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A punchy new soft drink and cocktail mixer based on Lulo, an exotic fruit from Colombia, backing biodiversity for peace.
20 backers pledged £2,092 to help bring this project to life.

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Colombia has a tremendous wealth of biodiversity and is one of the planet's 17 mega-diverse countries. The nation enjoys over 70 fruits, many of which are unknown in Europe.

Berraquera is a new drink for the UK hospitality industry based on lulo, an exotic fruit from Colombia: a drink for the venturous!

  • Venture to try something really different here in the UK: Lulo
  • Back a venture in biodiversity for peace in Colombia

A well-loved Colombian word [pronounced berakera], berraquera is the passion, courage and determination of the venturous. It's the creative energy and resilience to overcome adversity, push through and make dreams reality. This is happening today in Colombia...

Start 2016 with a fresh, healthy venture into a new world of taste!

Lulo Plantation, Eje Cafetero
Lulo Plantation, Eje Cafetero

Colombia: A New Season

On 23rd September, a breakthrough in the Colombian Peace Process was announced, together with the aim of signing a Peace Agreement by 23rd March, see BBC news report. The goal is to end over 50 years of internal conflict, which has displaced over 5 million people, overwhelmingly from the countryside. (Read more in October's Economist Special Report The Promise of Peace.) The Peace Agreement is a framework, within which practical projects can be planned and implemented in different regions to nurture a new era.

In 2011 The Law of Victims & Restitution of Lands was passed. The Land Restitution Unit has already returned over 100,000 hectares, see the story of a farmer returning to his farm 12 years after being displaced, see video (in Spanish).

Our company, Fruto del Espíritu, was set up to open new overseas markets for smallholder Colombian farmers growing exotic fruit:

  • We started by selling exotic Lulo, Mora and Maracuyá purées to a niche market of cocktails bars, including well-known venues in Park Lane, Knightsbridge and Covent Garden.
  • This month a 10-tonne shipment of frozen fruit arrived, 90% lulo, taking operations to a commercial scale for the Berraquera drink.
  • Our ultimate goal is to mobilise the berraquera of the market so as to contract future harvests for land returned to displaced people.
How we started: Alcohol-free, Andean Fruit Cocktails, King's Road, Chelsea. Photo: Chris Kewish
How we started: Alcohol-free, Andean Fruit Cocktails, King's Road, Chelsea. Photo: Chris Kewish

To reach a wider circle of discerning drinkers, we are preparing to launch Berraquera, a punchy soft drink based on lulo, an exotic fruit which tastes like gooseberry or kiwi, with a floral aroma.  

For those who long for a distinctive alcohol-free drink with character, Berraquera is both very natural (over 99% fruit - no added water or sugar), not too sweet - and has a bit of a kick.

The complex flavour of Lulo, together with the intensity of Berraquera ("strength") makes the drink a great cocktail mixer, particularly with liqueurs. See more at www.berraquera.co.uk

Berraquera - a drink for the venturous
Berraquera - a drink for the venturous

Served with ice, it makes a great pairing for chicken, fish or cheese. Served as a spritzer, it is as refreshing as a lime and soda, or sparkles with Prosecco. 

Berraquera on ice
Berraquera on ice

Bartenders from hotels, cocktail bars and a national restaurant chain, have been coming up with new drinks recipes. A menu of recipe ideas is among the rewards. 

La Pasión del Lulo – Carlos Londoño
La Pasión del Lulo – Carlos Londoño

Berraquera can be muddled with fresh herbs - mint for an alcohol-free mojito - and spices - lovely warmed with cinnamon in winter. 

Berraquera - made for muddling with herbs & spices. Photo LWA Photography.
Berraquera - made for muddling with herbs & spices. Photo LWA Photography.

The ideal garnish is an uchuva (uva = grape, uchuva = little grape) or physalis (orange berry covered in leaves) - lulo's little cousin which is smaller, sweeter, grows at higher altitude, is easy to find in the UK and can be muddled into the lulo!. Check out more about fruits and the farmers at https://www.facebook.com/berraquera.venturous.taste 

How it all began

The commitment with Colombia began following several months at the Carvajal Foundation in Cali, assisting with self-build housing projects. During this time a shocking tragedy occurred. This presented the challenge to find a long-term, sustainable way to contribute as a British citizen, and enable others to do the same.

The ethos, strategies and impact of Fundación Carvajal inspired an MSc dissertation on Business Involvement and Enterprise in Social Development, based on case studies of 20 Colombian business-backed foundations.

A couple of years later, having finally qualified as an architect but with the plan to set up an exotic fruit company, I met my future husband Alfredo. He said - when no one else was taking it seriously - that he'd offer the moral support to make the dream a reality.

All these experiences have been invested in this enterprise, which is financed overwhelmingly by ordinary people who want their fruit or juice purchases to make a difference.

