The scent of lemon filled the New Haven building for Fresh Bev as fresh produce made its way through the machines on floor. These machines are making a line of fresh cocktail mixers called RIPE Liquid Produce.
“We started this based on the fact that there was no commercially available fresh mixers in the marketplace in 2008 when we first conceptualized the company, and that’s still true today,” said JD Altobello, VP of Sales for Fresh Bev LLC.
JD Altobello says the Margarita mix started it all, but things quickly expanded, and six more varieties have been added since then.
“We’ve got our lemon sour, the classic mixer for things like Tom Collins,” he said while showing FOX 61 some of the produce.
He says the difference is the freshness.
“It’s all about health and taste. People are asking when they go into a bar or restaurant, what do you make your margarita with? And if someone says sour mix, or something out of a gun, they’re going to pick something else. The shift has been for several years now, more toward the fresh stuff. They want to know it’s something that actually started out as fruit and not as chemicals, and they want to know it’s fresh, and when it can be local, all the better,” said Altobello.
That’s what he says RIPE does.
“For everything we make here in New Haven, we start with fresh fruit. We bring it in weekly. We deal directly with farmers that we have relationships with,” he said. “It gets tested for quality, it gets washed, it will then get squeezed in a variety of machines to extract the juice, then blended, bottled and the last step is HPP, which is high pressure processing.”
Then it ships out across the country to arenas, high end resorts, and your local restaurants, bars and grocery stores.
“You always hope, and you know it’s going to be a lot of work to help it take off, so it’s, yeah, the interesting thing is, eight years later, almost ten years later now, my favorite part is still seeing someone try out product for the first time,” said Altobello. “The look on their face when all of their preconceived notions of cocktail mixers are shattered is something I’ll never get sick of.”
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