Locally based Ether Elixir released a Blackberry Cobbler flavor of its kefir juice drink last month, and it’s turning out to be all the rage. This holiday flavor, Blackberry Cobbler Formula No. 4, is made with organic Washington pear juice with organic blackberry concentrate, organic cardamom, organic sweet cinnamon and organic toasted coconut. Did we say organic? The new flavor is available now in local stores, including Oliver’s Fine Foods and Roy Pope. It accompanies Ether Elixir’s original concoction, pear-flavored Formula No.1.
The brains and cook behind the operation is self-taught vegan chef Autumn Warren. She began working on a non-dairy kefir (the liquid equivalent of yogurt that originated in Eastern Europe) out of her home kitchen in Fairmount four years ago to satisfy the needs of her lactose-intolerant kids. Through trial and error, and a flash fermentation process, Warren created an entirely new beverage category.
“It confuses stores because they don’t really know where to put us,” said Warren. That hasn’t stopped stores from carrying the product. Ether Elixir launched in August, the next month the Warrens opened a bottling plant next to Paschal High School, and now products are already sold in more than 40 stores throughout the Dallas – Fort Worth area.
“We are excited to be a Fort Worth-created product with a Fort Worth presence,” said Richard Warren, Autumn’s husband and business partner.
Kombucha drinkers will find it familiar. But kombucha is made from fermented tea, sugar and a “mother” concoction – this mix makes it difficult to determine the actual strains of bacteria and yeast that are present. Kefir – which uses controlled strains of bacteria and yeast – boasts many pros that that help keep your gut healthy. To create Ether Elixir, Warren uses flash fermentation to add good bacteria and yeast to each batch of the 100 percent organic juice. That works to consume and reduce some of the naturally occurring fructose. This results in a carbonated juice drink with a third less sugar and half the calories of most.
It also results, more importantly, in the only juice kefir on the market today, which is why stores have been quick to stock the product…even if they don’t know quite which shelf to put it on. “We’re not a yogurt, we’re not a supplement and we’re not necessarily a juice,” said Richard Warren.
Either way, the husband and wife duo knows they have something special. “Immediately after you drink it, it makes you feel really good,” says Richard Warren.
That’s a welcome departure from most holiday cobblers.
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