Kona Brewing Company is Craft Beer Brewery with a Passion for Sustainability

Some say Aloha means to live in harmony with the natural world and each other, this is the test of our time. Kona Brewing Company is more than just another craft beer company. With a focus on smarter energy, responsible practices, and a dedication to the community around them Kona is embodying the true meaning of Aloha.

On this episode of On Foodable filmed at Foodable.io Seattle sponsored by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, we get to learn a little more about Kona Brewing Company from Parker Penley, Lead Innovation Brewer at Craft Brew Alliance.

“Two just absolutely integral parts of what we do are sustainability and quality. And I always kind of say that those are not mutually exclusive,” said Penley. “Those actually work in parallel beautifully, you just have to, you know, be very conscious about what you’re doing and the impact on those around you and the environment.”

With this mentality and respect towards the Hawaiian Islands, Kona Brewing Company has established sustainability as one of its primary pillars. From building a state of the art brewery powered by solar panels to investing in a new High-Efficiency Brewing System to use less grain and barley, this company is taking sustainability to the next level.

However, Aloha doesn’t stop there at Kona Brewing Company. Besides having a focus on sustainability, their passion and desire fosters not only a high-quality beer but always creates an experience.

Aloha is all about the connection people have to the land and the way they connect with others on the island. Kona Brewing Company embodies that, by connecting local ingredients used to create their product, connecting with the community, and relaying the spirit of Hawaii and paradise to their consumers.

Watch the episode above to learn more about Kona and its sustainability efforts and the challenges faced in doing so on the island.

Looking for more beer and wine brands that are putting sustainability first? We recently interviewed Rob Bigelow, Senior Director of Wine Education and On Premise Development at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, about Villa Maria Wine Estate—a company in partnership with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

Food Out Loud: Defining the New Consumer with Sara Brito of The Good Food 100 Media Network

In this inaugural episode of Food Out Loud, we start with the changing U.S. consumer. We have all seen this shift happening, but today it seems to be accelerating. We are all consumers in this economy, so it does not take a professional to see how our collective perception of food is changing—we are shifting to a more sustainable, healthy food ecosystem.

Sara Brito is our guest today. Brito is the founder of Good Food 100 Media Network, which is responsible for the Good Food 100 Restaurants List. The list “seeks to redefine how chefs, restaurants, and food service businesses are viewed and valued. Carefully curated based on the quantitative measurement of chefs’ purchasing practices,” as stated on the Good Food 100 website.

“We know that consumers today have a different set of values,” Says Brito.

Most of us are making more educated choices when we eat. That stretches from having less soda or high sugar drinks with your burger and fries to going completely plant-based on one or more days a week. Of course, there are some of us that have drastically changed our diet. This is why we started this show—because of these choices that we are making collectively and the potential for massive positive change in how our society relates to food.

Listen to the podcast above to hear the full conversation about good food and the impact on our food industry.

SHOW NOTES

01:42 - Welcoming Sara Brito Founder of The Good Food 100 Media Network
05:33 The Good Food 100 Restaurant List
17:03 - How is Food In America Changing?
21:44 - GMO Labeling and The Need for Transparency

24:47 - What's it like Working with Kimbal Musk?
26:08 - What is the Effect of Media on Today's Consumer?
28:40 - We are Moving to a More Responsible Food Industry

How Rich's Helps Define Clean Label and Sustainability

Consumers are demanding authenticity.

Authenticity in their products, foods, brands, you name it.

On this episode of The Barron Report, Jen VanDewater, Vice President of Health and Authenticity at Rich Products Corporation, sits down with our host Paul Barron to discuss how a large company like Rich’s is addressing consumer concerns over clean labeling and authenticity when it boils down to the products they offer.

Listen above to learn more about this company’s sustainability and social efforts!


Show Notes:

  • 03:57 - Driving Factor Pushing Companies To Make Changes

  • 04:32 - Defining Clean Label

  • 06:47 - How Rich's Monitors The Market

  • 08:29 - Social Trends Monitoring

  • 10:47 - Trends In The Marketplace

  • 11:38 - Customer Portfolio Analysis

  • 13:06 - Verifying If Products have a Clean Label

  • 14:16 - How Rich's Looks at Data around Clean Label

  • 18:31 - Trends in Consumer Demand

  • 22:52 - Real Meaning of Sustainability

  • 26:08 - Rich's Sustainability Efforts

  • 28:22 - Operators Attitudes Towards Sustainability

 
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Craft Producers Are Changing The Way Restaurants Buy Products

Craft producers are shaking the big-box purveyors as the grab for restaurants’ food dollars are always in play. These specialty creators are delivering on the mania of being connected to the community, giving back, sticking with environmental responsibility, and running with old-world values.

