Two cousins who grew up learning about the sugaring process are processing their own maple-flavored drinks. It's a statewide effort to produce this Made in Vermont beverage.
It's another busy Spring day at J.R. Sloan's Sugarhouse. Nikita Salmon is filling up a truck with what will eventually become his beneficial beverage.
"It's a healthier option to traditional soda," Salmon said.
Salmon, along with his cousin, Chas Smith, have created Sap! Maple. Their maple sap water and maple sap soda have no artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar.
"We really felt like we could create a product that competes both on taste and on health. You can have the best of both worlds," Smith said.
Worldwide is where Smith and Salmon hope to take Sap! In just two stores a year ago, they now have 400-500 accounts in the Northeast.
"We really feel like we've started out on the right path and feel like we can get there as we grow over time," Smith said.
But these two would have gone nowhere if it wasn't for the network of businesses they use throughout Vermont, businesses like JR's
"I like to see young people do well, so they asked if I would help them out and they could buy sap from me and I said yes," said J.R. Sloan.
A truck carrying 6,000 gallons of sap is on its way down to Middlebury to be canned at Woodchuck Cider.
"They've been really accommodating and great to work with. There's nothing like seeing maple sap come out of the canning line and you can grab it right off the can line, crack it open and take a sip. It's really, really cool," Salmon said.
"Part of our goal to starting the business is to have a really great positive impact on Vermont, and that's really manifested itself over the last few years in ways that we may not have really expected," Smith said.
What you can expect from a can of SAP! is sweet taste and fewer calories made by two cousins and a family of statewide suppliers.
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