In our new Supplier Stories series, we’re featuring our wonderful suppliers! So many of them have special stories, from women entrepreneurs to family farms to mission-driven folks who want to make a difference. Some are local — only available in a couple of stores — while others are growing along with us. Follow along as we share their tales.
Kate Weiler & Jeff Rose
Think maple sap is sticky like syrup? Think again! The stuff tapped straight from trees is actually a hydrating beverage — kind of like water with a slight hint of maple goodness. High in manganese, this single-ingredient drink’s got 7 grams of sugar per 12 fl oz serving, verses 12+ grams of sugar in the same amount of coconut water.
Plus, it makes a great secret ingredient for so many recipes, like pumpkin oats and ice pops.
So when DrinkMaple’s two triathlon founders learned about the magic of maple, they decided to bottle the stuff and share it with the world:
We asked Kate Weiler, co-founder of DrinkMaple, what makes this thirst-quencher so special:
Q. So, first off, why maple water?
Kate: My triathlon training partner (now business partner) and I were doing an Ironman triathlon in Mont Tremblant, Canada and came across a small manufacturer's maple water. We had no idea that what came out of the tree when you tapped it was liquid and could be consumed as a hydrating drink. We thought that people would love maple water as much as we did, so we threw ourselves into the industry knowing nothing and started DRINKmaple in 2014.
Q. What does it taste like?
Kate: Maple water is crisp and refreshing with a subtle hint of maple. It is not very sweet or syrup-like. Most people are pleasantly surprised with the subtle yet delicious taste because they are typically expecting something very sweet or syrupy when it is not like that at all.
Q. Why is DrinkMaple great for farmers?
Kate: It brings diversification in a commoditized industry. They have been able to diversify their business by not just relying solely on the demand for syrup. They love it because when they work with us, they save on time and energy costs because they don't need to boil the sap down. Our suppliers have been able to grow their business and tap more trees with the boom of maple water.
Q. But what about the trees?
Kate: This process is harmless to the tree and it is an infrastructure that has been around for hundreds of years. We are using the same infrastructure, just not boiling the water down. It encourages responsible forestry because if the trees are being tapped, they are less likely to be chopped down for timber or building real estate.
Find DrinkMaple products in all Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S.