7,000-10,000 gallons of sap an hour, during
which time, the company’s 10 7,000-gallon
tanks each fill up in about 40 minutes.
To turn the sap into syrup, Runamok
uses reverse osmosis technology to
filter out the water — which is about 97
percent of the sap — and preserve the
remaining liquid. The water is released
into a nearby grassy swale, and absorbed
back into the local watershed. The rest is
cooked into maple syrup.
All told, the company processes about
2. 5 million gallons of sap a year.
Even with its capability to quickly
process large amount of sap, Laura Sorkin
says there’s little Runamok can do to
predict or outpace the effects of climate
“There’s no normal [sugaring season]
now. No amount of technology helps that,”
If you would have asked the folks at Vermont Village a few years ago if vinegar would one day become its
biggest product, they wouldn’t have
believed it. But after just two years in the
market, apple cider vinegar is now what
the Barre, Vermont, company is all about.
Vermont Village got its start by kettle-cooking organic apples into applesauce
in 1977. But its recent pivot to apple
cider vinegar is right in line with one of
today’s hottest foodie trends. As word
has spread about the many health
benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar,
more consumers are making the drink a
part of their daily routine.
Rather than just jumping on the apple
cider vinegar bandwagon, Vermont
Village has become a pioneer in the
market, creating new ways to consume
the beverage. The company not only
offers straight-up apple cider vinegar,
they also have “drinking vinegar,” (which
comes in 14-ounce bottles and several
flavors that taste like a zingy juice); a line
of “sipping vinegars” that come in flavors
like “ginger and honey” and are meant to
be used for cooking or on salads; and a
new line of “vinegar shots,” that come in
These vinegar products
have earned the company
nominations for innovation
awards at recent trade shows,
and have helped Vermont
Village expand its reach into
a market that has long been
dominated by one brand.
The leap has paid off
and propelled the company
into a state of rapid growth.
Between 2016 and late-2017,
sales are up by 50 percent.
Vermont Village is also
adding large retail partners at a rapid
clip, including Walmart, where its line of
sipping vinegars will soon be sold. The
company employs 35-45 workers and
Andrew Lawrence, the company’s brand
manager, says it is now always hiring.
Even though vinegar now accounts
for more than half of the company’s
production, Vermont Village has
maintained its position in the applesauce
market, and has plans for that segment
of its business, too. On the day I visited,
Lawrence showed off a large jar of
premixed applesauce and oats that the
company has in development and plans
to unveil soon. Vermont Village is also
working with Runamok Maple to revamp
its maple-flavored applesauce.
But Lawrence sees the most growth
potential in the apple cider vinegar market,
where Vermont Village hopes to become
the next big thing in healthy drinks.
Vinegar Fuels Vermont Village’s Growth
By Meagan Parrish, Senior Reporter
i s h Photo by Meagan Parrish