Amaize-ing! How Peru’s Purple-Corn Wonder-Drink Is About To Shake Up The Drinks Market
Here at Forward Fooding, we like to stay one step ahead of the drinks industry at all times. But this time, we’re a little late to the game — over a thousand years late. For the past millennia, hidden in the heart of Peru, Chicha Morada has been a signature part of local culture, bringing happiness and health to all those who taste it. But what are the benefits of this bright purple drink? What does it taste of? And, most importantly, when can we try some? Forward Fooding spoke to Amaize founder Jon Cooney to learn more about his experience creating, bottling, and selling Chicha Morada.
So tell us a little bit about the history of this drink?
Chicha Morada comes from the Andean regions of Peru, and has been loved by Peruvians since pre-Columbian times, before even the creation of the Inca Empire. I’m half Peruvian, and every time I went back to Cusco I’d see it being drunk everywhere: at home, in clubs, in restaurants…people would even brew it on the street. Not only is it delicious, but everyone would talk about the health benefits of it, and so I started to think about whether there’s a place for it over here in the UK. I’d made batches with my son, selling it at festivals, and so to me the drink has really strong emotional ties to those positive cultural moments, as well as cherished memories with my son. Like with so many start-ups, I was making it because I loved it, and it was other people trying it and falling in love with it too that made me think of it as a viable product!
What are the benefits Chicha Morada can bring?
At the moment we’re looking into showing that the level of antioxidants in the drink are six times stronger than acai berries. The purple corn has also been found to fight obesity and diabetes, and it’s a massive agent in fighting cardiovascular diseases. Not only that, but I think the health benefits of the drink are so interwoven into the history — it was such a stable part of the South Peruvian diet, and they were pretty much disease free until the inquisition. Bringing together that history and the science, it’s is the perfect package of health benefits!
So what’s the experience been like getting to the current stage?
The positivity of everyone has been amazing — both from the public and from industry professionals. We won the Great Taste Award last year, and every festival we’ve been to has been overwhelming with positive feedback.
One of the things I’m insistent on with the brand is that it’s authentic; some of the biggest brands out there were sketched on a piece of paper, and I want Amaize to replicate those home-grown origins which keep people believing in what you do as a company. I think with branding, it’s been a definite learning curve, but I think at the end of the day, the history of the drink is what really sells it.
What’s your long term goal?
I’ve never been focused on the commercial side; I’m not so obsessed with getting it in shops that I lose the journey, and instead my goal is more an every day mission to ensure Amaize grows in a way where every member of my team has the same passion for the drink that I do.
So the BIG question — what does it taste of?
It’s a refreshing blend of pineapple, cinnamon, and citrus; imagine mulled wine without the bitterness or the alcohol. It’s distinct, and I’ve never tasted anything even close to it in the European market, so I hope it’ll be a game changer.
Wow! I can’t wait to try some — when are we going to be able to get our hands on some?
I’m just weeks away from holding my first produced bottle of it in my hands…it’s exciting times here at Amaize so stay posted!
It was great to talk with Jon and hear his passion for his drink; the history behind it is so interwoven with his own culture and his own family that it’s impossible not to be as excited as he is to see the product bottled. You can watch what Jon and Amaize Drinks are up to at his website, or on his instagram.
At Forward Fooding, we work with start-ups at every stage, from idea to on the shelves, offering guidance, advice, and strategies to help turn your idea into a delicious reality. If you want to get in touch, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or join our Global FoodTech Map of start-ups and become part of the community at https://forwardfooding.com/globalfoodtechmap.