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Published Tuesday, November 10, 2015

An Idea to Drink To

One in a series of articles on Women in Business

By Amy Forman

Allison Goldberg makes a drink with Fruitations, an all natural craft soda and cocktail mixer.

When Allison Goldberg’s two children asked for soda, the Lynn mother, who prefers to serve her family natural foods, was forced to say no because she could not find a suitable soft drink without artificial ingredients in the supermarket.

At the same time, Goldberg — who handles sales for New England Cranberry of Lynn, the company she owns with her husband Ted Stux — was looking for something to add to her drink of choice, seltzer.

In a “Eureka” moment inspired by her exposure at food shows, she decided to develop her own all-natural drink mixer two years ago. “I got cranberries from the office, took sugar from my kitchen, and cooked it together with water. It was delicious,” she said of her simple, three-ingredient recipe.

Her children – Julian, 12, and Chloe, 9, who are students at Cohen Hill Academy in Marblehead – loved it, and so did friends who were taste testers. After one suggested that her creation would work equally as well with vodka, Goldberg went to work getting it out as a drink product to be paired with craft soda as well as alcohol.

And so Fruitations, a craft soda and cocktail mixer that also comes in grapefruit and tangerine flavors, was born, and Goldberg began to manufacture and market her all natural creation.

Initially, she tried to interest existing clients of New England Cranberry, which specializes in premium cranberry condiments (since buying it in 2003, the couple has grown the company; their popular Cranberry Pepper Jelly and other cranberry based products are sold nationally in Whole Foods, and in large regional players.). But her big break came at the Boston Cocktail Summit, an annual three-day celebration of Boston’s cocktail culture, where she struck up a conversation with a liquor distributor while attending a lecture on mixers. She ended up sharing her story – and her bottle of Cranberry Fruitations – with the crowd, which included some nationally known bartenders. One of them ultimately used the grapefruit flavor at an industry convention in New Orleans in July 2013.

“That was how Fruitations really took off,” said Goldberg, adding that it began to be used at trend-setting bars across the country. “People are now serving it in bars in Las Vegas and New York and Boston.”

At the same time, Fruitations was picked up by Roche Brothers and a new restaurant chain, and is being shopped around by distributors across the country. More flavors are in the pipeline, and Goldberg would love to see it being sold for use with home carbonation systems.

With an undergraduate degree from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and a master’s degree in International Marketing from ESSEC Paris, Goldberg is up for the challenges ahead, alongside Stux, who handles operations.

“With Fruitations, we are providing solutions to make a better tasting, all natural drink that customers want, whether it is made at home, or ordered at a bar,” said Goldberg, “You just have to believe that what you are doing is the right path. I see this path, and I know it is right.”

Fruitations is available locally at Kappy’s, Becky’s in Marblehead and Whole Foods.

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