Beer, booch and buds

Industry comrades from Harland Brewing, Mate Maker Co. team up for collab featuring organic SoCal fruit

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Thoughtful collaboration is a core component of the craft-beer industry. Recently, a pair of longtime friends and beverage-industry contemporaries teamed together to produce corresponding creations crafted to communicate the quality of utilizing organic ingredients while showcasing produce from Old Grove Farms. That Redlands growers’ coalition’s fruit enhance the flavor and vibrancy of the resultant collab beverages, a fruited, Vic Secret- and Citra-hopped Australian-style extra pale ale from Scripps Ranch-based Harland Brewing descriptively titled Channel Orange-Mango, and a navel orange hard kombucha hopped with Vic Secret called Secret Citrus from Mate Maker Co. Following the recent release of the companion beverages, we sat down with Harland Director of Brewing Operations Cody Morris and Mate Maker Brewmaster Josh Makler to get the story behind this collaborative project.

How did this dual collaboration come to be? 
Cody Morris (CM): Josh and I have known each other for quite some time and have collaborated in the past with different companies. We’ve remained in touch and thought this was the perfect opportunity to brew something unique and exciting for both brands to create a new product we hadn’t done yet.
Josh Makler (JM): We at Mate Maker were super-excited to work with such a respected brewery in Harland. We are a newer company, only about a year into the San Diego beverage industry, so this was a perfect team for us to work with to help get the word out about our brand. It helped that I have had such a great relationship with Cody. We have both been building our careers in different areas of the San Diego beverage world.

How do Harland’s and Mate Makers’ ethea line up and how is that communicated through this collaboration? 
CM: We are two brands that love to work with local suppliers when possible, and create beverages that are fun and exciting for our customers. We love new challenges and learning to work with new ingredients or beer styles.
JM: We both love to push the needle on unique and interesting brews in both hard kombucha and beer. This collaboration allowed us to do something cool and unique in both worlds, and allow both brands to share new products with consumers on both sides.

How did you go about selecting what you would brew and the hops you would use? 
JM: The Harland team wanted to honor Mate Maker’s Australian roots with a unique Aussie-style pale ale that came out fantastic. For Mate Maker, we also wanted to showcase the beer side of this collaboration by making a hoppy version of our hard kombucha. Both are products we believe share our values on both sides. 
CM: Vic Secret has been one of my favorite hops for a while. That varietal gives me tons of tropical-fruit and orange characteristics already, so [Harland Head Brewer] Jake Hillier and I felt like it would pair great with a touch of actual mango and orange while still allowing the hops to be the main focus.

Were you already familiar with Old Grove Farms and its coalition of growers? 
CM: I had never worked with Old Grove, but Anna Knight at the farm was so awesome during our visit. She gave us an amazing tour of their gorgeous farm and taught us all about the challenges that local farmers are facing. It was an unforgettable day and such a rad experience being there learning about sustainable farming.
JM: Old Grove was a great choice in being such a unique sustainable farm choice local to Southern California with some amazing fruit and produce. They are known for being one of the birthplaces of the navel orange in Southern California. I also have roots connecting to the Redlands area as I spent four years of school at the University of Redlands. Working with Old Grove felt like home for me. 

Why is it important for brewers and beverage-producers to source local, organic, sustainable ingredients? 
CM: I think it’s always amazing to help other businesses locally. We got to juice the oranges ourselves and sort through the bad ones to utilize the best of them. It’s pretty great to be able to be that hands-on with the products when we usually can’t be. I also loved learning from the farm and it makes me think about fruit differently when I go into a grocery store now, because I understand what went into getting those products off the farm and out to market. 
JM: I believe the most important thing in working with local farms and ingredients from local sources isn’t always the financial gain for them. Yes, that is part of the equation, but I think what speaks here on collaborations and products with local farms is the potential educational and marketing gain we can share with them to help people continue to understand and build their knowledge of the importance of buying local food products. It takes a community to get more and more people thinking this way to change some of the very detrimental ways we currently eat and have built up our food systems in the US. 

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