The beverage market has been filling up with craft brands for few years now. Consumers in this market are looking for beverages with history, authenticity, and unique taste. Gardu muti is a soft drink brand located in Latvia, in the Baltic States. With a great taste, successful marketing strategy and product branding, the brand is starting to step into the international market. Today, I have the pleasure of talking with Liena Kreišmane.
Brand Gardu muti started as a part from gourmands’ market „Ar Gardu muti Valmiermuižā” which popularizes Latvian annual solstice festivities (eight times per year), to favour the activities of local craftsman and farmers, and to develop Valmiermuiža gourmet tourism in Latvia. Gardu muti is a movement launched by the gourmands from Valmiermuiža Craft Brewery that seeks to nurture and celebrate the purest flavours emanating from the land of Latvia. Main idea for this movement is to revive long forgotten, but extremely valuable abundance of Latvia’s natural delicacies, herbs, plants and berries, continually concocting new bouquets from age-old flavours and fragrances. First soda drink – Gardu muti Latvian Bio Quince Soda was made in 2015, in honour of the 3rd anniversary of this gourmands’ market in Valmiermuiža. Now this movement in Valmiermuiža not only develops and cherishes tastes for soda drinks and organizes tasty events.
One of the main challenges is collaboration with our suppliers – to receive high quality ingredients grown only on fields in Latvia. We couldn’t realize this idea without help of Latvia’s farmers and producers’ participation. This collaboration guarantees that we purchase only fruits and berries that has grown in Latvia’s soil, despite the fact that it would be cheaper if we imported few of those ingredients.
Also, quite a big challenge is to develop the right taste. We aimed to bring back those childhood memories about how real, homemade soda should taste.
Through the process of creation, we do judge all possible ingredients twice – so at the end we can offer healthy, naturally tasty alternative to the drinks you can find on store shelves.
Beverage industry competition is quite big here in Latvia. Few years ago in stores there were mostly imported drinks with really strong usage traditions all over the world. We are very happy that in those three years we were able to create a niche – soda from natural ingredients and minimal added sugar amount which come from our – Latvian land. Due to the interest we are glad to see that Latvians not only appreciate naturalness but also our roots, too.
All of our drinks have pure flavour of Latvia. We create our soda drinks by following traditional recipe – combining syrup with water and bubbles, no artificial sweeteners or aroma-compounds. We obtain water from Valmiermuiža’s 120 metre deep borehole, which we enrich with carbon dioxide to give it some zing. All ingredients – syrups and berries, we buy from local farmers and producers.
At this moment in Latvia’s market we sell nine Gardu muti soda flavours: bio quince soda, rhubarb soda, lingonberry soda, choke-berry soda, forest herb chilled tea, bio birch sap, strawberry soda and lingonberry – pine bud soda.
My absolute favorite is Rhubarb soda which definitely reminds me of my childhood, when my grandma used to boil rhubarbs to create warm, a bit bitter but quite a sweet drink. I do feel my roots, when I open a bottle of the Gardu muti Rhubarb drink.
What I love is that we create loads of tastes dedicated to special events. I believe that this is how we will develop tastes in the future, too. For example, for kids Theater Festival which happened in our nearest town Valmiera we developed a special cherry and apple taste. We trusted kids with label design through making a competition for it. As a result, natural and refreshing soda was “dressed up” in 6 different labels, because it was really hard to choose the winner.
Another example, Latvia is celebrating 100 years next year. Movement 1836 created a pass all around Latvia’s border. Together with them we created our special – Latvia’s taste – lingonberry, pine bud soda. For Festival Playground 2017 we created strawberry and chili soda; and in the begging of this year Latvian cartoon “Singing Hugo” was premiered so we created a strawberry soda, which is the most beloved taste amongst kids.
I would say – understanding the value you get for the price. Our soda drinks are full with natural ingredients and through taste, smell and colour it’s possible to feel all the best you can receive from our land. Drinks also contain antioxidants which gives them even greater value. It’s very important that no extra sugar is added, or any other food additives. Gardu muti soda consists of sugar 6-8 g/100ml, which is considerably less than other popular drinks that consist of more than 10g/100ml.
Currently our website is only in Latvian. We launched English and Russian version for Valmiermuiža Crafted Brewery website, so this is the place where, at this moment, it’s possible to find out more about Gardu muti soda drinks and gourmands’ markets “Ar Gardu muti Valmiermuižā”. We export quite a lot to Lithuania and Estonia and our goal is to spread Latvia’s taste more and more through Europe, so we are working on it.
Yes, you are so right. Team is what keeps all this going – developing tastes, collecting reviews, creating the best shaped bottles and outfits (labels) for them. You will be able to find our team members in the first row in farmer’s market offering to try new tastes. We do believe that without tasting you won’t be able to form an opinion, so that’s why degustation is one of the main tools. Our brewery has a shop and beer kitchen in Valmiermuiža and in our capital city Rīga. Those are the places where you can go and ask to try something which catches your eye. Each month one of the tastes is our hero taste. Our main target audience is progressive thinking people who looks after what they put in the mouth, what they give to their kids, who appreciates natural Latvian products and tastes. So, all I can say – people who love to enjoy!
For more information visit Gardu Muti website.