Food News

Sweet Success

Rhode Island native taps into a new beverage market

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“How do you describe a spritzer that’s sweetened with maple but doesn’t taste like your morning pancakes?”

It’s questions like this that face the new CEO of MapleMama Beverages, LLC, Jeff Weston. This Bristol native recently returned to the Ocean State for a quasi-retirement after a successful 20-plus-year career in sparkling beverages.

MapleMama was founded in Wendell, MA by parents Joe Laur and Sara Schley, who wanted to create a healthier alternative to soda for their kids. They weren’t trying to discover a niche market between unsweetened seltzer and soda loaded with refined sugars; but that’s exactly what they did.

After extracting the low-glycemic sugars from the sap, you get a sweetener that is packed with 54 anti-oxidants, is gluten-free, and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Throw in organic, non-GMO, and sustainable growing practices, and they’re ticking all the boxes. (Maples can be tapped annually for their full 300-year life span but sugar cane fields are burned after harvest.)

The two original flavors of Madagascar Vanilla and Cold Brew Coffee were joined by two of Weston’s collaborations: a tart Raspberry Lime and a peppery Ginger Lemon. With a switch from glass packaging to 11.5-ounce “sleek cans” planned for late 2018, two new flavors slated for 2019, a website redesign scheduled and the building of a Rhode Island-based sales team on his plate, it’s clear that Weston’s definition of quasi-retirement doesn’t involve slowing down any time soon. Currently stocked at Whole Foods supermarkets across the state.