Experimental vinegar company takes category to the next level

A quick glance at the Acid League website Quickly reveals that the Toronto-based vinegar business doesn’t sell what you usually find on grocery shelves. Instead of generic red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and balsamic vinegar, there are raw, unfiltered “living vinegars” with flavors like strawberry rosé, jalapeño. mango and smoked malt. Things get even weirder on their “Experimental Editions” page, with limited-release products described as “flavor-in-acid trigger experiments.” Here you will find vinegars made from stalks of celery, roasted coconut and Kahlúa, as well as jams and marmalades with their vinegars.

The brand was officially launched last month and its main line of live vinegars is available at Whole Foods stores. Their co-founders include two food scientists (Cole Pearsall and Allan Mai) and a serial entrepreneur (Scott Friedmann). Acid League Creative Director Rae Drake is a wine and sake expert.

Friedmann told me that a meal at Noma reopened in Copenhagen and read The Noma guide to fermentation led him to start experimenting with making vinegar in his basement. “The first question I asked myself was why isn’t there more alternative vinegar out there? Why can’t you get vinegar in some cool flavors considering you make vinegar from almost everything? Friedmann said.

This curiosity was the spark that ultimately led to co-founding an artisanal vinegar brand, and since then the team has made 500 different vinegars using a wide range of ingredients. “We tried fermenting just about everything – coffee, Campari, bourbon, cantaloupe juice, saffron, chamomile, fresh strawberry juice – and we started to get amazing results,” Friedmann said.

Friedmann saw a yawning hole in the vinegar market for Acid League to fill, given the little change in the category on grocery shelves and the recent obsession with apple cider vinegar and gut health. He founded Acid League with the idea of ​​creating healthy gut vinegars that lead to the gastronomic side of things.

Consumers may be surprised to know that some of Acid League’s tastiest vinegars have been made from vegetables. “It’s amazing how things like celery, carrot, tomato, and basil turn into these umami versions of themselves,” Friedmann said. “If you give someone a bottle of our Garden heat or celery vinegar, it not only has this vital vegetable essence – it gets better. He added that these vegetable-based vinegars might surprise people as most of the traditional vinegars on the market are made from grapes and apples.

The days of the Acid League team’s experimentation are far from over and they intend to become a food company that releases one new product per week (on the direct consumer side). These products will be available on the Experimental Editions page and will include limited lots of vinegars, sauces, pickles, drinkable vinegar, dressings, shrubs and more.

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