Our Bionade Herbs flavour is rumoured to have a magical effect: it’s said to wondrously quench thirst. This is of course not least thanks to our secret herbal recipe.
On the other hand it’s no secret that all the ingredients for this flavour stem from purely organic farms, for example the peppermint. It is sourced from an organic farmer in the Bavarian Rhön region and then processed into organic peppermint oil by a specialist firm.
Sour makes fun of you. But this is also the only way to explain how the bergamot got its name. Apparently, it went something like this: this as yet unknown fruit was picked by a person for the first time ever, he took a good bite, screwed up his face until it was unrecognisable and gave the fruit what is probably the funniest name since lychees have been around.
Yes, this fruit really is extremely sour. The special bit, however, is hidden within the peel. It is from this peel that a unique oil is obtained, only a few drops of which are sufficient to release a real explosion of fragrance. This is also why it is used almost exclusively in the cosmetic industry. But Bionade is famous for searching out the unusual flavours and that special taste experience. And so, without further ado, we combined the aromatic oil of the bergamot with lemons and limes. All from purely organic farms, naturally. The result? Find out for yourself!
It is, however, not only the taste of the bergamot which is special, but also its origins. Bergamot grows right in the south of Italy, on a very small strip of land in the mountains of Calabria. Only here. No-one really knows why this is the case. At least, all previous attempts to cultivate bergamot trees in other parts of Italy and in Africa have largely failed. The number of bergamot farmers is correspondingly low. Two of them are Ugo Sergi and his wife Tiziana who grow organic bergamots on their organic plantation and are probably still asking themselves why we make soft drinks out of these sour fruits.
Presumably oranges pose existential questions less often. However, they must know by now that their existence ends in a glass with a straw, ice cubes and a cocktail umbrella.
By the way, this fate not only befalls the flesh but also the ripe peel. After all it would be too much of a shame to throw it away. When cold-pressed it gives us something very valuable: Aurantii dulcis aetheroleum. Or, in plain English: orange oil. The production of our Bionade Ginger-Orange therefore uses a distillate of aromatic orange oil which is obtained from certified organic oranges from Mexico.
All that is missing is a straw, ice cubes and a cocktail umbrella. By the way, the best alcohol-free cocktail recipes using Bionade can be found here.
Mmm, raspberries. We source the raspberries for our new flavour Bionade Raspberry-Plum, introduced for 2014, from our trading partner in Poland. At least until enough organic raspberries are cultivated in Germany and are available for producing juice.
ORGANIC GARDEN FRUITS
We are simply into all things natural. We therefore don’t mind if our orchard fruits are wonky and misshapen. What matters is only the quality of what lies inside, how good it tastes and that it is not genetically engineered.
The Bionade Garden Fruits flavour came about in cooperation with the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union Germany and a further development of our plan to create our products using local fruit. The best fruits such as apples, pears, quinces and plums therefore originate from organic orchard meadows across Germany. We also use organic quinces from the Rhön organic farming project and a quince re-cultivation programme in Volkach on the Main river loop.
By applying ourselves to the maintenance, development and care of the orchard meadows which are under threat, we are helping to support biodiversity. After all, only healthy eco-systems can ensure the long-term supply of organic raw ingredients in the best Bionade quality.
Of course we would have preferred to grow the ginger for our delicious Bionade Ginger-Orange ourselves, but we had no idea how to go about it. And rightly so – ultimately we have this flavour to thank for a group of farmers in the Mexican town of Xicotepec who felt inspired to prepare an area to cultivate the ginger. As the first farmers on the land, they uprooted the coffee trees and instead planted root ginger and, in doing so, also broke away from the dependency on the coffee market.
The first ginger delivery at Bionade took place in 2007. To this day, the Xicotepec farmers have been growing 200,000 kilos of the warm and spicy roots each year, mostly as small-scale woodland garden crops. Because the woodland supplies the ginger with plenty of moisture and protects it against storms and the sun, the Mexican farmers produce such quality that matches even the best Asian roots in every way. There was also barely a problem when it came to getting organic certification for the companies: the farmers already had first-hand experience of operating their business organically. They were even used to observing nature.
