I ate my first freeze pop in years Monday night. If the Boston Beer Co. has anything to say about it, I won’t wait nearly as long to have a second — and you’ll soon be eating them, too.
The Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program crowned its first-ever Pitch Room contest winner at the beer maker’s Jamaica Plain brewery, awarding $10,000 to a Brooklyn startup called Brewla, which produces all-natural frozen treats.
The nationwide competition brought together six finalists from five different states, each of which had two minutes to pitch its business idea to a panel of judges that included Boston Beer Co. founder Jim Koch and executives from Legal Sea Foods, the Delaware North Companies, and small business lender Accion.
I wrote about the contest and the Brewing the American Dream program in October, after the regional round. Basically, they’re a way for Koch — who remembers the challenge of starting Sam Adams in his kitchen three decades ago — to help other food and beverage companies accelerate their growth.
Brewla is run by the brother-and-sister team of Daniel and Rebecca Dengrove, who set out to upgrade the ice pop with natural ingredients, and make it more appealing to adults with flavors like raspberry and green tea, and espresso. There’s even one made from hops.
In addition to winning money for business operations, Brewla also will get coaching from Koch and his team, and help with marketing.
“When we have a question, to be able to go right to this organization could even be more valuable than the cash prize,” said Daniel Dengrove.
Koch said he and the judges saw a market gap that they believe Brewla could fill.
“What I was excited about is that they are in a big category that really hasn’t changed that much, despite everything that’s gone on in food and beverage, in terms of higher quality, better ingredients, healthier products,” he said. “Nobody’s offering things that are healthy and have a sophisticated culinary basis, and Brewla is doing that.”