Drink – Non-alcoholic Winner 2021
Made in Edmonton
$2.50 each for bulk orders, $18 to $20 for gift packages of six
Productivity experts extoll the creativity-boosting virtues of taking a break. Lee-Ann Callan could be
exhibit A in proving them right.
Callan developed her innovative and delicious Beverage Bombs after a vacation in Mexico. During the trip, fellow travellers remarked that they loved the regional coffee concoctions but could never imagine replicating them at home. “It got me thinking that it shouldn’t be so hard to make specialty drinks at home,” she says.
At the time, Callan was operating an Edible franchise in Kelowna. When she got back home, she got to work in her commercial kitchen, testing different blends of tea, coffee and spices, as well as how to meld different ingredients into a convenient tablet form.
Her experiments resulted in the creation of Beverage Bombs — rose-shaped, condensed “bombs” that look like candies. Simply put one in a brew bag, tea-diffuser basket or French press, pour in boiling water or milk, let the bomb dissolve and enjoy. Beverage Bombs can also be served on ice or used for cocktails, such as white sangria made with the peach apricot tea bomb, or a mojito “teazer” made with the strawberry-mint herbal tea bomb. A few of Callan’s most popular flavours include Caramel Macchiato, Mocha Milano, London Fog and Firefly Chai. She plans to roll out a maple-coffee flavour soon.
Callan eventually gave up her Edible franchise and moved back to Edmonton, where she now operates a commercial kitchen from her home. She works with her daughter Cali and 80-year-old mother, Myrna. Callan does most of the production herself: she hand-grinds the spices, mixes and heats all the ingredients in a pot and then pours the mixture in a custom-made depositing machine (made by Edmonton’s Diamond Processing Solutions) to set. Myrna helps with labelling and Cali runs the booth at Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market and helps with social media.
Callan does her best to source ingredients locally. She gets some of her coffee from Tea & Coffee Company in Edmonton and her teas from other places in Canada.
Beverage Bombs launched shortly before pandemic restrictions were put in place in 2020. While Callan took a big revenue hit at first, the one upside is that the pandemic afforded her time to work with her mother and daughter when everyone was feeling the sting of isolation. “It brought us a lot closer together, and maybe we wouldn’t have spent that much time together if it wasn’t for what I do,” she says. Now revenue is trending upwards, especially after Beverage Bombs was included in the Make It Box, a curated product box that ships across Canada.
Currently, Callan is rolling out Beverage Bombs into Sobeys and Safeway locations across the province, renting a space to build up to a larger kitchen and, perhaps, even looking to expand her team. That said, she’s focused on not becoming a victim of her own early success. “I’m trying to ramp up production to stockpile product before the full Sobeys rollout because I’m at other retailers, too,” she says. “I want to control how busy it gets because the worst thing I could do is go into all these stores, then they want all this product, and I can’t supply.”
She has also been preparing for a major rush during the holiday shopping season. If you’re looking for a delicious gift in a beautiful package, don’t hesitate to place an order.
Photograph: Jared Sych | Writer: Colin Gallant
DRINK – NON-ALCOHOLIC WINNER AND RUNNERS-UP 2021
Made in Alberta Awards
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