Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation

Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation

Written By

Local Banquet

Written on

March 31 , 2019

Back in 2007, Local Baquet ran an article by Bonnie Hudspeth on maple innovation and production in Vermont. The Washington Post conveniently ran their own article a decade later addressing the same topic - a decade during which maple production in Vermont tripled to 1.8 million gallons a year and innovation seems to have entered a new golden (or perhaps amber) age. 


We thought we’d do a quick maple innovation news round up for 2018 / 2019 to help everyone keep up with some of the trends:


  • Maple Hot Sauce is mentioned in the original 2007 piece, a product that has entered the big time now with several local producers, hot pepper infused syrups (perfect for Indian food, FYI), and a bit of maple-related YouTube fame when Maple Wood Smoked Onion hot sauce from Butterfly Bakery appeared on the seventh season of the Hot Ones


  • Maple sap-based seltzer is another 2007 innovation highlight that has seen an expansion in its sector, with several products and a turn by one producer (Sap!) on the reality TV show Shark Tank.  




  • Saxton’s River Distillery a decade ago was looking to produce more maple based spirits that were less sweet than their original liqueur, a goal that has since been achieved as outlined in this Vermont Sugar Makers Association blog post. Another spirit item of note is the work of Elm Brook Farm to designate a maple-specific spirit category, and their own entry into this category: Rail Dog.  


  • And, Sprayable Maple - a new delivery mechanism that makes it easier to manage the amount that lands on your pancakes. Denying well intentioned Vermonters the chance to “accidentally” drown breakfast in a lake of syrup. 


  • A lot of the innovation in maple happens behind the scenes, production practices that create higher yields, more sustainable forestry practices, answers to managing a more variable climate, and so on. Innovation in production methods has now met innovation in consumer products with the Vermont Evaporator Company, selling sophisticated backyard sugarmaker equipment that becomes a smoker and party grill in other seasons.   



This is just a taste of maple innovation in our state - and Vermont shows no sign of our creativity slowing down!

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Our stories, interviews, and essays reveal how Vermont residents are building their local food systems, how farmers are faring in a time of great opportunity and challenge, and how Vermont’s agricultural landscape ties into larger questions of sustainability and the future of our food supply.