Since they were kids, good friends Alex Nagi (chef/partner – Copper Wok and Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company) and Chris Zakak wanted to find a business to do together. Two years ago, they decided to embark on it — and within that time, they came up with it.
What is it you might wonder? Well, it is it Organic, carbonated water and organic fruit, making a delicious, thirst quenching sparkling fruit beverage. Perhaps like me, you might have first seen it at Taste of the Vineyard, and had your interest piqued as well.
Over the winter months, Alex and Chris worked on formulas for the beverage, and created three amazing, fresh, organic flavors. Though it was a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun.
With the endless combinations of flavors, how did they decide on the three to launch it? They enlisted the help of a friend in the water business, and he helped Alex and Chris do the research to determine what the best options would be.
Also, the name was easy. Referencing it so much as it, it became it. Also, it can be an acronym from many things, like island time, interesting topic, let your imagination run wild, but know that it is good.
The friends also worked with Sam and David Berlow from the Font Bureau in Vineyard Haven and Boston to create the perfect, unique font for the simply, yet well named product.
it launched three weeks ago with its initial flavors, Black Raspberry, Pink Lemonade, and Citrus. For its first release, 1,000 cases were made for each flavor, so only 3,000 in production so far, and all brought to Martha’s Vineyard.
When I met with Alex to learn more about it Organics, I was lucky enough to try all three. I had to try the Pink Lemonade first. The color was so pink and summer-like. Just looking at it made me happy. It did not disappoint. The Pink Lemonade was not too sweet, tasking like summer in a bottle.
Then it was on to the Citrus. It smells like a glass of freshly squeezed OJ, but it tastes like a lighter and more refreshing version.
On to the Black Raspberry, which I was least excited to try, but was the most impressed with. This beverage knocked my socks off. It was not too sweet, not too boring, nothing but perfect.
I gravitate towards water, coffee, or adult beverages, staying away from things like this typically, but I am a convert. I loved this drink.
Alex told me that the Black Raspberry is the most popular and he actually likes it the best out of the three too. This was surprising for him, because it was the hardest flavor to create.
He doesn’t like black raspberry flavor but somehow they created one that is rockstar. It’s good to surprise yourself like that, especially when you’re a successful chef.
The best thing about it Organic, besides the awesome taste and great package, and the Island tie, is that it’s not too bubbly. Alex and Chris went with a perfect level of carbonation, 2.8% – you’re not going to be super burpy after one of these beverages.
Making An Organic Sparkling Fruit Beverage
Why this for a project together? The idea came during a trip to Whole Foods. They realized that there was nothing like this. There are Izze’s and Spindrift’s and flavored seltzer but not an organic sparkling fruit beverage like they were thinking.
Also, both Alex and Chris have young families and are particular about what they put in their bodies.
During the formula development, they were originally working with regular fruit concentrations, but soon as they tried an organic one, they had to use them. The flavor was just so different, everything about it was better and so it Organic was born.
Using the organic fruit and the formulas developed here on Martha’s Vineyard, they were able to create a beverage that has a great flavor profile. When you have one, smell it first. It has quite the bouquet. The body is light yet you know you’re not drinking plain ole water. It’s a great combination.
They wanted to make a product that was delicious, refreshing, and had nothing on the label you couldn’t read. Wondering about the color? Vegetables are the source. That took a little time to figure out the right combination but hey, you can work wonders with things like beets and radishes.
Want to see more flavors? Well, there are a couple in the pipeline, but those are to come. The three initial flavors are the most popular flavor profiles in the country, so they are a good base.
Another interesting fact was how difficult it was to become certified organic. It was an arduous process, but well worth it. A great product was created, no GMO’s, nothing bad for you.
Conceived and Launched on Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard was the perfect place to launch it Organic — the Island offers an international test group. On any given day during the summer, you can have someone from anywhere imaginable trying your product. Perfect as a test to see how it would do nationally.
At an average of $2.50 per bottle, it costs the same as many other craft beverages, but it’s organic and so good. Also, each flavor has a higher percentage of juice then other similar products.
You can find it Organic at 37 different Island retailers. Alex and Chris have had a lot of support from local business owners, and many places have already reordered, a good sign indeed. A few of the stores include Net Result, Black Sheep, Wolf’s Den, Chilmark General Store, Cronigs, Alley’s and even at the Art Cliff Diner.
What a great venture for these two childhood friends to embark on.
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