Founder Stories: An Interview With Karin Campion of Sonoma Syrup Co.
Karin Campion is the founder of Sonoma Syrup Co. - a line of award winning handcrafted syrups and extracts. The company's mint syrup was featured in our May Cocktail Kit. We asked Karin a couple of questions to get an in-depth understanding of her story and to learn more about what makes her company's products so special.
How did you come up with the idea for Sonoma Syrup?
Motherhood motivated me to find healthy alternatives to traditional products. I wanted to provide my family with tasty treats, but most syrups and baking products are made with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. I wanted to use natural, pure cane sugar simple syrups for the sodas I made for my three sons' birthday parties. I also love iced tea and wanted the candied taste of a simple syrup in a recipe which blends evenly into the drink.
What inspired you to start the company?
Feeling so grateful for living in this beautiful place [Sonoma County, California], I wanted to bottle and share the quintessential flavors of Sonoma Valley with people all over the country.
What did you do before you started Sonoma Syrup?
Prior to launching Sonoma Syrup Co., I was raising three incredible sons while practicing architecture in Sonoma. Prior to that I worked in commercial architecture in San Francisco, Washington, DC and Los Angeles, where I was born and raised.
Can you describe what makes your syrups different from others on the market?
Every Sonoma Syrup Co. product is made with fresh botanicals such as mint leaves and lavender flowers from Matanzas Creek Winery. We buy large amounts of certified organic Meyer lemons from a local orchard and hand peel and juice each one for use in our Meyer Lemon Syrup. We’re proud of each product, as they’re made using authentic fruits and botanicals for a true infusion - not just flavorings.
Do you find that you're having to teach consumers how to use them?
Actually, at times it’s the opposite! Our customers have used our Infused Simple Syrups in more ways than we could have imagined.
What’s one of your biggest challenges?
Lack of time. I’m so inspired by all of the people that we get to work with and I wish I could spend more time with each of our partners. I also love experimenting with our products and developing new recipes so one day, if and when I retire, I plan on spending much more time in the kitchen cooking for my family.
What was one of the most exciting moments for your brand?
Every year has so many exciting moments, but one that stands out is being invited to the White House when the French President visited, as we are a culinary partner of the Department of State.
Our Meyer Lemon Infused Simple Syrup was incorporated into a Rosemary and Meyer Lemon French 75 which was served to the French President upon his visit and we’re told he loved the twist on this French 75 cocktail!
We are so fortunate to have our Simple Syrups used to create exciting cocktails in such a prestigious location. We’ll be sharing these special recipes in our e-book, which will be published this Fall.
Any new trends you’ve spotted in the beverage industry lately?
Reduced added sugar is trending in all categories, but taste will always be the driving factor in purchasing decisions. Our simple syrups, extracts, and bar mixers are so rich in flavor that a little bit goes a long way to provide luxurious flavor without compromising health goals.
Any new uses or recipes for your syrups you've recently discovered?
We‘ve been making our own simple shrubs with our newest product, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with any one of our Infused Syrups and sparkling water.
Do you have any plans for new flavors or products in the pipeline?
This year we hope to offer a Holiday Chai Spice Infused Syrup. The taste of ginger and cinnamon is delicious in lattes and is a comforting flavor in Bourbon cocktails.