In that same vein, Catherine Seisson’s shop is a shrine to traditional French baking. Genuine ingredients, iron-fisted adherence to classic preparations, and an unbroken commitment to quality; the strictest of standards for the esteem of a real French bakery. Except, the bakery is in a suburb of Philadelphia.

Renaissance Woman

Source: Becca Mathias

Source: Becca Mathias

The Lyon native dropped apron in West Chester, PA with only a few months to launch her shop. With a French baker father and flour powering through her marrow, Seisson is an ass-kicking, fierce redhead with a huge smile and craftsmanship to match.

“It’s in my blood; I wanted to make bread,” Seisson says proudly.

And her brioche trappiziane will make you cry tears of bliss and wonder. Those tears are turning into dollars as small-scale merchants, like Seisson’s La Baguette Magique, are making a huge difference on the food scene. Seisson supplies select area restaurants with bread and pastries. Not a lot of restaurants, mind you. But enough to be a contender.

Mammoth Amazon is hawking paper products, smallwares, and appliances. The next frontier will, most certainly, drill into staples and commodities. While Amazon, Sysco, US Foods and other big-rig vendors are looking at the hefty spends, small-scale producers are taking up menu items, one at a time.

Macro Trend: Our Customers Have Feelings

When millennials look to join a team, they frequently want a connection to the community, some form of giving back and environmental awareness. Why wouldn’t the same be true for vendors partnered with restaurants? Having a craftily produced array of products to supply the demands of mission-sensitive restaurants makes sense. Where some larger producers keep, for instance, preservatives, less-than-favorably sourced ingredients, and anonymous origins coursing through their product lines, smaller merchants are able to deliver with a friendlier approach. On trend with consumers digging into the responsible sourcing but not willing to give up flavor and appeal, many smaller vendors are seizing opportunities and profits. Like La Baguette Magique, other crafty producers are juggling the supply chains.

Big On Growth, Small On Changes

La Colombe Coffee has been around for a while. The company is the love child of JP Iberti and Todd Carmichael, the duo who has brewed the once eastern Pennsylvania-only coffee roaster into a coast-to-coast darling, all while sticking to their values, fair sourcing, and unabridged quality. La Colombe has changed very little since its earlier days. Still rocking a roastery in Philly and packaging their workshop roasts by hand, the microastery is disrupting the status quo of traditional coffee distributorship by staying in their lane. Distribution to restaurants, bakeries, and cafes is duty-bound. The beans still come from farms known to be responsible growers, the production standards are inexplicably calculated for quality, and, most importantly, their market growth has been conservatively restrained. Despite a fiscal injection from Chobani’s Hamdi Ulukaya, the reach of La Colombe to the west coast has only included a few retail spots and limited distribution of the coffee for retail brewing. The result? The brand is maintaining its original identity while offering a true craft approach to coffee grounded in everything that brought the company to life.

The Spicy Rebel Upstart

Source: Spiceology

Source: Spiceology

In 2013, a chef’s collaborative was struck—Spiceology. Started by partners Pete Taylor and Heather Scholten, the chef-centric perspective of building a direct-to-industry spice company was founded. “We do it for the chefs, right down to how we package,” said Taylor. Spiceology was cast of the same craft approach by targeting cooks that are really, really, into their trade. Very intentional marketing, clean lines, and a rebel yell that appeals to living-out-loud culinary types, Spiceology brings color to the otherwise standard staple of sticky containers of generic seasonings sitting in every kitchen.

Why do it? The chef owned and operated off-spring started with an initial retail presence. “We are all chefs; we all think that spices for foodservice is a screwed-up industry, getting jacked on pricing with inferior product, and poor packaging, so Spiceology was born,” said Taylor. “Compared to the broadliners, they don’t put themselves in the chefs’ clogs. Depth and a story have a meaning and purpose that are important. Chefs supporting chefs is customer-centric.”

The approach puts the necessary elements at the forefront. “Our Periodic Table of Flavor keeps the chef’s spice rack organized. It’s modernist! We eliminated the distributor by shipping direct, and built a loyalty program,” said Taylor. The burgeoning business rewards support with a points program that further builds a bond with the culinary community. “With the [loyalty points] you can get cool shit that we, as chefs, know we would want.”

