Top Note Tonics to move production to Wisconsin

Milwaukee adult soda maker partners with Octopi Brewing

Top Note Tonics owners Noah Swanson and Mary Pellettieri

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:21 pm

Milwaukee-based Top Note Tonics plans to move its production to Octopi Brewing Co. in Waunakee, the company announced today.

Top Note Tonics owners Noah Swanson and Mary Pellettieri

Based in the Lincoln Warehouse in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood, Top Note parent La Pavia Beverage LLC makes non-alcoholic sparkling sodas and aromatic tonics often used in mixed drinks.

“The combination of sweet, sour, bitter, savory, they’re a little more adult,” said co-founder Mary Pelletieri. “They’re kind of like adult soft drinks.”

Its five tonic flavors – Classic Tonic Water, Indian Tonic Water, Ginger Beer Soda, Bitter Lemon Soda and Grapefruit Soda – are currently developed in-house and then manufactured by a Pennsylvania co-packer. But with the installation of a cold pasteurizer and customized bottling line at Octopi, the products will be manufactured in Wisconsin beginning in July. A $150,000 Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. loan helped make the new equipment a reality.

Top Note makes five flavors, including Indian Tonic Water.

Top Note has three full-time employees in Milwaukee, as well as two full-time employees in Chicago, said Mary Pelletieri, co-founder of Top Note. It does not plan to add employees in Waunakee, instead relying on Octopi employees for production.

The company expects to save tens of thousands of dollars it expects to save in freight annually as a result of the new production location, since most of its product is consumed in the Midwest, Pelletieri said. Top Note products are sold in many Sendik’s, Festival Foods and Outpost Natural Foods stores locally, and she expects they will be available in many Roundy’s stores soon. With the production move, Top Note expects to double its sales to the Madison market, gain an innovation partner and get closer to its Minneapolis customers with the help of Octopi’s distributor.

Top Note, which moved in to a commercial kitchen it built in the Lincoln Warehouse in 2015, has also collaborated with other beverage companies there, which have included Bittercube, Enlightened Brewing Co. and Twisted Path Distillery.

“As a company, we’re focused on producing the highest quality flavor profiles and most innovative product line in the mixer category,” said Mary Pellettieri, co-founder of Top Note. “We formulate our sparkling mixers in our flavor kitchen in Milwaukee with all natural botanical extracts, real juices, cane sugar and non-GMO acids. It’s our hand-crafted approach to sparkling mixers that is driving us to work with the talented team of brewers at Octopi. We know they can match our desire for high quality and attention to detail.”

Pelletieri said the move opens up more possibilities, with Octopi’s canning line and the opportunity to innovate around club soda, which it plans to add to its beverage offerings soon.

“Mary has always been a great help to us with sharing her knowledge of beer quality so we knew someday we would want to help her make her products here at Octopi in Wisconsin,” said Isaac Showaki, owner of Octopi. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be the first craft brewer in the country making craft sodas and sparkling mixers with an industry leader.”

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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