Our members, friends and customers have backed us to reach almost £30,000 for the current upscaling operation. This has covered the purchase of a 10 tonne shipment of frozen fruit pulp, 90% lulo; with all the microbiology, heavy metals and pesticide tests. It passed through UK customs on Tues 10th, arriving at the cold store Thurs 12th November.

£14,000 (up from £12.000 when we made the video) has come through advance commitment for drinks as offered here on Kickstarter and as seen on the video. Can you help us double this?

  • 24 x 25cl Berraqueras - punchy Lulo & Apple Drinks
  • 12 x 75cl Andean Fruit Apple Juices - Pressed Apple Juice blended with refreshing Lulo; deep, rich Mora (Andean Blackberry) and tangy Maracuyá (Passionfruit).
75cl Andean Fruit  Apple Juices
75cl Andean Fruit Apple Juices

Fruto del Espíritu has always been a social enterprise, set up as a non-dividend company from the start, so we have been growing organically, as more and people catch the vision. Recently FdE became a CIC - a Community Interest Company. All profits are ploughed back into our mission to increase income for our beneficary community of smallholder Colombian farmers, prioritising wherever possible those adversely affected by conflict.  

We try to create opportunities for the fruit farmers to engage with UK customers. Asolideragro, an association of young farmers from Antioquia, have skyped with both our commercial and community customers. They have created a collage of the culture behind their Mora, which they hope will enaMour you and finance more live links - see rewards.

Visit to Asolideragro - Young Farmers with Big Dreams!
Visit to Asolideragro - Young Farmers with Big Dreams!

Kickstarter Goals 

Minimum £2k

To complete finance for the first production run from the new shipment, we need at least £2k.

£4k

To launch the first production run with confidence, and start the ball rolling for the second.

£7k

To launch the first production run with great confidence, and make a significant contribution to the second run, estimated for the Summer.

£10k

To launch the first production run with tremendous confidence, and bring the second run forward to this Spring.

£14k

To immediately proceed with both first and second production runs, giving the project a fabulous Kickstart to enter the hospitality sector.

Order your Andean Fruit Apple Juices for gifts, parties, dinner parties, celebrations, weddings, anniversaries, reception drinks at social and business events; barbecues and picnics!.

Rewards

Group 1 - Something for Everyone:

Through these small tokens, we'd like to thank you wherever you are in the world!

Group 2  - Drinking to Peace with Lulo & Berraquera!

If you are in the UK, we can send Cases of Berraqueras or limited edition Andean Fruit Apple Juices. Make sure you get yours ready to drink to peace this spring!

Group 3  - Venture Fruit

Berraquera is for the Venturous. if you'd like to make a more significant difference and are willing to wait longer, choose Venture Fruit. Your deposit can be drawn down later in 2016.

For more on peace in Colombia, watch Nov 19th's HARDtalk with the President of Colombia.

¡Gracias!

Thanks to Mauricio, Tony, Oz and Steve for their artistry on the audio-visuals. Thanks to Harper Collins for kind permission to use the map of Colombia.

Thanks to the team at the fruit factory, especially Maria & Laura, for their tireless work. Thanks to Richard T for working with us to develop the juices; Richard K for his sterling input on compliance; and Linda N for her unfailing support with food hygiene standards.

Thanks to Mark & Chris for their greatly valued mentoring. Thanks for pioneering and creating recipes to Charlotte, Milo, Annie, Johan, Greg and Jamie. Very warm thanks for this; for encouragement and promoting with Colombia passion, to Carlos, Esnayder & Roberto.

Special thanks to Dr Andrew O for promoting lulo in the South West and to Eileen for raising the fruits' profile in the West Midlands through Cattleya.

Thanks to our members, underwriters, aficionado and fruit-future customers; and to all who have organised events and co-ordinated hubs. Thanks to Frances and Sophie for the company and sales admin; and to Mum for all the practical support!

Above all, thanks to the Almighty for the inspiration, opportunity and provision to do this.

And thank you for reading this far! We hope you'll partner with us to kickstart trading - and drink to deep, lasting and fruitful peace.

Lulo - a fruitful future? Photo credit: Aslubel
Lulo - a fruitful future? Photo credit: Aslubel

Risks and challenges

Biggest Risks
> Food Hygiene Issues: These are minimal as pulp has been fully tested in Colombia; the bottling factory is an approved supplier of one of the UK's top retailers and all the microbiology tests on pilot runs of the Andean Apple Juices & Berraqueras have been fine. Nevertheless, we always test every batch.
> Labeling Issues - exceptionally low risk as we are purchasing from an industry leader, whom we have used several times before.

Biggest challenges:
> Timing of First Production Run: The label artwork is all set up, and following a visit to the bottling company on 1st December, will be signed off to print. Bottling can proceed immediately we reach £2,000, in early December if at all possible!
> Timing of Second Production Run: If you choose a reward from the second production run, we ask that you be prepared to patiently partner with us as the timing depends on the Kickstarter results and rate of commercial sales.
> Delays and mistakes by third parties

The project has been and is dependent on many suppliers and customers. The biggest challenge is to coordinate all on time with quality. The project bridges two very different worlds, and with the goodwill of all involved we look forward to bringing it to fruition.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £3 or more About $4

    Try the new drink! 1 x 25cl Berraquera bottle sent by post.

