|Wisconsin’s 2014 Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge Recap|
|Blogs - Alcoholmanac Blog|
By Dave McGraw
Wisconsin, especially Milwaukee, is a haven for foodies. Discerning members of the food world have long viewed our culture as a true testing ground―if it succeeds here, it will likely succeed elsewhere. The 2014 Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge is exactly the kind of event that helps to reveal what that next foodie trend may be. The Challenge saw its final round of judging on Thursday, July 17. Here is a recap of the event.
There are two categories for this competition: Startup & Early Stage. This year, Top Note Tonics won the Startup category, while poSaNa Organics won the Early Stage category. The Hottest Kitchen Challenge seeks to help new business concepts get off the ground (Startup) and give them the much-needed push that a new business needs (Early Stage) to really start making waves in their market. The contestants are all about filling a niche on the local level.
Top Note Tonics produces non-alcoholic aperitivo sodas styled after their Italian-bred forerunners. These herbal tonics include flavors such as lemon, orange, vanilla, clove and ginger in their three flagship offerings. Top Note Tonics uses half the sugar of regular sodas and, being a bitter aperitivo, they will appeal to those who look for something a bit different. Unique yet approachable, these are perfect for drinking as standalone non-alcoholic drinks, but mix especially well with alcohol. These are sodas that round off the bitterness of their herbal nature with the topnote flavors of lemon, orange and gentian tonic.
poSaNa Organics, the winner of the Early Stage category, specializes in selling baking mixes that are organic, gluten-free, low-glycemic and have no refined sugars and use only sprouted, organic grains. After noticing a surprising lack of products in this foodie (and allergen-aware) genre, poSaNa Organics was inspired to create nourishing, nutrient-dense products that are not just delicious, but also offer unique ingredient combinations. Partnered with local tea importers, Rishi Tea, poSaNa features a baking mix for Rishi Blueberry Rooibos-Infused Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins. This new company is providing consumers with with healthful, gluten-free and (hopefully soon-to-be-certified) organic baking products for the home kitchen.