Founded in 2010 by restauranteur and chef Bruce Cost, who wrote the cookbook “Ginger: East to West” in 1984, BCGA Concept Corp. grew out of a ginger ale recipe that Cost created and subsequently launched 20 years ago in his restaurants and many others from San Francisco to the Midwest. The company and its portfolio of craft ginger ales and ginger beers has since evolved into two product lines featuring real, unfiltered pieces of ginger as the star ingredient.
“Bruce Cost had years of success with his craft ginger ale amongst the restaurant circuit throughout the country and decided to produce the product in 2010 with his partner Terry Tang,” says Keli Roberson, marketing director of BCGA Concept Corp., Brooklyn, N.Y. “The Original, Jasmine Tea and Pomegranate ginger ales were the first products. It all started in the restaurant scene and garnered quite the following, which is why it was decided that it should be bottled for all the world to consume. The a-ha moment was seeing the ginger ale outsell traditional soda on-premise.”
The company’s first product line, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, now features seven varietals: Original, Jasmine Tea, Pomegranate with Hibiscus, Passion Fruit with Turmeric, Blood Orange with Meyer Lemon, and 66 with Monk Fruit. Packaged in single-serve, 12-ounce glass bottles, which also are available in four-packs, the label reminds consumers to “Serve Frosty. Shake Gingerly” to distribute the real ginger pieces that settle at the bottom of the bottle.
The company’s best-selling varietal, Original — the base from which every flavor originates — features only four ingredients: 40 grams of 100 percent fresh ginger, carbonated water, pure cane sugar and a touch of citric acid, the company says.
In addition to glass bottles, Original also is packaged in 12-ounce cans, while its newest varietal, the non-alcohol Ginger Beer, is packaged in 8.4-ounce cans. Pressed multiple times, Bruce Cost Ginger Beer’s spicy, fizzy kick is derived from fresh ginger and can be consumed on its own or in a cocktail like a Moscow Mule, it adds.
A star ingredient
As the company has grown and released new products, ginger has remained the star ingredient.
“The unfiltered ginger has been a big differentiator, and we’re also using all-natural ingredients. We’ve launched many different natural flavor profiles, where many of our competitors are only carrying a ginger ale and/or a ginger beer,” Roberson says. “… We utilize several hundred-thousand pounds of fresh ginger root annually — and not just its extract like many brands, but real, unfiltered pieces you can actually taste and see.
“Ginger is among the healthiest herbs on the planet and has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea, and help fight the flu and [the] common cold,” she continues.
Sourcing all-natural ingredients during the apex of harvest seasons remains a priority for the company, Roberson says.
“We source our global ingredients at their peak harvest season from the geographical region where they’re grown best,” she explains. “This includes ginger and whole-leaf Jasmine tea from China, whole-leaf hibiscus from Egypt, passion fruit from Ecuador, turmeric from India, and blood orange and Meyer lemon from Napa Valley, Calif. Much research was done to ensure that we’re only using the best of each ingredient that goes into our drinks.”
The company’s commitment to simple, all-natural ingredients from the earth also is on trend, Roberson notes, citing a 2017 Beverage Trends Report.
“Plant-based ingredients are bringing bold new flavor notes to the beverage equation,” she says. “As we look at the most prominent trending searches in the beverage category, we see that earthy flavors are taking off and that a wide variety of botanical-based beverages are in demand.
“At BCGA Concept Corp., we pride ourselves on sourcing the freshest ginger from around the world. It is the key ingredient in all BCGA recipes and … is also well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties,” she continues. “We’re proud to produce craft beverages that are not only delicious but come with added health benefits as well. It’s a win-win.”
The company’s lineup and packaging continues to evolve. In August, BCGA Concept Corp. introduced the Brooklyn Crafted line extension featuring three new SKUs: Extra Spicy Ginger Beer, Extra Spicy Sugar Free Ginger Beer and Sugar Free Ginger Ale. Additionally, in October, it launched new Ginger Beer Mini Bottles in four flavors: Traditional, Earl Grey, Lemon & Lime, and Mango, which are packaged in 7-ounce glass mini bottles.
“The 7-ounce bottles are a great choice for those seeking less sugar, portion control and single-cocktail creation,” Roberson says. “They have also given us the opportunity to penetrate different markets and introduce different flavors of ginger beer.”
The company’s 15 SKUs are nationally available in such grocers and retailers as Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Cracker Barrel, Wegmans, Central Market, Cost Plus World Market, Fresh Market, BevMo! and Safeway. The products also can be purchased online.
Roberson notes that BCGA Concept Corp. is the only company that solely focuses on ginger-based soft drinks. “There are other companies that offer ginger ales and beers, but they don’t have the wide range of ginger pairings that we do. Our expansion into other packaging also offers more exposure of ginger ales and beers to the market,” she says. BI