Devil’s Foot Beverage Co. is ‘doing more good, less harm’ with its Full Fruit Life Program
After working 15 years in conservation, Colvin, alongside his business partner, launched the soda brand in 2017 in Asheville, NC, where it creates craft “farm-to-can” sodas from natural and regionally sourced ingredients with the goal “to make the best product we can make, which is to focus on sustainability, and sort of the concept of doing more good, less harm,” Colvin said.
“We're trying to make something that's a celebratory drink … that’s bubbly, and it's fresh and exciting. But it's done well, and it's done with the freshness and all the respect that we can give to it, [which] meant that if we're just using and throwing stuff out, we're wasting half of the goodness of that product.”
Showing respect to the product, ingredient
In fall 2022, Devil’s Foot opened a new 15,000 square-foot production site with a taproom and event area, which helped boost last year’s production to more than a million cans, Colvin said. A key feature of the new production site is a zesting machine that it acquired in 2021, which allows them to “pull off some somewhere over … 90% of the yield of the zest,” which speeds up the process of peeling lemons and limes and ultimately juicing, he explained.
Once the zest is removed, it’s “vacuumed sealed and frozen for freshness,” which then becomes a part of the brand’s Full Fruit Life Program, Colvin said. Since the zest “is full of oils,” local food and beverage brands and breweries want that ingredient for their products, as it’s fresher and provides more flavor than their dried counterparts, making it ideal for brewing, he added.
“You throw that in the tank, and immediately you have oil and the bitter and the sweet and the floral and all that accents pouring right into the product… It's just a fresher, brighter thing.”
Similar to the process for the lemon and lime fruits, Devil’s Foot also uses its spent blueberries for the Full Fruit Life Program, Colvin said. After pressing the blueberries multiple times, they “look like raisins … but they are full of flavor,” so they get vacuum sealed and frozen to be used by other brands, he added.
Currently, the Full Fruit Life Program has several regional brands that include Asheville Tea Company, spice company Well-Seasoned Table, Green Man Brewery, Archetype Brewing, DSSOLVR, Burial Beer, and Eda Rhyne Distillery.
Tapping consumer demands for non-alcoholic beverages
As Devil’s Foot is looking to expand its Full Fruit Life Program, the brand is also responding to demands for its products at a time when many consumers are coming off Dry January and looking for more alcohol-free beverages. As the “non-alcoholic sector is growing by leaps and bounds,” many different consumers are looking to these beverages, not just sober people, Colvin pointed out.
While some consumers are on the “journey of sobriety and are looking for something to make that interesting and doable,” many others consume both non-alcoholic craft beverages and alcoholic ones and do so to add a bit of moderation to their alcohol consumption, Colvin said. “It's mostly being done by people that are having … a cocktail, and then they have a non-alcoholic drink, and another cocktail,” he added.
Not only are consumers looking for non-alcoholic options when they are going out, but they are still looking for local and craft products within their local communities, Colvin said. Devil’s Foot is aiming to do that for its community with its non-alcoholic, craft sodas.
"We're trying to really connect people to place; we're trying to connect people to real flavor and real product," Colvin said. "And the data shows it's not just my emotions; this is a real thing. It's a real trend. It's a real way people are coming back to the roots of what ... a great product is, and we're super proud of that."