FoodNavigator Talks “Switchel” with Cide>>Road CEO, Kevin Duffy
Cide Road CEO: ‘Not everyone likes switchel, but people that love it, really love it…’
By Elaine Watson, 03-Feb-2016
When Kevin Duffy first started test-marketing his Cide Road organic switchel in 2014, he was either met with blank stares (“to be honest, most people had never heard of switchel”) or evangelism (“I met all these enthusiasts that drink apple cider vinegar every morning and swear by it”).
That’s changed over the past year as switchel has generated more ‘buzz’ among bloggers and trend-watchers. But it’s still a novel beverage for most Americans, says New Jersey-based Duffy, a former Wall Street trader, hedge fund marketer and real estate executive who hit 40 and decided he wanted to do something different with his life.The sweet but tart taste of switchel – which Cide Road makes with apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, ginger, cane syrup and water in a 14oz glass bottle with a suggested retail price of $3.29-$3.49 – can be “polarizing”, he tells FoodNavigator-USA.But it meets a growing demand for bolder, more sophisticated, flavors that has helped to drive sales of products such as kombucha, adds Duffy, who has now secured listings for Cide Road in 1500+ stores on the east coast including Whole Foods and Kings Food Markets, and hopes to be in more than 3,000 stores nationwide by the year end.“Not everyone likes it, but people that love it, really love it. We thought it would appeal most to Millennials, but what we have found is that it’s not really about age, but attitudes and lifestyles – so people that like Patagonia clothing, or outdoor sports.” While some affionados make all kinds of claims about switchel’s purported digestive health benefits, Duffy prefers to focus on its distinctive taste and all-American roots (each bottle features the strapline, ‘America’s original thirst quencher’). “I never wanted to harp on about health benefits as that just gets you into [legal] trouble. I like to talk about it as a fun, great tasting beverage that’s really refreshing. It’s also unique, a conversation piece.”
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