Ginger beer taps into growing demand for non-alcoholic brewTidal Boar Ginger Beer

While in the hunt for a tasty non-alcoholic ginger beer, Lyuba and Richard Malone find the secret to success in creating their own brew. Their story is part of 83 Degrees Media’s ongoing series on Tampa Bay Area food entrepreneurs.

Sixth in a series.

Fresh concept: Small batch non-alcoholic ginger beer handcrafted in St. Petersburg and served fresh on tap by the glass or growler, also available in bottles.

The dish: Richard Malone, 28, was just looking for a better tasting ginger beer than what he could find in stores when he began experimenting with home brews in the summer of 2015. He developed a taste for the distinctive flavor while traveling the world as a teenager, especially during two years in Australia, where spicy ginger beers blend well with cheeky Aussie attitudes. 

“We wanted to highlight the fresh ginger first, coupled with subtle sweetness in the background to make it a refreshing drink for Florida,” says Richard, who worked with his wife, Lyuba, to create their original recipe. They focused on using simple, natural ingredients -- fresh ginger, squeezed lemons, cane sugar and spices -- with a goal to use less sugar than existing brands. After getting rave reviews from family and friends, the couple brought their keg and tap to their first market in Seminole Heights in October, 2015. They soon added the Fresh Market at Hyde Park Village and St. Petersburg’s Saturday Morning Market.

By January, 2016, what started as a hobby had grown large enough for Richard to quit his day job working for an architectural firm to focus full time on his brewing business. Less than a year after its debut, Tidal Boar Ginger Beer is carving out a strong non-alcoholic niche amid Tampa Bay’s booming microbrew market. The couple makes their product at Your Pro Kitchen, a licensed culinary incubator in St. Petersburg. In addition to four regular markets, Tidal Boar is now sold at three microbreweries and 12 restaurants and stores. 

The rising tide of their business reflects the meaning behind the Tidal Boar name, which Richard explained is a play on words because tidal “bore” is the term used for a wave created by converging tidal forces. He based his master’s thesis project on “translating tidal forces into a built form,” and traveled to the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia to research and document the phenomenon, which is known for its distinctive tidal bore.  

“This experience had a great influence on my life, mostly because of the natural beauty of the Bay of Fundy and the sublime nature of the tides. We turned this into a symbol for our product, which is about harnessing that experience through natural ingredients, crisp refreshing flavor, and all about the culture of being tied to the ocean,” Malone tells 83 Degrees

Malone and his wife created a mythical creature, the “Tidal Boar,” and printed the story on their growlers: “Commonly known as ‘shadows of the shores,’ only few have witnessed firsthand the illusive ‘Tidal Boar.’ The majestic ‘Boar’ rarely surfaces from the converging forces of the flowing tide. You may catch a glimpse of the ivory white tusks breaching from the crest of the wave. Only the brave and courageous have attempted to tame the beast and surf the ‘boar,’ a strenuous ride that can journey up to a mile. Now you can witness the bold and refreshing flavor of Tidal Boar Ginger Beer, see if you have what it takes to make the journey. Unleash the Ginger!”

Marketing strategy: Local markets, word of mouth and Facebook supplied enough customers to support steady growth, says Richard Malone. Their website, launched after nearly a year in business, shows customers where to find Tidal Boar, in addition to promoting their custom fabricated kegerator cart for weddings, corporate events and private parties. He plans to market more actively to new wholesale accounts, but only as they gear up production.
“We never want to position ourselves where we have to turn customers down,” says Malone. “We want to stay ahead of things and make sure we have production capability to meet the demand.”

What’s on the menu: In addition to Tidal Boar Original, rotating flavors include Key Lime Hibiscus, Guava and Pineapple. The Malones also collaborate with other local food artisans to create ginger beer infused by Blues Berry Farm’s Blueberry Habanero Jelly and Urban Canning’s Peach Vanilla Jelly.

Where to buy: Tidal Boar is available on tap, including growler refills, at Green Bench Brewing Co. and Bandit Coffee in St. Petersburg, as well as by the bottle at other breweries, markets, cafes and stores in Tampa and St. Petersburg. Thanks to Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops, which is stocking bottles at every location, Tidal Boar now reaches across Florida to St. Augustine, Jacksonville and Gainesville. Visit Tidal Boar Ginger Beer for location details and updates.

The next course: The Malones hope to have their own production facility within the next year and “provide the area with more jobs,” says Richard Malone. Noting that ginger beer is much more popular in other parts of the world, he sees a growing opportunity in the U.S. He observes a close relationship between the strong demand for quality microbrews and a desire for a healthy non-alcoholic brew, a trend that’s picking up steam in Seattle and other western markets.

Food for thought: Forming alliances with microbreweries and other small businesses and being open to advice has been a key for Tidal Boar’s growth and success, says Malone. “We’ve learned a lot from other small businesses in the area and thrive on the creativity of the innovators around us.”

Additional businesses featured in 83 Degrees Media's series on food entrepreneurs:

Read more articles by Elizabeth Taylor.

Elizabeth Taylor is a freelance business writer who lives on the Hillsborough River in Seminole Heights, Tampa’s friendly and funky neighborhood. She grew up in Madeira Beach and earned her BA in English from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. With over a decade specializing in writing about sustainability, Liz enjoys telling stories about Tampa Bay businesses and people who are creating positive change.
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