Introducing… The Almond Merchant

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The newest kid on the block in the Melbourne cafe scene, Almond Milk Co. has certainly caught the interest of coffee drinkers, baristas & health conscious folk, all around our fair city, and we can’t seem to wipe the smile from it’s bearded creatorCam Earl.  We sat down with the handsome chap to talk almonds, coffee & international domination.

TC    Can you tell us a little bit about Almond Milk Co & what your initial aim with the product was?

AM    The whole idea behind Almond Milk Co. is to create an accessible, quality driven almond milk for the general public.  As a dairy intolerant coffee drinker, I was focussed on creating the best dairy alternative I could; flavour & compatibility with coffee were paramount.

TC     How did that creative idea transcend into the fresh bottles of Almond Milk Co. that we see today?

AM    After many late night views of various ‘how to’ videos on YouTube, I began to make my own batches at home and played around with a lot of flavours & ingredients to get the right taste.  The best sweetener I came up with was the dates – they seemed to lift the milk enough without packing it full of sugar.

TC   Once your Almond Milk had been perfected, you must have been pretty keen to try it out on some ‘guinea pigs’?

AM    Yea I was really excited to see what other people made of it.  As I was managing the Little Ox cafe, that was my first port of call – where I started to give it to our regular customers & soy drinkers.  I was amazed at the positive response, with everyone being so surprised at how good it tasted and how well it worked in their coffees.

TC    Did you know then that you were onto a winner so to speak?

AM   To be honest, I think I knew it was something special from the start, but I guess the customer compliments really confirmed how successful it could potentially be.  That’s when I started seeing my product as a real industry contender and something that could be an actual business.

TC    Was it a natural transition to get involved with the guys at Tommy Collins to thrash out the business side of things?

AM    Having worked with TC family for some time, I already knew that they were great operators with lots of industry connections and a far reach.  Creating a partnership with them, I knew would mean that the product could be on shelves a lot quicker and have a bigger brand presence.  Using the TC production kitchen there was lots of space available, and that’s where the first lot of milk was hand-pressed & bottled.

TC   Wow, hand-pressing all those almonds must have been tough…please tell me you’re not still doing it by hand?!

AM   No thankfully after a few hard weeks we managed to get in a nematic press, which has been a godsend!  With the help of the machine & the sheer popularity of our product, we are managing to pump out 500 litres a week now.  From where we started 3 months ago, with 60 litres a week, this is a massive achievement, which we’re all stoked at!

TC   That is a huge jump in volume over a short period of time – do you think you’re attendance at the recent MICE event has had an impact on these numbers?

AM   Yea, without a doubt, MICE was an awesome forum for us where we were able to get more brand awareness and reach a much wider audience, particularly with the trade side of things.  We targeted the cafe culture with the product and have been successful in increasing the number of stockists.  We went from 4 stockists prior to the event, to 35, which we’re at today.

TC   With the short shelf life of Almond Milk Co. there are clearly limitations on how far you can go with it and where it can be stocked.  What is the future plans for the company & brand?

AM   Well the exciting news is that we are in fact only 3 months away from our tetra pack version which will have a longer shelf life, will be 100% organic and means that we can then reach out across Australia to every state.  From then, the goal is stock across the pond to my native kiwi land where the coffee culture booms.  We reckon this avenue will be amazing, as we’ve already had a lot of interest within NZ from cafe owners who are extremely keen to get Almond Milk Co. on board.

TC   Things are certainly moving very fast Cam!  Do you see any scope for bringing the brand to other countries worldwide?

AM   Yea definitely.  With the second long shelf option available soon, we would like to think that shipping across to Europe & the US wouldn’t be too far off.

TC   So nothing short of world domination for AMC then?!

AM  Ha ha, yea we’re taking over the world cafe scene, one almond at a time!

Check out www.almondmilkco.com.au for more info or see the map of Melbourne stockists below.

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