My name is Alex and we started Quina Fina in 2009 with an idea to make the best Tonic Water possible. My research led me on a journey to the Province of Loja, the birth place of Cinchona, high in the Andes of Ecuador.
On my travels it became clear that the people of Loja had seen little for their endemic offering. Their once vibrant Cinchona bark trade had been exhausted by colonial powers through extensive deforestation.
To reverse this negative impact, we worked alongside the community to create this unique project. We've fostered strong relationships with the Tapia-Castro family, Cinchona enthusiast Jorge and the Biology Department at UPTL University.
With this support we have built a Cinchona nursery and begun vital propogation research.
As an independent project, we intend for it to create its own economic and environmental sustainability to help protect this important plant.
Quina Fina Tonic Water will provide demand for replenishable harvests of bark - funding employment, research and repopulation for ‘Quina Fina de Loja’, with active involvement in the community.
The money we raise will go towards:
- Expenses at UPTL to germinate our seedlings
- Transport for Jorge to navigate the road to and from the remote site
- Materials and equipment for propagation
- Organic fertilizer, pots, and irrigation
- Extending our greenhouse for our growing numbers of Cinchona
- Further research with Carlos and UTPL to create efficient re-population methods
The Tapia Castro Family
The generous Tapia Castro Family have been vital to our success so far, offering both the use of their land and assistance. Passionate about Loja and the Cinchona, Eduardo has been a key developer of the Cinchona project since the beginning.
Jorge Alvarado Tapia
Jorge is Eduardo's nephew and a recent graduate of San Francisco University in Ecuador's capital of Quito. Qualified as an agribusiness Engineer and specializing in Cinchona, Jorge is perfect to manage the plantation in Loja.
UPTL is Loja's main technical institution. We work with Carlos Ivan Espinsoa to germinate seedlings which are transported to the greenhouse. Carlos has a PHD in Biology, conducting research into genetic variability and the different propagation methods for Cinchona. Carlos' technical input has been invaluable to the project.
AMAUTA Escuela de Educación Básica
Amauta is a small primary school located near our greenhouse in Loja. Students both assist with the maintenance at the nursery and learn about its history and importance to the region.
A Quick History of The Cinchona Tree
Quina Fina is a small, unique company with big ambitions. We've used all resources available, enlisting the help of family and friends to help Quina Fina grow.
Alex's brother, Thomas Gledhill, who has been involved with Quina Fina from the beginning, is also involved in getting The Cinchona Project Kickstarter out to the world; managing our Kickstarter launch.
After extensive development and much hard work, our Tonic Water was released in New Zealand to much acclaim. We were awarded the coveted Supreme Winner of the 2013 Cuisine Artisan Awards. Quina Fina saw an increase in demand that has brought the product to Australia, Singapore and soon, the United States.
2014 started with the release of two new members of the Quina Fina family, Bitter Lemon and our Extra Bitter Tonic Water - which we've also made available to our contributors.
Using the range to directly raise funds for our raw material is an ideal opportunity to do the best for both our product, and provenance.
Risks and challenges
Because this is a first, it's relatively uncharted territory.
Cinchona bark has historically been collected in the wild, this is the first nursery and population program.
We have involved a world class technical institution, an Agribusiness Engineer and an extended team connected to the Cinchona and are confident we can succeed.
Another factor is the weather, in the Andes it can be unstable, with long periods of rain. We have set up our own weather system to measure and handle any changes.
We will have a Quina Fina production run especially for the Kickstarter rewards. Because we use a contract bottler, there is always the possibility for delays, due to ingredient shipment delays or machinery issues, or even because the bottling plant is too busy. We have an established relationship with the brewers and will have all the raw ingredients ready to go. All we are waiting for is the numbers!
We are based in New Zealand and manufacture the product here. We plan to send our rewards overseas, to Australia and the United States. There is always a possibility of unforeseen shipping delays, however we have established distribution channels in each of these countries, so we will be well prepared.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)