The Telegram (St. John's)
Totally Radler, man
St. John’s beverage company launches fourth product, new website for online orders
New product launched for beer lovers
Having already conquered the local cocktail-enhancement market with a trio of products, The Third Place Cocktail Co. is now tapping into the beer market.
On Friday, the company cofounded by Dan Meades and Kris Smith launched Radler, a “complex and citrus heavy concentrate” that can be added to your favourite light-bodied brew — traditionally a pilsner, lager or wheat beer — to transform it into a shandy-like beverage renowned for its refreshing and thirst-quenching taste.
“We like beer a lot and we love that the beer scene in Newfoundland and Labrador is exploding right now and we feel like there’s some cool opportunities to help people drink great local craft beer in the summer time as a radler that’s really fun and really interesting,” explains Meades.
It comes on the heels of the company’s initial and highly vaunted Tonic, ideally paired with gin, the Ginger Rose for whiskey cocktails, and the Elderflower vodka cocktail enhancer launched earlier this year.
Radler, with German roots, remains a staple summer-time beverage in Western Europe to this day and most major breweries in Canada have hopped on the shandy and radler train in recent years. The Newfoundland Liquor Corporation, for instance, offers a number of ready-made varieties.
Meades says some of those products are quite tasty, but Third Place’s goal has always been about identifying gaps and opportunities in the market for consumers who want something different. In this case it was about offering the consumer a chance to make a less sweet radler out of a beer of his or her own choosing.
“We wanted people to be able to have fun at home trying different beer and turning whatever beer they really like, whatever turns them on, into a radler and our product can do that.”
In doing so, consumers can get a beer with a higher alcohol content than the mass-produced product.
“Most of the radlers you’re going to find at the NLC are really low alcohol percentage, two and a half per cent to 2.8 per cent, and that’s kind of inefficient drinking for me,” he says.”
“I want a beer that’s got the amount of alcohol a beer is supposed to have.”
The idea to add a beer flavour infuser to the company’s lineup of products — the original Tonic, Ginger Rose, Elderflower — came about a year ago, but it took some time to perfect.
“These have got hundreds of iterations before they get to the place where we can bring them to market,” he says. “It’s a real tough job trying all that delicious radler with interesting beer.”
In fine-tuning the product, Meades and Smith were fortunate to have the support and guidance from local brewing companies including Quidi Vidi Brewing Company, Port Rexton Brewer and the Yellow Belly Brewery.
“Craft beer tends to have a really diff bitterness and hop profile than mass-produced beer,” he explains. “They spent a lot of time with us helping us understand the different types of hops and how they use them in beer and how we needed to balance the sweetness and bitterness of a product to fit with craft beer.”
At Friday’s launch party at Olio Pizza the Radler will be paired with a rice lager from Yellow Belly Brewery and on Saturday Smith will be pairing it with Port Rexton’s Baycation Blonde during the brewery’s one-year birthday celebration.
“When you get some of the finest brewers in the country that happen to be right here in St. john’s that are all really excited about pairing their good craft beer with this stuff, that’s a good indication that we’re on the right track,” gushes Meades.
If you can’t make it to one of those events, Meades says the first batch is already on shelves at a number of retail locations in Newfoundland and at a handful of places throughout Canada. You can also sample it, along with Third Place’s three other products, at one of the 18 restaurants and bars on the island portion of the province.
“I was at Rocket (Bakery) this morning at eight o’clock when they opened to stock the shelves there and there were people waiting outside to go in and buy a bottle,” says Meades.
And if none of those options are available, the company has just launched its website where customers can order and have their preferred product — or all four — shipped directly to them.
“Canada’s really big and even though we’ve worked pretty hard ot make sure folks in most big markets have a chance to get our tonic we felt like there was a cool opportunity to help people outside major cities to order some product.”
The company, which has yet to celebrate its two-year anniversary, will see it product line nearly double before the year is out. Meades says they’re at work developing another product for the current line as well as an entirely new separate line of products that harkens back to the prohibition era.
“The basis of this company is finding ways to bring back old ways of thinking about cocktails and that’s really where our focus has been.”
Check them outline at thethirdplacecocktails.com.