Led by the husband-and-wife team of Mary Pellettieri and Noah Swanson, Top Note Tonic, a three-year-old company based in Milwaukee, is introducing a line of RTD craft tonics that feature bold, notably complex flavors. The premium, non-alcoholic tonics include Indian Tonic Water, Bitter Lemon and Ginger Beer. All are available in 4-packs of 8.5 oz. bottles with a suggested retail price of $6.99. Each bottle delivers approximately 2 servings per cocktail.
Pellettieri is a botanist and 20-year beer industry veteran who saw an opportunity to innovate in a category dominated by highly artificial, overly sweet products.
“Tonics had become commoditized. They’d deviated from their origins and didn’t taste good. I saw a need for better tonics that were balanced,” says Pellettieri. “In brewing, it’s about crafting a balance between bitter, sour and sweet. I wasn’t afraid to play with the bitter spectrum that ranges from a softer, earthier taste to a sharper, quenching hit.”
Calling on her botanist roots and knowledge of sensory science, Pellettieri developed herbal tonic recipes that pair crisp, clean layers of flavor with top notes that enhance the taste. Instead of dulling the senses by coating the tongue with sweet, all Top Note Tonic varieties begin with a forward element of bitter and finish with a soft hint of sweet/sour. The result is a uniquely modern take on classic mixers.
The Indian Tonic Water is like the IPA of tonics. It has an overall dry and refreshing taste with top notes of citrus peel and fresh grass and pairs well with premium gins. The Bitter Lemon is balanced and tart with top notes of lemongrass, lemon peel and spice and is a classic mixer for vodka. The Ginger Beer delivers a rich and earthy flavor that’s topped with notes of ginger and dried fruit and is particularly well suited for Moscow Mules and dark spirits.
Top Note is crafted with the highest quality ingredients. The line of RTDs are non-GMO and include all-natural roots, fruits, herbs, spices and real cane sugar. No artificial colors or preservatives are used, all varieties are gluten free and contain half the sugar of standard mixers.
As part of its RTD introduction, Top Note is debuting distinct red packaging for its 4-packs and updated product labels.
Pellettieri and Swanson established Top Note Tonic in 2014 with a line of five tonic concentrates. In 2016, the couple adapted the concentrates to BiB to premiumize the soda gun. The ready-to-drink line is the couple’s next step to generate broader usage and secure additional shelf space.
Pellettieri, a female beverage entrepreneur, has more than 20 years of experience and is deeply rooted in craft brewing. Early in her career, she taught sensory management at America’s oldest brewing school, the prestigious Siebel Institute of Technology. She later joined Goose Island and was part of the team that created and launched many of the brewery’s highly regarded labels, including Matilda, Sofie and 312. After eight years, she left Goose Island and continued in the category, working for MillerCoors and later authoring a book for the Brewers Association and providing consultation services to Argus Brewery, Virtue Cider and City Lights Brewing, among others.
Swanson was critical to the development and refinement of the original Top Note Tonic recipes and currently handles operations.
Founded in 2014 and based in Milwaukee, Wis., Top Note Tonic is an all-natural line of tonics for beverage and cocktail enthusiasts who appreciate a bold flavor profile. Top Note Tonic offers three ready-to-drink flavors – Bitter Lemon, Indian Tonic Water and Ginger Beer. There are also five varieties of tonic concentrates – Bitter Orange, Bitter Lemon, Gentian Lime, Indian Tonic and Ginger Beer. The Top Note Tonic name comes from the field of sensory science since top notes are the ephemeral aromas found in beer, wine and spirits that produce a multi-sensory experience. For more information, visit topnotetonic.com.