Has this flavor worked for the brand? Spiceology has been rated one of the fastest growing spice companies by "Entrepreneur Magazine."

Growing The Buzz

Produce is a happy place for most chefs. Seasonal changes mean new play toys. New play toys mean new dishes for customers. Growing specifically for exacting chefs has been the crux of The Chef’s Garden for a very long time. A veteran operation by today’s benchmarks, the Jones family of farmers swap big boxes of Romaine for their Painted Oak and Ruby Crystal lettuce varieties. The gain? Customary farming being reinvented to bring collaborative growing practice between kitchens and farms. This is true farm to table. Farmer Lee Jones and company are grounded — literally — in supplying restaurants with produce that is innovative and exciting while endearing to the roots of traditional farming, packed by the ‘each’ versus the case.

Using Smaller Vendors Is Not A Pickled Idea

Money is money, and often the tractor trailers deliver better prices than the little pickup trucks. Being selective in which boutique purveyor gets the dollars seems to balance the sweet and sour proposition of when to spend bigger on smaller purchases. Warehouse vendors are not going away. Instead, they are sharing the food cost spend with less assuming manufacturers, farmers, and creative vendors.

The allure of knowing the origins of the food we are serving is more than a chef’s novelty; it is the power to market. The smaller, more dialed-in merchants, are making products that fill that space, while small, runs deeps with customers looking forward to hearing from operations that are using products that match their values.

Baiting Guests with Underutilized Fish Species: Serving Delectable, Sustainable Seafood

Baiting Guests with Underutilized Fish Species: Serving Delectable, Sustainable Seafood

Michael Cimarusti is the Executive Chef at Providence in Los Angeles and Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood, both seafood-centric restaurants. He also opened his own seafood market, Cape Seafood and Provisions which heavily promotes sustainability.

So Cimarusti is clearly a seafood expert, so he’s the guy you should talk to before you cook any fish dish.

When people cook fish, they usually stick to a number of classic preparations but in an interview with The Splendid Table’s Russ Parsons, Cimarusti shares some of the best techniques you may not have heard of for cooking certain species of fish and supporting sustainability.

Some key tips:

Brining

The most common preparation for fish is, ironically, wet brining. Best for use with fish you plan to grill, brining in a 5-7 percent salt solution is a classic step in allowing fish to form a pellicle, a sticky coating on the surface of the fish that seals in flavor. Dry brining is another option, especially for those looking to eat fish raw. Simply put sea salt on a filet of fish and let it rest until the fish begins to sweat.

Roasting

With larger fish, you can roast a large filet, let it rest and then separate into single serving portions. When applying roasting to fish, Cimarusti says, you wind up with different results and textures and a cooking that’s far more consistent.

In the below excerpt from the interview, Cimarusti explains that just because a species is not a classic does not make it any less delicious. In fact, these species can be top of the line and cost much, much less.

Russ Parsons: One of the big problems with seafood in America is that we still concentrate on one or two species – shrimp, salmon, things like that – but those are getting scarcer and less sustainable.

Michael Cimarusti: And more expensive.

RP: But, there are lots of other fish that are plentiful, delicious, and completely sustainable. What are some of the ways for a cook who may not be familiar with those fish to approach them?

MC: There are so many different ways. Smaller fish like sardines and anchovies, anchovies specifically, if you are going to cook them at all, the best thing you can do is salt them and throw them on the grill. It's almost true for sardines as well, unless you get really big sardines, in which case you might filet them or butterfly them open and cook them in different ways. Mackerel is sort of the same thing. I love mackerel grilled. When we get what are called tinker mackerel – which are smaller mackerel – we take them, debone them, butterfly them open, and grill the skin side just briefly. We then pull them off the grill and brush them with an herb oil. At this point, the flesh has not been touched by any direct heat at all. Brush the flesh with a little herb oil, a little squeeze of lemon juice, and put breadcrumbs over the top of it with lots of extra-virgin olive oil. Finish it in the broiler so it gets crispy and golden brown. Underneath, you have the grilled flavor of the fatty fish and this beautiful herb oil that's just a little spicy from red chili flakes, and it's incredible. That's a fish that, at the most, it's going to cost you six or seven dollars in a fish market, but they're incredibly delicious. They're low on the food chain and they're plentiful. But go and try to find one; it’s a very difficult fish to find. That's because it's a low-value species. It's not worth a lot to the fisherman, so you don't see a lot of them on the market, which is a real shame.

Read the whole interview at “The Splendid Table.”

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