I recently drank a bottle of Bruce Cost Ginger Ale at a hip restaurant with my wife. These days, I am hesitant to try something new and spend on a drink instead of drinking water. However, as a grocer I cannot help to try new products.

So I ordered a healthy veggie sandwich and to drink with it I plucked down two bucks for a bottle of Bruce Cost Jasmine Ginger Ale. I am usually a soda drinker, but knowing that soda consumption is on a downtrend I decided to take a chance and try to taste the ginger ale, which they market on their bottle is unfiltered. I got to tell you their ginger ale was Excellent. The taste was smooth and yes it had ginger.

According to the company website it is sold in 100 locations in Brooklyn and Queens ranging from supermarkets to bagel shoppes. I was fortunate enough that the cafe I was in sold it. Again, it was one the best tasting ginger ales I have had in quite some time. Plus, along with the ginger, it had vitamins in it too. Always a plus.

Offering 30 varieties< the company origins came from the idea of recipe book regarding ginger ale wrote in 1984 by, you guessed it, Bruce Cost who wrote:”Ginger East to West,” in 1984. which was a small, award-winning cookbook that traced the origins of ginger and its journey around the world. In it he tells the origins of ginger ale. Very cool indeed. 

Then in 1989 Mr. Cost introduced his own herbal version to patrons of his Monsoon restaurant in San Francisco. It later became a staple of Cost’s Ginger Island in Berkeley and Ginger Club in Palo Alto, California.

He then moved to Chicago in 1995 to start the Big Bowl and Wow Bao restaurants with and brought his recipe for fresh ginger ale. Handmade on the premises of 11 restaurants, it became a signature item that has since sold an estimated 3 million drinks, outselling all soft drinks.

Now 14 restaurants later and after selling millions of glasses, he bottled his all-fresh ginger product under his name with his partners Joseph and Terry Tang in Brooklyn, NY.

Cool story about an excellent drink.

Besides the drink tasting out of this world, it was the packaging that intrigued me to buy a bottle. Their bottle design is simple, with I would describe as a typewriter looking font in black letters against a white background with a transparent picture of ginger. The letters of the type of ginger ale are tilted at a 30 degree angle to make it standout.

Packaging is important and I think food and beverage manufacturers are getting the picture to pull away from content overload on and get simple. Just check out Bud Light’s new packaging, which you can read about from my previous blog post here. Simple packaging has appeal and creates a curiosity for consumers to see whether or not they will like the product. Yes, food packages must and should include their differentiating features, i.e. includes real ginger, low calories, gluten free and so on, but keep it to a minimum as how I would approach it.

I will be on the lookout to find my next bottle of Bruce Cost unfiltered ginger ale. It was really, really good and stood out in the ultra competitive beverage industry.