Staff Picks

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The first staff-person I spoke with this month was Talitha Jensen, who has been working at the Co-op as a Deli Server for two years. For her staff pick Talitha chose the Divine Chocolate milk chocolate, toffee, and sea salt bar. Talitha chose this product because in her words “It is just so good”. Talitha says the Divine Chocolate is a high quality chocolate that is smooth, not too sweet, and not too salty. She also likes that the inside of the wrapper contains company and product information. She particularly likes to know the story behind a product that comes from so far away.

Divine Chocolate Limited has been making and selling Fairtrade chocolate for decades. Originally established in the UK back in 1998, the company was initially co-owned by a cocoa farmer’s cooperative in Ghana, Twin Trading, and The Body Shop, with support from Christian Aid and Comic Relief (Wikipedia, 2017). The farmer’s cooperative in Ghana, Kuapa Kokoo, has gradually been increasing their stake in the company and now owns the majority of the company, a first for the industry. As the cooperative’s stake has increased, so has the number of members, with close to 85,000 in approximately 1,400 villages not counting themselves among their ranks (Divine Chocolate Limited, 2017).

Divine Chocolate currently carries over 50 products, which include chocolate bars, seasonal gifts and specialties, drinking chocolate, and cocoa. The company is an advocate for environmental conservation in cocoa farming, and is working to reduce their environmental footprint by limiting air freight of materials in the supply chain, and by removing plastic from their packaging. Over the years they have won a host of awards, but most recently were named the Favorite Fairtrade product in the UK, named Social Enterprise of the year in 2014, and won the Guardian Sustainable Business Award for Social Impact in 2015 (Wikipedia, 2017). In addition to providing some very interesting information about this unique cooperative, their website also has a pairing guide for chocolate and beer as well as a guide on mindfulness and the art of eating chocolate. Clearly they are serious about their consumption of chocolate (Divine Chocolate Limited, 2017).

The second staff-person I spoke with this month was Alex Croft who has been working at the Co-op as a Cashier for the past two years. Alex recommended the 21st Amendment Brewery Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer. Alex describes this beer as having a watermelon aftertaste that is pleasant, but not overwhelming. She says that it is very refreshing on a hot day, especially when you don’t have air conditioning in your apartment. She also says it is a great beer choice for a day on the lake or river, and it is a bonus that it comes in a can, so you don’t have to worry about glass bottles getting broken.

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21st Amendment brewery was founded in 2000 in San Francisco by Nico Freccia and Shaun O’ Sullivan. Nico and Shaun both came to brewing after having pursued completely unrelated (to brewing) careers, but having a shared interest in home brewing that landed them in a brewing science class at UC Davis, where they met, became friends, and hatched the plan to open a brewing company together. They named their brewery after the amendment that was responsible for repealing prohibition, and have found inspiration for their beer in the San Francisco culture of the early 1900s and a shared passion for reclaiming the neighborhood gathering spaces that were commonplace at the turn of the century.

21st Amendment Brewery is responsible for pioneering the beer can revolution, which they initially pursued because cans present an opportunity to market the product and tell a story more completely than a bottle label will allow. Quite simply, Nico and Shaun were interested in sharing their inspiration for their beers with consumers. Their interest in cans was the driving force behind opening a production facility in 2015, which has helped 21st Amendment become the 31st largest craft brewery as of 2016 (Wikipedia, 2017)

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