Tree sap in a bottle! Why didn’t I think of that? I don’t begrudge any entrepreneurs to try things. I like the fact that maple syrup is part of the discussion as it only helps the industry. I have great respect for Michael Farrell and I think he is right on the money with promotion of the maple industry as a good part of this endeavor. But I can’t help myself… I have to chime in. I have been asked about 1000 times, “What do you think of maple water?” And I usually respond
with, “you mean sap?” This isn’t to be confused with Maple Tree Water produced by Greenfield Farms in NE Ohio. THAT is bottled distillate made by collecting condensation of steam produced as a by-product from maple syrup boiling process. Distillate is bottled at about 200 degree Fahrenheit – too hot for most plastics – so a glass bottle is used. So now that you know what maple water isn’t – let me tell you what it is. “Maple water” is sap from the tree bottled after the pasteurizing or retort process to make it shelf stable.
Again, not a bad marketing gig.
There are a few companies out there trying their hand at this market: Vertical Water, Happy Tree (DRINKmaple) – and I applaud their marketing expertise and entrepreneurial spirit. For some background, here is an article from Wall Street Journal about the latest and greatest health food fad influenced by the success of coconut milk.
As a response to the many questions I have received about “Maple Water” – I will give my opinion to the three people that read my blog (Hi Mom and Dad…..and one other guy!) I want to mention this again with – I love entrepreneurs! I like the fact that someone is taking a risk and pushing the maple industry’s boundaries! I hope they market the Sapsquatch dung out of it! More maple is good for maple! I hope it is a success. However, I see one flaw:
People can add maple syrup to water.
Did he just Netflix-their-dingy-video-store-rental-place? Yes, I did. This maple farmer is going to do some math for the thrifty maple water drinkers.
Sap that is 2% sugar is worth about $0.67 per gallon to the sugarmaker. If you like maple water and live in the Great Lakes Region – you can buy 5 gallons worth of maple water for about $3.35. Maybe $5 if you want to be fair to the sugarmaker’s time. You can check my math using this handy dandy sap value calculator (http://www.ohiomaple.org/sap-app.html) You’ll also need to plug in $2.60/lb (Update, $2.25/lb is the current value of maple syrup per pound, 4-20-15.) and you’ll also have to enter 100 for the percent of bulk syrup provided to the sap seller. Or you can just trust my math.
If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in the Maple Belt, you’ll have to use your own bottle of maple syrup. So let’s use 2% sugar and work backwards to show you how much “maple water” you can make for that next Browns-Steelers game! If you buy a half-pint of maple syrup (8oz) you can make 2.7 gallons of maple water for about two-and-a-half cents per ounce. So if you fill your 32oz Nalgene bottle up with freshly made “maple water” – it will cost you $0.75 – and you save the packaging cost on 9 containers. Just a heads up on maple water flavor: If you don’t want to taste strong caramel flavor of maple syrup in your reverse engineered maple water – buy Light Amber (Golden Delicate). If you do want to taste the caramelized maple flavor – use Grade B (Dark Robust).
There is one great benefit from the maple water that is WAY better than coconut milk. Science teachers outside the maple-belt can now buy sap and make maple syrup in their classrooms. Like in Arizona and places where you don’t have cold winters. However, it will cost you about $217.50 to make a quart of syrup in your beaker from 44 bottles of 32oz maple water! You might be better off buying a quart of maple syrup and adding 10.875 gallons of water for about $22.
Yes, I am a maple nerd.