Kosherfest, New Jersey 2017

Kosherfest

On Monday I arrived at the Meadowlands Exposition Center for Kosherfest 2017. This is the largest trade show for kosher food. Two years ago I went to Anuga in Koln, Germany, which was at least 10 times larger, but it is still impressive to see so many kosher manufacturers, Kosher supervisors and other Jewish businesses in one exposition.

There is a growing number of kosher producers of healthier foods.

Booth

My booth was a regular sized  booth in the corner near the exit. The show logistics had delivered all of my boxes to the booth instead of the refrigerator. But at least they were there.Ginger BeerSo I had to haul 200kg of Ginger Tipple 200m to the fridge.

My customer, Belgium in a Box sent over the boxes and each bottle had been individually wrapped to prevent breakage, and they had to be unwrapped.

American Stores

After sorting out the bottles, I went shopping for buckets to keep the bottles on ice and a few other necessities. I walked five minutes to Sam’s Club, it took longer just to walk around the store, it was massive. And the Walmart next door was just as large. Absolutely amazing.

New Products

Everything costs at these shows, and I had paid for listing Ginger Tipple as a new product. There was also a competition for best new products in different categories, mine was alcoholic beverages. I did not win the prize, it want to an organic winery. But I had to bring my samples to the display case at a certain time. Some of the visitors to the booth came especially because they had seen Ginger Tipple in the new products display case, so it works.

The Show Begins

Ginger BeerEven before the show officially opened, journalists were running around, and we attracted a lot of attention. It was impossible to predict who would love Ginger Tipple, who would hate it and who would ask for a refill, and then another refill.  And some returned an hour later for even more!

The first day did not stop. The second day was quieter, but still interesting.

Objectives

As the world’s only Passover beer, one of my objectives was to secure orders for Passover 2018. Quite a few hotel organisers placed orders or will be once they are more progressed with their plans.

The other objective was to find distributors, and this was a problem. In a few states, New York in particular, liquor stores and distributors cannot sell beer. While there were a few New York based wine importers but they could not help me. Other wine importers like Royal Wine – Kedem, want to work with me but do not have a beer license. Apparently, these restrictions date from after the Prohibition when each state structured its alcohol distribution differently and to fit vested interests.

Conclusions

I will be returning home with some orders and other interesting projects. I know that Ginger Tipple is a good drink, but it was reassuring to hear the responses of people who came to the booth because they had heard that this was a product they had to taste.

The jury was split on which label they preferred, the old or the new.

As Arnold Schwazeneger would say “I’ll be back!”

 

 

 

Kosherfest – Here We Come

Kosherfest 2017

To be precise, here I come.

I have exhibited at trade show before for companies where I have worked, but this is the first time it is my own business.

Kosherfest is considered the largest trade show for kosher food in the world and it attracts over 5,000 visitors, all of whom have to be in the business. It is not open to the general public. The tickets cost $100, and trust me the booths are much more expensive.

Importing Beer in the US

Immediately after booking the booth I investigated how to ship samples of Ginger Tipple to the US. I am entitled to import into the US bottles of beer which will not be for sale and only for use at a show. It is called a COLA exemption. Sounds simple, until your bottles arrive the the port of entry.

None of the shipping companies can estimate the cost of customs clearance, and a missing logo, symbol or warning will mean that you goods are stuck there. Then you have to pay for storage at customs and even more to the customs agent who now has to do more work to sort out the labels.

I would also have to find an importer to be the FDA importer of record, not too difficult, there is a company in France which will arrange it for $650. But once they are on record, if you want to change to a different importer they have to be willing to relinquish the honour. I was warned that there have a quite a few cases where they charge you a lot of money for the privilege.

Belgium in a Box

Kurt from Belgium in a Box specialises in shipping beer to the US and he advised shipping the beer by parcel post. It was quite expensive, but he has a very high delivery success rate. There are the big advantages of neither customs nor the FDA getting involved.

The bottles have arrived at the logistics company for the show – they charge an arm and a leg for receiving the boxes, holding them for 2 weeks and bringing them to the show.  And if your boxes arrive after a certain date, they will charge even more. But, for that price you are guaranteed that your boxes will be in the right place on the right date.

To date, all of that has been arranged and now I have to finalise the marketing materials and an assistant for the show.

 

Meug – I am serious, Ginger Tipple is better

Meug

Last week I had the privilege of attending a Meug beer tasting event. I say privilege because there are a limited number of tickets and the organizers bring seven off-center beers for us to enjoy, or not!

I use the term ‘off center’ as a quote from Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware, USA, which specializes in beers which take you out of your comfort zone. They also brew some amazing regular beers, especially their 60, 90 and 120 minute IPAs.

Ginger Beer, Ginger Tipple

Mombasa

The tasting was held at Cafe Mombasa, run by Rein Adons who opened up a trendy beer bar in the center of Antwerp’s Muslim suburb of Borgehout.  It is one of the few places where you can buy Du Pont’s Saison on tap.

The Beers

Each beer was presented at the correct temperature but was served blind, we had no idea what was attacking our senses.

But when you drink beers, some of them quite expensive, and you can taste that a commercial fruit syrup was used instead of the fresh fruit or some of the ingredients were overpowering you start to think. On of my sons was with me and he summed it up “you can brew a bad beer and sell it very well for beer tastings only.”

Encouragement

The truth is that Frederik & Jeroen wanted to show us beers which we would most probably never buy, but there were two there which I would like to drink again, while two others were so sweet that I did not finish the glass.

It also shows that there is a lot of potential for Ginger Tipple!