A further interesting development has incidentally arisen from the cooperation between Bionade and the Mexican smallholders. Because Bionade cannot accept all the ginger, we offer the excess to other organic food producers. Consequently, a drive to improve farming and the environment developed into responsible business growth.
An exciting pilot project is also currently taking place. On the Mexican Yucatan peninsula, rangers found root ginger growing wild in remote areas of rainforest where no agriculture has taken place for centuries. These were presumably relics of pre-colonial times, brought from China to the Mayans. This ginger is now being cultivated and, if this project succeeds, the Mayan rainforest ginger will be used in the production of Bionade.
ORGANIC CANE SUGAR
The unique Bionade production process preserves the sweetness in the fruits so that less sugar needs to be added in comparison to conventional fizzy drinks. Of course, even here we only use EU organic quality. Our organic cane sugar continues to be supplied by a long-standing trading partner in Thailand but, in the long term, we aim to obtain it from European sugar beet.
ORGANIC MALTING BARLEY
Flowers make everyone happy. But barley makes us even more happy. At least when it’s 100 percent organic and comes directly from our region.
Our barley is cultivated by organic farmers within a radius of only 20 miles around Ostheim, according to the criteria set out by the organic association Naturland e.V. We personally know all the farmers and we deliver the barley directly to the organic malthouse in Mellrichstadt, about 4 miles away.
Here, the organic malting barley is turned into brewing malt and arrives in our vat by the shortest possible route. Organic malting barley is the single most important basis for the production of Bionade, which is so unique worldwide.
We love our elderberry and only want the best for it. But for as long as its juice goes into our bottles, it has to adhere to certain rules. And these rules are pretty strict. It therefore grows right on our doorstep here in the Rhön, for example at the Ritter family’s farms in Ostheim and in Unterfranken. Of course, it is grown according to the usual standards of the organic farming associations.
There is generally a real pioneering project behind the farming of our elderberry. There are now 19 organic elderberry growers cultivating a total area of 87 hectares – in particular the Haschberg and Sampo varieties because they ripen at different times. A contract period of at least ten years on the part of both Bionade and our elderberry growers offers planning security for both of us.
So what happens when the elderberry is finally ripe? It is turned into delectable organic elderberry juice. A fruit juice production plant right on our doorstep on the edge of the Hessian Rhön region takes care of this. But it is only once it reaches our brewery that it will meet those ingredients which will change its life. Or perhaps the whole world – as Bionade Elderberry.
Lychee? It sounds so exotic! So why does Bionade also use raw materials that are cultivated on foreign organic farms? Here is the ultimate informative answer:
the origins of Bionade stemmed from the idea of finding a healthy alternative to conventional fizzy drinks, as these were often very sweet and mixed with relatively strong acids. The solution finally came from Dieter Leipold – father of Bionade and inventor of a purely biotechnical and now patented process through which it was possible to brew a delicious refreshment by fermenting natural raw materials. The “Bio” in the name Bionade (German for ‘organic’) originally referred exclusively to the method of production. Our original flavour, Bionade Lychee, was in no way organic, in the traditional sense.
It was only over the course of time that the inventor’s idea developed further and, with absolute conviction, Bionade became 100 percent organic. We have also consciously decided to continue offering exotic flavours, daring to do something new. It goes without saying that, along with our local fruits, all exotic ingredients come from certified organic farms and adhere to the strictest quality guidelines.
The raw material for producing Bionade Lychee in Thailand is therefore produced and pre-processed in accordance with EU organic provisions. On an area of around 67 hectares, 38 smallholder families cultivate mainly Honghuay and Chakrapad varieties of lychee, under the Thai farming initiative “King’s Royal Project” in the provinces of Chiangmai and Payao. Incidentally, Bionade is the first company in the world to use organic lychee juice.