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!
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.
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
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.
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.
Berraquera can be muddled with fresh herbs - mint for an alcohol-free mojito - and spices - lovely warmed with cinnamon in winter.
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).
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.
To complete finance for the first production run from the new shipment, we need at least £2k.
To launch the first production run with confidence, and start the ball rolling for the second.
To launch the first production run with great confidence, and make a significant contribution to the second run, estimated for the Summer.
To launch the first production run with tremendous confidence, and bring the second run forward to this Spring.
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!.
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.
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.
Risks and challenges
> 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.
> 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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)