Getting to know the taste, crunch and local roots of Cleveland Kraut

August 6, 2019

Five years ago, the Cleveland Kraut trio was selling homemade sauerkraut at local farmer’s markets. Now you can find them all over Ohio, and as far as California. They’ve come a long way over the past few years, and with plans to span 5,000 locations across 49 states by the end of the year, there is no hint of slowing down. The team, consisting of two brothers, Drew and Mac Anderson, and brother-in-law Luke Visnic, explains their product as “the perfect side to any dish” or the missing piece to “kick a salad or sandwich to the next level!” Their signature technique consists of “an all-natural old-school fermentation process built [with] scientific rigor… to continually maintain consistent, fresh, crunchy and delicious kraut every harvest.” How did these young entrepreneurs propel their company so far, so fast? Drew’s response is simple: “That was the plan all along. We saw that fermented vegetables are on trend and in a fast-growing segment. People want delicious and healthy fresh tasting fermented vegetables and we make the best!”

When you add on a unique array of 7 distinctively bold flavors, like Beet Red, Curry, and Whiskey Dill, it becomes quite clear why Cleveland Kraut sauerkraut has become a hot commodity. In fact, the company had to implement quite a few changes over the past year to keep up with demand. Their big growth spurt started around the time when they were chosen as one of five food and beverage startups in the first Kraft Heinz Springboard incubator program. Through this program, the group “learned how the big boys played, got to look at data that is normally beyond our reach, worked on new products for 2020, and made a lot of new friends,” Drew relays.

Another break through change of last year was Cleveland Kraut’s decision to switch from glass jar packaging to eco-friendly pouches. This allowed them to reduce their carbon footprint, and also allowed for a one-way vent that allows the release of accumulated gases from the natural fermentation process. “The pouches not only allow our 'live' kraut to 'exhale' on shelves and stay fresher, but they also allowed for a much easier and automated packing process. To stay in the glass, we would have had to change our kraut formulation to more like the competition, mushy and soggy... we prefer crisp and delicious!” Drew explains.

To further accommodate their new distribution volume, Cleveland Kraut recently moved into the Cleveland Food Hub in Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood as part of the Cleveland Culinary Launch & Kitchen project to help expand local culinary projects. This change allowed them to “handle nationwide distribution of the retail pack, expand our food service offering, and launch new products as a result of the new capacity,” Drew says. “We are building the leader in culinary focused fermented, pickled and cured foods. Our goal is to be a household name across the country and known for providing delicious, fresh and healthy foods at a fair price.”

It sounds like these boys are just getting started, and we are excited to see what they’re bringing to the table next. In the meantime, we’re more than happy to enjoy their raw, unpasteurized and lacto-fermented sauerkraut brimming with natural probiotics, nutrients and flavor. Can’t decide which flavor to try first? “I eat the Gnar Gnar, Roasted Garlic or Beet Red every week,” Drew declares. “My favorite is the Gnar because the flavor is spicy but complex!”

 

Written by Marianna Marchenko