Have you heard the buzz?
A Turlock family is preparing to take on the beverage world with a new kind of lemonade – the first on the market to be sweetened with honey, rather than sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Where sugar burns and caramelizes in the beverage making process, honey imparts a slightly creamy sweetness to lemonade, making Hey Honey! Artisanal Lemonade truly one of a kind.
“It tastes really good, and we’ve just had so much positive reception from friends and family,” said Kyra Reed, Hey Honey! Lemonade’s social marketing guru. “You would be amazed at how entirely different the flavor is.”
Flavor wasn’t the initial concern for Hey Honey! Artisanals creator Anna Riedinger, Reed’s mother. After being diagnosed as a pre-diabetic, Riedinger stumbled onto honey lemonade as a healthier alternative to sugary beverages.
Where most bottled drinks have tens of unpronounceable ingredients clogging up the label, Hey Honey! Lemonade’s original flavor contains just three: lemons, honey, and water.
“I turned my lifestyle around to have a better diet with better quality foods,” Riedinger said.
On a whim, Riedinger’s other daughter, Alexandria Ariza, decided to bring the beloved family beverage to a festival in Lindsay, Calif. The lemonade sold as fast as she could fill the cups.
Since then Riedinger, her husband Bob Riedinger, sons Chris and Zach Riedinger, and their daughters Reed and Ariza, have been all-in on the lemonade business. Two additional flavors have been developed – strawberry basil lemonade and lemon-lime mint – and the Hey Honey! brand was created.
But the process of bringing Hey Honey! Lemonade to store shelves was a longer road than any of the beverage industry neophytes had in mind.
“The process was very different from what I expected,” Anna Riedinger said.
Anna Riedinger was a hairdresser. Bob Riedinger owned an engineering company. Reed worked in social marketing.
Other than an innate entrepreneurial spirit, the Hey Honey! crew had little qualifications to start a beverage business.
“It was kind of a big pipedream to be honest,” Reed said. “We were really naïve.”
The family realized their shortcomings, though, and quickly got in touch with a Santa Cruz-based, globally sought-after beverage consultant who helped launch Odwalla’s juice business. After “somehow” convincing him to take a meeting, the consultant came onboard, helping Hey Honey! move toward store shelves within the next month.
Riedinger expects Hey Honey! to cost between $3.50 and $4 per bottle. Initially, the drink will be distributed only in the more health-conscious Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley areas, selling primarily through health food stores.
The product that hits shelves won’t be exactly what Anna Riedinger initially had in mind – originally she had planned to use only organic ingredients. But certified organic honey isn’t produced in America; bees can fly 10 miles in search of food, and all plants within that radius must be organically grown to qualify the honey as organic.
Rather than use organic honey from Brazil, India, or Australia, Anna Riedinger decided to take a stand and source all ingredients from the Central Valley – or as close as possible. Anna Riedinger said that approach lets her family visit the farms, to ensure the bees are well treated and the lemons are grown right.
Ultimately, those local ingredients are what set Hey Honey! apart, Riedinger said.
“We wanted ingredients that were made right here with love,” Anna Riedinger said.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hey-Honey-Artisanals/