One of the best parts of running Munch Better is discovering new food and drink products that taste good and look good (who else loves great packaging?!).
It was love at first sight when we saw Sapsucker Maple Tree Filtered Water - hello, minimalist carton! And when we took our first sip, we knew this distinctly Canadian product was a winner on the taste front, too. Tapped in the Niagara Escarpment and sustainably sourced and packaged, it's a classy alternative to bottled water.
We talked to Charlene McGlaughlin, one of the founders of Lower Valley Beverage Company (the makers of Sapsucker), about the growing company and its values.
How did the Lower Valley Beverage Company start?
The company was founded in 2014 by the Chapmans and the McGlaughlins, two Ontario families with a deep commitment to simple, authentic living. We're dedicated to sustainable production of our products and environmental stewardship of the land upon which we depend. We offer Sapsucker as a way to share this life with the world and inspire a community around these values.
Can you share any memorable moments from your first year in business?
One moment that stands out for us in our first year was following a horse-drawn wagon that was carrying our first harvest of Sapsucker. We were all raised in rural life, and our country roots run deep. As often happens with country people, ambition took us away to build careers and families. When our children arrived, we knew it was time to get some mud on our boots again, and Sapsucker was born as a way to help us make that happen. This moment made us feel like we had done it. In these moments we step away from the hustle and bustle of the city and return to a slower lifestyle. It feels like coming home.
How did you test your product and come up with the packaging?
Sapsucker is only one ingredient harvested straight from the tree. Nature created the perfect recipe for us!
Because our goal is to be the lowest impact packaged water that you can buy, packaging was extremely important to us. We chose Tetra Pak for Sapsucker for a few reasons: one is that the packaging itself has a smaller carbon footprint than the alternatives, and it’s recyclable in many municipalities. This method of packaging also means our product requires less processing to make it ready to sell, while offering a longer shelf life so less is wasted. Finally, the shape and weight of the package makes Sapsucker more efficient to ship, which contributes to reduced fuel use on its way to your table.
What exciting things do you have planned for Sapsucker this year?
We have so much going on this year - our little Sapsucker family is growing! We're very excited to have harvested Sapsucker in the 250ml size - this portable package makes it easier to take Sapsucker on the go. We're also honoured to be working with the amazing chefs we’ve partnered with and look forward to strengthening those relationships this year as well as creating new ones. Chefs provide so much inspiration and remind us how important it is to stay connected to our food.
And not only are we in Ontario, we're also available on the west coast in Vancouver. It’s a huge deal for us that someone across the country can walk into a store and buy our product; it feels like just yesterday that we were brainstorming names over a glass of Sapsucker (which may or may not have contained dark rum!).
What's your favourite snack to make at home?
Homemade granola with yogurt and a touch of sweetness from our maple syrup. It’s simple, delicious and makes us feel great!
(Note: We're definitely trying that Sapsucker and dark rum combo!)
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