, was added.
Silk Live! is currently available in four fruit and berry flavors — Strawberry, Peach, Mango and Raspberry. Beginning this month, Silk Live! is available in natural food stores. It will be available in grocery stores next year. The suggested retail price is $1.69 per bottle.
This month’s contenders:
Teri, elementary school teacher
Quin, accountant
Here’s the skinny…
“Nice shape, easy to transport… I could take it to work and not spill it.” – Quin
“I like the shape of the bottle and the nutritional highlights are eye-catching.” – Teri
“Nice texture, not too thick. Fruit flavors are vibrant. Mango has a more chalky taste than Strawberry. The aftertaste is fruity, not chalky.” – Teri
“Strawberry is not too sweet, no chalky taste. I don’t like when these products are overly sweet. The mango is a little chalky, artificial tasting. Raspberry is slightly gritty, but has a good raspberry flavor.” – Quin
Would you buy it?
“Yes, however the high sugar content would limit how often.” – Quin
“Yes, it would serve as a quick meal – very nutritious – lots of fiber and vitamins. High sugar content deters me from considering it a daily part of my diet.” – Teri
Last call
“I like the way the nutritional highlights are summarized down the side of the bottle. It gives you a quick rundown without having to search for the information.” – Teri
“I like the idea of being able to get more soy in my diet in an easy, tasty way.” – Quin
Silk Live!
White Wave Inc., Boulder, Co.
Telephone: 303/443-3470
Internet: Silkissoy.com
Distribution: Natural foods stores
Ingredients: Strawberry Smoothie Ingredients: Filtered water, whole organic soybeans,organic evaporated juice, strawberries, dextrose, strawberry juice concentrate, pectin, sodium citrate, natural flavors, fructan, purple carrot juice, beet juice and red cabbage juice (for color), sea salt, yogurt cultures (L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, L. acidophilus, B. bifidum, L casei, L. rhamnosus), tricalcium phosphate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), calcium pantothenate, niacin, zinc gluconate, vitamin A palmitate, pyridocine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin D2.
IN Brief . . .
Coffee and tea
Revolution Tea, Tempe, Ariz., launched all natural White-T at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. White-T has no carbs, calories, sugars or sweeteners and is naturally rich in antioxidants…
The Republic of Tea, Novato, Calif., has added Honeydew White Tea to its line of bottled iced teas available exclusively in restaurants. Honeydew White Tea reportedly offers a cool, subtle melon finish that complements spicy dishes, vegetarian cuisine and pasta…
Two leaves and a Bud Inc. will distribute Dilmah Teas in the United States. Dilmah’s specialty is single origin Ceylon Tea, which comes from a single growing area. Varieties include Ceylon Breakfast, Ceylon Organic Lemon, Ceylon Earl Grey, Ceylon Green, Half Caf/Half Decaf — a mid-level caffeinated tea — and a range of decaf teas…
Soft drinks
According to reports, Cadbury Schweppes is keeping a close watch on the new introductions of low-carb sodas by its competitors. If low-carb is a hit with consumers, the company may be ready to launch its own version…
U.K. soft drink-maker Princes is re-launching Virgin Cola in July in honor of its 10th birthday. The product was reformulated after extensive research. The purpose of the relaunch is to strengthen the brand’s market position among competing colas… Hoping the second time is a charm, a U.S. redux is also in the offing for Virgin Cola. Those with a long memory will recall that Virgin Cola was launched in the U.S. six years ago amid much rhetoric that it would become a serious rival to category leaders Coke and Pepsi. This time around, Virgin’s entry is much more low key — the soft drink is in limited distribution in Southern California. Virgin Cola is being positioned as a premium-priced product available in four flavors, including Blonde (vanilla) and Jade (lime). The national rollout is supposed to be sometime next year…
Bottled water…
Coca-Cola is reported to be planning to launch a new brand of water in Germany called Ipsei. Announcement of the launch follows the failure of the company’s Dasani water brand in the United Kingdom, although the two events are said to be unrelated…
Alternative drinks
Fuze Beverage LLC has added Strawberry Melon to its Slenderize line and Strawberry Guava to its Refresh line…
Colorado Spirits announced the launch of Colorado Premium Vodka. The new vodka is made from pure Colorado mountain spring water and Midwestern grains. For now, it’s only available locally. Over the next year, it will rollout nationally…
Singapore’s Tiger beer is breaking into the market in Thailand. Thai Asia Pacific Brewery is brewing and marketing Tiger beer in major cities in Thailand. TAPB hopes Tiger will capture 20 percent of the combined premium and standard beer segments in three years, according to the Bangkok Post…