Casual Conversation with Local Lemonade Maestro, Deborah Aiza

Photo: Sweet'tauk

I don’t think we need to tell you that Sweet’tauk makes some mouthwatering lemonade. There’s a good chance you figured that out on one of your latest grocery trips—whether it was to the Montauk Farmer’s Market, Whole Foods in NYC or at a gourmet marketplace in Florida, California or even outside the States.

We recently caught up with the Montauk-based lemonade co.’s founder—Deborah Aiza—to cure a few curiosities, like how they jumped from the local farmer’s market to refrigerator isles all of the U.S. in such a short time, and which one of their lemonades makes the best dark and stormy. Indulge, below.

So…you guys have come a long way from serving lemonade at the local farmer’s market. What’s been the most exciting part about watching your lemonade co. skyrocket into becoming a household brand?

The most exciting part is whether—it’s a surfboard company, clothing, a magazine or our lemonade‚is having an idea, working really, really, really hard (harder then you ever thought you would have to work), making it real, seeing people embrace it, and then knowing that you’re creating something that is not going to go away.

Your lemonade bottles have made their way into a handful of different gourmet grocery stores (Whole Foods, among others) around the U.S. within the past year. Is there a key factor you would attribute to your high growth rate, and what’s the farthest location from Montauk that a bottle has traveled?

Sweet’tauk has gotten around. On our Instagram you’ll see Sweet’tauk lemonade at Macchu Picchu and Reykjavik. And no that’s not Photoshop. But lemonade tourism aside, we are all over and love Florida. Besides being hot, between you guys, there’s a strong Montauk connection with Flagler College in St. Augustine and its surf scene.

@polsapss catching the #sweettauk wave in France… next stop Bali! ??? #mikepolieuropeansurftour

A photo posted by Sweet’tauk Lemonade (@sweettauk) on

We are basically focused on the East Coast—in our business it’s important to go deep before going wide so before heading west we are sticking close to home. And actually, it’s a little more than a handful of stores, we are looking to break 1,000 soon. As for home, you can find us every Thursday from 9AM to 2PM at the Montauk Farmer’s Market out on the Green.   

You guys have also caught some healthy recognition from brand packaging platforms. Can you talk a little bit about the innovation and influence award you received this year for Sweet’tauk’s unique branding and packaging?

The best part of that was getting to use the word “semiotic” in the interview. We make lemonade. It tastes great. Simple. But when we put it in a bottle and on the store-shelf we become a “consumer products good”…probably not far away from ones owned by Coca-Cola. That’s complicated, but I think we got recognized for figuring out that it still is really simple. We needed to make something people wanted to reach for. And to do that we expressed who we were in an interesting way.   

Simple put! Can you give us a hit song from the 80s that would best serve as the background to taking a mid-summer sip of Sweet’tauk? Bonus points if it’s not sung by Wham!.

Rapture by Blondie. (Listen)

You guys dish out four different flavors of lemonade—Meyer Lemon, Pink Hibiscus, Ginger, and Strawberry Mint. On the record, for our Food & Drink Issue, what is the flavor to have while flipping through a magazine like ours’ pages?

That would depend on time of day, location and company. I would say serious reading, porch, alone – Meyer;  flipping pages at the beach –  Pink Hibiscus; reading after or while avoiding a working out – Ginger; and of course sharing that romantic moment of reading an article together – Strawberry Mint.

Your product has been known to mix well with the occasional adult beverage. Any suggestions for our readers that are of age and looking for a mildly-spiked refreshment?

Our Strawberry Mint loves tequila. Ginger loves gin and might make the best dark and stormy you’ve ever had. And you can’t go wrong with vodka in anything, anytime, anywhere especially Sweet’tauk lemonade. But truly, as you said, it should be mildly-spiked—you really do want to taste the lemonade.

Besides hanging at the beach and keeping the town stocked with delicious lemonade, what do you guys have planned this summer?

Lots of road trips handing out our lemonade in stores everywhere from Florida to Maine in the Sweet’tauk-mobile. (Just kidding we don’t really have a bus…but if we did, it would definitely be a Winnebago.)  

One of our founders, Jesse Joeckel, designed and custom screen your brand’s first t-shirts back in the day. We heard they might be making a comeback—what’s the word and where can we get them?

Popular demand, we brought it back. Right now, look for it on our mason jars at the Farmer’s Market. T-shirts, hats, stickers, and iPhone cases are coming soon to our shop, website and mobile device near you.

Stay in the mix with Sweet’tauk via their website + Instagram. Thanks Deb!