National Beverage Day is all about enjoying your favorite drink. Whether it’s hot or cold, served in a cup with ice, poured from a blender and topped with an umbrella, or sipped from a hot mug from your favorite coffee shop, the chances are likely that one of Monin’s many flavors make your drink special.
“We produce an abundance of gourmet flavoring products from premium flavored syrups to purées, sauces, and more. We take pride in the fact that we use the highest quality ingredients, which result in the exceptional flavor that you can add to any beverage or culinary application,” says Bill Lombardo, Monin CEO. “We offer more than 230 varieties of flavors, and our team is always developing new ideas.”
Primarily a B2B company, Monin manufactures, bottles, and supplies America’s top restaurant chains, coffee shops, and food-service operators with its flavored products. While Monin has an array of widely known flavors, like vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, blackberry, and lemon, Monin is also known for its innovative flavors like Strawberry Rose, Golden Turmeric and Dragon Fruit.
Founded in France in 1912, Monin is a 3rd generation, family-owned, and operated global company. Monin’s U.S. headquarters are in Clearwater, Florida, where they produce 90,000 – 100,000 bottles of flavoring a day – an average of 25,000,000 per year. One of the reasons Monin selected a Clearwater home base was because of the proximity to the Florida Everglades and the pure cane sugar that comes from that region, which is a key ingredient in Monin’s products.
A key pillar in Monin’s flavor selection and manufacturing is a “Clean Label” promise, which means that flavors coming off the line today are made with the highest quality, natural ingredients that are free from anything artificial. More than 90% of the Monin portfolio now carries this claim.
Behind the Scenes
It takes a team for Monin to come up with and produce their new flavoring products. Monin’s team consists of renowned mixologists, research and development experts, and marketing & sales gurus. Their skills and training and a passion for the industry fuel the team’s ability to predict and identify upcoming consumer food and beverage trends. From these trends, flavor ideas are generated, tested and formulated. When ready to produce, Monin’s brilliant team of supply chain and operations experts then mass-produce the flavor for everyone to enjoy.
“We’re always analyzing trends, experimenting and looking to the future so that Monin is ahead of the game and can offer restaurants, bars, and coffee shops the newest and unexpected varietals that customers want to experience,” adds Ronnie McAlister, Monin’s Vice President of Research & Development.
Where Your Flavorful Beverages Begin
Monin’s 67,000 square foot Clearwater facility includes an onsite café designed to let clients test out and sample creative ways to use Monin products to create unique drinks and dishes that will ultimately become staples on the clients’ menus.
“This is where a client can experience the versatility of Monin’s products,” adds Brian Loukmas, Vice President of Beverage and Culinary Innovation. “Our full range of flavors can be used in a wide variety of applications. Our Innovation team uses our flavors to create custom beverage and culinary solutions specific for each customer.”
While not open to the public, the café is a fun stop for group tours and school outings and gives visitors a chance to experience a glimpse into food and beverage manufacturing.
Covid-19, Community Social Responsibility, and Education
Monin, like the entire manufacturing sector nationwide, experienced a significant impact to its supply chain during the onset and duration of Covid-19. For Monin, the reverberations were felt on many levels. With sales down more than ever before, they faced a changing landscape across all departments including manufacturing, sales, marketing, and supply chain. Monin’s corporate culture aims for kindness and humility coupled with perseverance and encouragement. The staff in Clearwater tapped into this company mindset and challenged themselves to seek new ways to launch products that were “firsts” for the brand.
The first was at the height of the initial onset and wave of Covid-19 in late April 2020 when restaurants were closed, PPE materials were in demand, and new illness cases were rising.
The Florida facility team asked themselves, “how can we help?” They quickly realized that with just a few slight adjustments, they could produce medical-grade hand sanitizer. “We had the bottles, the caps, the knowledgeable staff of engineers and strong QA and R&D teams – all we needed to do was change some parts for the bottling line and the ingredients for the mixing tanks,” says Stasha Johnston, Senior Vice President of Marketing.
What resulted was more than 10,000 bottles of hand sanitizer manufactured over two months, with the majority donated to schools, hospitals, first responders and senior care facilities.
“Several of our restaurant partners serving to-go were unable to get hand sanitizer from their traditional distribution methods, and we provide to them as well. It was a way to not only assist our community but keep our staff busy and employed,” says Johnston.
Community involvement is inherent in Monin’s corporate culture. Before their pivot during Covid-19, Monin was already actively engaged with the greater Tampa Bay area. Nurturing talent and encouraging manufacturing careers have been a top priority for Monin.
“We’ve had successful collaborations with St. Petersburg College, Hillsborough Community College and FLATE (the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center),” says Megan Meiers, Vice President of Human Resources. “These collaborations with all three institutions are meant to not only develop Monin talent but hopefully increase student interest overall in Florida’s manufacturing sector.”
According to a recent report from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, beverage manufacturing ranked #19 in overall fastest growing business segments.
“Monin has been a leader in Florida’s manufacturing sector,” says Beth Galic, executive director of the Bay Area Manufacturing Association (BAMA). “Through their participation in a wide array of BAMA events and webinars, we can always count on Monin to be the first to step up to the plate and promote manufacturing.”
Like so many industries, Monin experienced a dip in sales during the onset of Covid-19 and the months that followed. However, the industry is rebounding, and Monin’s sales are now surpassing 2019 numbers.
“We’re busier than ever. Restaurants are opening back up, and in-person gatherings are increasing. We expect sales to continue along with this positive upward trend as the markets rebound,” says Bill Lombardo. “Monin’s team of innovators is continually looking ahead and just recently launched a new line of fruit floral blends that include Strawberry Rose, Honey Jasmine, and Lavender Lemon. People are still gravitating toward familiar and comforting flavors yet interested in something that gives them a little escape from reality,” says Lombardo. “We chose flavors that signified positivity and freshness. What better way to kick off 2021 and beyond?”
Now, go raise a toast and enjoy National Beverage Day with these fun drinks crafted by Monin in honor of the Bay Area Manufacturers Association!
Orange Spritz Mocktail
Golden BAMA 60th Anniversary Lemonade
Pomegranate Hand-Crafted Soda
For more information about Monin, BAMA, or FloridaMakes, contact FloridaMakes at email@example.com