The concept for Thirsty Whale Elixirs Inc. started in the summer of 2014, when a friend (who knew I was looking for a unique food product to bring to market) mention the word ‘Shrub’. Like many of you, I had no idea what Shrubs were and within five months I had started a business, bringing to Canada its first retail ready gourmet Shrubs.
So what exactly are Shrubs?
I can tell you this much, they have nothing to do with dirt and leaves.
They are actually naturally concentrated raw syrups made with organic apple cider vinegar, fruit and cane sugar. Each 500 ml bottle will make around 21 cocktails or sodas. Serve them bubbly or still, hot or cold, with or without alcohol.
Now you are wondering, why start a business producing a product that no one knows about with a weird name?
Well, I grew up in the beautiful Pemberton Valley on my family’s farm (Across the Creek Organics, my uncle is kinda ‘famous’ in the organic potato world) and I have always had a love of producing and preserving food. Growing up, we picked beans and carrots out of the garden to can into spicy beans and carrots, canned peaches and cherries from the Okanagan, made tomato sauce and salsa from Lillooet tomatoes and peppers.
When I started to learn about and experiment with Shrubs, I realized that like potato farming Shrubs have a long and unique history and in making them I satisfy my desire to preserve the ‘taste of summer’ all-year-round for people of all ages to enjoy. Similarly to pickling vegetables, which I do a lot of in the summer months, I am now ‘pickling’ fruit. I know this sounds weird, but something ‘magical’ happens when you mix fruit, good vinegar and sugar together. After a week of ‘brewing’ I use an apple cider press to get the last drops of syrup out of the mixture (fruit juice, vinegar and sugar). At first this has a bit of a vinegar ‘bite’, but after a week in the bottle (this is where the magic comes in) the vinegar mellows and you are left with a delicious, sweet and tangy and slightly thickened syrup that has the ability to add a wonderful acidity to cocktails, without adding lemon juice, and create healthy fruit forward sodas.
Thirsty Whale Elixirs Inc. is owned and operated by solo-entrepreneur Lia Padgett.