With more than 45 outlets in the Pioneer Valley, Maple Mama Craft Spritzers has come a long way since Joe Laur and his wife, Sara Schley, started developing concoctions on their kitchen table.
Making syrup in their backyard for years, Schley, “chief mama maple,” and Laur, “maple officer,” decided they wanted to create soft drinks with syrup, instead of sugar, for their twins. Their success boomed when the twins made and sold the maple spritzers at a festival in Wendell, Mass. They made more money than anybody at the festival and decided they should go commercial with the beverage.
After a year and a half of development, Laur and Schley decided to give the product a shot and begin creating prototypes of the unique-tasting beverages. Then, they connected with Whole Foods about getting their spritzers on the shelves. The grocery chain liked the beverage in its early stages and helped them improve it.
The family moved to Worcester soon after to be closer to the spritzers’ bottler and natural, fresh ingredients. In 2016, Maple Mama hit the shelves of its first customer – Whole Foods. Laur began promoting his beverages at pizza parlors and neighborhood markets.
When asked what people could expect from the Maple Mama spritzers, Laur answered, “It depends on what you try.” Many people tell him that the beverage is “reminiscent of cream soda” and “reminds them of birch beer and egg creams that were sold at drug stores.”
According to Laur, the Fair Trade Vanilla is the fan favorite. “People make the face. Their eyes go wide.” The vanilla flavor is an unusual combination of dark, rich sweetness.
Another favorite maple spritzer is the Cold Brew Coffee.
How does the maple taste in the spritzer? It is very light and primarily sweet. Laur said that each formula blends with another flavor to give each spritzer flavor a unique taste.
Laur said every taste has a “nice maple finish,” and that his customers describe the beverages as “sweet enough without being too sweet.”
Maple Mama has big aspirations. Currently they have a few flavors in the works, including Maplechino, a blend of maple syrup that is mixed with milk, and Starbucks Cappuccino, with half the calories. Laur said he would like to have six to eight different flavors, including an almond, cola and cocoa bean.
Laur said he would like to be selling Maple Mama nationally in five years. Within the next year, Maple Mama is hoping to go regional.
If you’re looking for an alternative to sugary soda, check out Maple Mama at maplemamabeverages.com.
By Kendall Korengold