frequently asked questions
WHere do you get your fruit?
We search high and low for the best tart fruit, which have antioxidant polyphenols in abundance, for our tonics. Some of the most potent and healthful fruits — aronia and elderberry — grow wild in our region, but are not yet commercially cultivated. Responding to demand from artisan chefs and drink makers, some growers are beginning to pioneer these nutrient-packed and flavorful fruits as niche crops.
Beyond cherry and apple, we aim to bring ‘forgotten’ fruit crops back to Michigan and the greater Midwest landscape. By working with farmers who are willing to grow them and fruit processors who are willing to convert the fruit in small batches, and by heralding the unique taste and benefits of these fruits, we hope to encourage the widespread revival of indigenous crops, enhancing biodiversity and restoring the soil. To learn more about ‘forgotten fruits,’ see: http://uncommonfruit.cias.wisc.edu
what are bitters?
The first tonics were made by combining bitters, a distillation of botanicals — shoots, roots, berries, fruits, leaves and flowers — with carbonated water. Beyond imparting flavor and aroma, the plants used in Fruitbelt's unique botanic mixture (collectively known as 'Orchard Bitters') contain microscopic compounds loaded with phytonutrients. Propolis — an aromatic, resinous substance produced by bees to cement their hives — is famed for its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties; chicory has long been used to support digestive function, and dandelion is believed to cleanse the liver. In addition to the low sugar content in our tonics, we suspect our orchard botanicals may have had a role in averting more than one hangover. There’s only one way to test the theory.
how much sugar is in one bottle? calories?
Our drinks come in a 250 ml/8.5 oz bottle — an authentic single serving — at 60 calories and 14 grams of sugar, derived entirely from fruit juice concentrate and organic honey. We are looking to reduce the total calorie content by using more potent, intensely flavorful fruit to flavor our tonics.*
*We use fruit juice concentrate because it is the juice form for most fragile fruits, more stable than cold-pressed and the optimal form for a sparkling, bottled non-alcoholic drink.
what is a tonic?
Historically, a tonic is a blend of sparkling water and bitters. In the early 19th century when tonics first appeared, a dram of bitters — distilled from botanicals known for their health properties — and mixed with soda water was promoted as a remedy to refresh the senses, restore the spirits and invigorate the body. Sometimes tonics were sweetened. Fruitbelt blends bitters with tart fruit, sparkling water and honey, making it ‘The Original Sparkling Tonic’.
what makes fruitbelt special?
Rooted in the orchards of Michigan, Fruitbelt collaborates with fruit growers throughout Michigan to source the best tart fruit and encourage the re-introduction of ‘forgotten’ crops to our fruit-growing landscape. In fusing a variety of ‘orchard botanicals’ into our bitters,* we honor the visible and non-visible processes and species who sustain and enliven the orchard.