In the days of the cold press juice craze and organic health beverages, a local brand is leading the way here on the east end. With their innovative business strategies and appreciation for organic growth, Sweet’tauk is at the forefront of modern expansion while staying true to its roots.
We caught up with Sweet’tauk founder Deborah Aiza to find out more about their story and how they got where they are today.
According to her, the motivation behind Sweet’tauk and the brand she so proudly owns and operates, came from focusing on a healthy drink option, while not necessarily focusing on the denial and discipline of dedicating oneself to a healthy lifestyle.
“I wanted this to be a healthy drink, that is good for you and made fresh, but more focused around fun and happiness rather than the pressure of being healthy and staying in shape,” Aiza said.
This concept and brand that would eventually become the basis of Sweet’tauk all started in 2012 when Aiza, then a caterer, started making lemonade in the basement of … well anywhere a local friend or business would let her do it! In doing so, she would then hand distribute the various flavors of lemonade, homemade with local ingredients from organic farms like Balsam Farms, to what was then, 20 local stores and a few farmer’s markets. Places where she eventually gained a following and traction for the tasty drink.
From the various basements around Montauk, Sweet’tauk was born. From then on the ball started rolling, which is what brought them to where they are today.
3 years later, Sweet’tauk is now a storefront in Montauk and has just made its jump into regional production and distribution with Gourmet Guru, a well-respected natural and organic products distributor from the northeast.
With the partnership in Gourmet Guru, making it past the lemonade stand at the local farmer’s market at this point, Aiza wanted to keep the organic and original vibe of her business without selling out and becoming too big for Sweet’tauk’s britches. The way Deb and Donald did that, was taking the time to carefully plan their expansion into a broader market, partnering with like-minded companies like Gourmet Guru to make it happen.
Getting HACCP certified and figuring out whom to partner with in regards to distribution and production was the first step in that expansion. With Gourmet Guru being their choice, the distribution company helped bring them to the point they are proud to be announcing today. Helping in distribution to markets such as Whole Foods among other household names, Gourmet Guru is right inline with how Sweet’tauk planned to grow organically.
“We wanted to team up with supporters that would help us get to the finish line,” said Aiza, and Gourmet Guru was that support. Now Sweet’tauk has its hands in markets all over the northeast from Boston to D.C. with plans of possibly expanding south to Florida this year to cater to the year round demand of their customers. Which was the plan in expanding distribution all along.
From the humble beginning in the basements of Montauk, making 5 gallon batches and a distribution of 20 locations, to partnering with family owned and organically operated production and distribution facilities to produce 100 gallon batches at a time, selling 16 tons of lemonade in 2014 and a distribution of close to 150 locations, Sweet’tauk has found the balance. The balance between organic growth and expansion and staying true to what you know, and we couldn’t be more excited to share their success story with you.
In their growth, Sweet’tauk is leading the way in showing us all how businesses can stay in touch with their roots while growing their reach, and preserving with who they are and what they are all about on a business level. Which to them, is taking the time and patience to partner with the right people and stay authentic, while finding their way to the mainstream.
Stop into Sweet’tauk this summer at 34 S Etna Ave in Montauk and tell em’ Whalebone sent you. They will be delighted to share their story with you, like they did so kindly with us! Cheers!