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Pineapple Sliders are a sip of summer all year round

Pineapple Sliders are a sip of summer all year round

Queensland’s famous pineapples are the only ingredients in a refreshing drink that’s been created by Quality Beverages: Bear Essentials Pineapple Sliders.

Pineapple Fruit Sliders are Australian made and owned, gluten free and feature low-GI fruit sugar with an 8% ABV. They’re all natural too, fully pasteurised and contain no added preservatives or sulfites.

“We had a vision to produce a natural product that drinkers could enjoy free from many of the harsh chemicals found in other products, that was enjoyable and still contained some natural goodness,” explained co-founder Michael Fennell.

“We originally came up with idea for the product in late 2014, when craft beer was hitting the headlines and craft cider wasn’t far behind. We realised that another ‘me too’ product was not going to cut it when avalanche of Pale Ale’s, IPA’s and apple and pear ciders hit the market. We needed a real point of difference, hence the idea of using 100% pure pineapple juice was born.

“Unfortunately, being creative and innovative also has its own set of problems, as there were no blueprints with regards to formulation, as you would find with more mainstream products – apple, pear and grape-based products, as well as most craft beer – so we had to invent the wheel, so to speak.”

The product first launched in 2015 and was originally described as ‘pineapple cider’, however the government changed its regulations regarding the fruits that can be used to create cider. It has since been defined as a beverage that is the product of the complete or partial fermentation of the juice or must of apples or pears. It must contain apple and/or pear juice (no less than 75:25 ratio of apple:pear juice for cider.

The decision meant the company was faced with finding a new name for its unique beverage. Fennell admits it was a challenging time for the business and has led to other consequences, such as not being allowed to enter cider awards, go to cider events or join the industry body, Cider Australia. It also resulted in Quality Beverages experimenting with fruits other than pineapple, which were not as successful as the original formulation.

“When we finally relaunched as Sliders, we went out with mandarin and watermelon flavours, which were both formulation disasters, to say the least,” he confesses.

“We then went on sabbatical from the market and embarked on a rigorous formulation program, when we came back late last year with our Pineapple Sliders – after great trial and error, quite a lot of both – reborn from our pineapple cider and reformulated.

“We now finally have a product that we believe can stand in the market, which is being reflected by the positive feedback we’re getting from consumers when we hold tastings. The product is resonating most strongly with consumers aged 25-50, with a split of 55% males and 45% females.”

While Fennell’s favourite way to enjoy a Pineapple slider is straight, in a tall glass over ice, he said they also make a great Pina Colada. See below:

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