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    Pledge £5 or more About $6

    Sow a couple of seeds into Colombian biodiversity from wherever you are in the world! Finances 2 x 25cl Berraquera bottles as samples for hospitality professionals. Thank you - we'll put your name & country on our credits page for one year.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £6 or more About $8

    ¡Gracias! A colourful intro to Colombia, Exotic Fruit & Cocktails.
    Powerpoint sent by email

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    Pledge £9 or more About $11

    ¡Muchas Gracias! Berraquera Menu of Recipe Ideas: Soft Drinks, Spritzers, Latin Cocktails, Signature Drinks, Summer Splash, Winter Warmers, Cosmopolitan Cocktails - and the story behind them. 38 recipe ideas to spark your creativity. Sent by email

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    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    4 x white card Gift Boxes. Each takes 3 x 75cl Andean Fruit Apple Juices, as seen in video. Price includes postage & packing.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £12 or more About $15

    ¡Muchísimas Gracias! Berraquera Menu of Recipe Ideas. As above but elegantly printed with white card cover. As seen in the video. Sent by post.

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    Pledge £12 or more About $15

    EnaMora Collage: "Mora: behind this fruit is a culture that will enamour You". Created by the young farmers of the Mora (Andean Blackberry) region of Eastern Antioquia. Each Collage finances a skype session betweeen young farmers Asolideragro and a professional in the UK hospitality industry, as piloted in a top Knightsbridge bar. Collage as seen in the video. Sent by email.

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  8. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £24 or more About $30

    Berraquera Cotton Roots Fairtrade T-Shirt.
    As seen in the video.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £39 or more About $49

    Live Link (1 hour) to Mauricio Piedrahita of Pimedios in Bogota, who - accompanied by an interpreter - will show you how lovely fresh lulos are and explain how he came up with the graphic concepts behind Berraquera and the Andean Fruit Apple Juices as well as answering your questions about Colombia. All income from this reward will finance more graphic design for the Berraquera campaign by Sr Piedrahita.

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    Pledge £52 or more About $66

    12x75cl Andean Fruit Apple Juices comprising: 6 x refreshing Lulo; 4 x tangy Maracuyá (Passionfruit;), 2 x deep, rich, Mora (Andean Blackberry). Story & Map on back: great gifts! From first production run. Best before end October 2017.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £52 or more About $66

    12x75cl Andean Fruit Apple Juices comprising: 6 x refreshing Lulo; 4 x tangy Maracuyá (Passionfruit;), 2 x deep, rich, Mora (Andean Blackberry). Story & Map on back: great gifts!
    From second production run. Best before end January 2018.

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    Pledge £62 or more About $78

    24x25cl Berraquera Lulo & Apple Drinks / Cocktail Mixers. Perfect for parties.
    From first production run.
    Best before end October 2017.

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    Pledge £62 or more About $78

    Sponsor a Case of Samples for the Marketing Canpaign: 24 x 25cl Berraquera Drinks. We will thank you on the Berraquera website; email you a Powerpoint, Cocktail Menu and Enamora Collage; and send you a sample bottle if in the UK or Ireland!

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge £112 or more About $142

    Try Them All!
    12x75cl Andean Fruit Apple Juices:
    6xLulo; 4xMaracuyá; 2xMora.
    24x25cl Berraqueras.
    All as described above. Save on delivery.
    From first production run.
    Best before end October 2017.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge £155 or more About $196

    Go large on Andean Fruit Apple Juices!
    36x75cl Andean Apple Fruit Juices:
    12xLulo, 12xMaracuyá; 12xMora.
    Story & Map on back. Great gifts!
    From first production run.
    Best before October 2017.

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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge £192 or more About $243

    Enjoy Them All!
    36x75cl Andean Fruit Apple Juices:
    12xLulo; 12xMora 12x Maracuyá. Story/Map on back:
    24 x 25cl Berraqueras - perfect for parties.
    From first production run.
    Best before October 2017.

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    Pledge £300 or more About $380

    Venture Fruit 300:
    6 Cases of Andean Fruit Apple Juices or Berraqueras.
    Can be delivered together or as 2 deliveries of 3 Cases between July - December 2016.
    Recommended for a group.
    From second production run.
    Best before end January 2018.

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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge £600 or more About $759

    Venture Fruit 600:
    12 Cases of Andean Fruit Apple Juices or Berraqueras.
    Can be delivered all 12 together or as 1 delivery of 6 Cases plus 6 deliveries of 1 Case at any time July - December 2016.
    From second production run.
    Best before end January 2018.
    Solve gifts for the next year in one go!

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Funding period

- (33 days)