Tag Archives: #vegan

Social Lite: A Canadian Cocktail’s Journey from a Local Kitchen to Store Shelves

kbarrett   November 7, 2017


  Social Lite Vodka is a canned vodka soda cooler that was invented in a Canadian kitchen.  Founders Kevin Folk and Dan Beach found an untapped niche in the vodka cooler market and filled the need for healthier, sugar free alternatives. Kevin and Dan are your regular guys who prior to the creation of Social Lite, do not hail from the beverage industry. Their success in getting a product they created at home on to store shelves is quite an amazing feat considering all their competitors are large corporations with marketing budgets to match. They met while studying engineering at the University of Guelph. After graduation, Kevin went on to work as an Electrical Construction Project Manager. Dan obtained an MBA and worked as a Business Analyst for Deloitte and BMO. These entrepreneurs both lead active lives, running ultra marathons and playing ultimate frisbee. Socializing and drinking alcohol doesn’t lend well to a healthy workout routine. Who wants to go train for a marathon with a hangover? But the passion for exercise doesn’t mean precluding a social life. Dan and Kevin became pretty proficient in mixing their own vodka sodas, and serving them to their friends. Why are mixed drinks on the market loaded with sugar and calories? Their kitchen-created cocktails amazed their friends because they actually tasted great without adding sugar, or anything artificial for that matter. You may be surprised to know that companies that sell alcoholic beverages are not required to provide an ingredients list or the nutritional breakdown on their products. The number one cooler sold in the LCBO contains 33 grams of sugar and two hundred plus calories per can. Social Lite on the other hand contains zero sugar with only eighty calories per can – and it is also gluten free. Another important marker between Social Lite and other pre-made vodka coolers on the market is colour. Social Lite does not add artificial colour. I am going to examine how Social Lite entered the market, how their supply chain works and uncover lessons for future prospective entrepreneurs.

Copper Branch: Continuous Improvement Via Social Media

kbarrett   October 31, 2017

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Are you on board with the food revolution? A growing awareness is spreading  and the demand for plant based meal options is growing. Studies confirm the link between eating animals, especially processed meat, and the link to cancer and health conditions such as diabetes. Environmental impacts of a meat based diet have been demonstrated, and the ethics behind factory farming are being scrutinized. People are reading labels and choosing organic, non-GMO and local ingredients more often. Copper Branch, a quick serve plant based restaurant, is fulfilling the gap in the food industry and is well timed with this growing lifestyle to ride the wave of popularity and expand across Canada and internationally with their brand. Social media has played a major role in Copper Branch’s business development and continues to help them evolve and tailor menu items to their customers. Copper Branch opened its first location in Montreal Canada, and has since grown to twelve locations across Quebec and Ontario. By the end of 2017, fifteen locations will be in operation. The first launch outside of Canada will be in the city of Boston, USA. Copper Branch operates under the franchise model, for any curious investors who may be reading this.  I was lucky enough to speak with Andrew Infantino, Director of Marketing, who has been with Copper Branch since the early planning stages. During the initial planning and research phase in developing the concept of Copper Branch, Andrew transitioned over to a vegetarian diet. He could no longer ignore the link to diet and health and he states he will never go back to his flesh eating ways. In his own words Andrew states: To work at Copper Branch it is not a requisite to be vegan per say, because again our mission is more health focused. But I’d say the majority of our team at the very least is very much inspired by the plant based movement and have incorporated  a lot more into their diet or have even transitioned into a vegetarian or vegan diet… And so for myself. It has been a journey or stance that I have taken, have held and I think I will hold for the rest of my life. The founder of Copper Branch is Andrew’s father Rio Infantino. Rio has an extensive 22 year history of work in the fast food industry. He was a multi unit franchise owner before he  liquidated… Read more »