Vermont Evaporator Company
Backyard sugar making is a fun way to appreciate the outdoors as Winter turns to Spring. It feels good to be outside on those first days above freezing, and there’s nothing like the smell of pine smoke mixed with evaporating maple sap or the taste of fresh homemade syrup. Americans are experiencing a renaissance of do-it-yourself agriculture and food processing. Naturally, this trend applies to backyard maple sugar making. Maple sap is easy and inexpensive to acquire. All the backyard sugar maker needs is a few pieces of simple, inexpensive equipment and a couple of mature maple trees. However, unless the backyard sugar maker is prepared to make a sizeable investment in a sugar shack and a professional-grade evaporator, she must either design and build her own evaporator or resort to an inefficient, inconvenient and messy backyard “hack” such as boiling sap over a campfire or barbeque grill. That’s where Vermont Evaporator Company comes in! Vermont Evaporator Company manufactures small, portable sap evaporators for the backyard sugar maker that are easy to use, do not require a sugar shack, and cost less than the industrial-scale setups available on the market. Vermont Evaporator Company’s flagship product is the Sapling, a wood-fired unit made from a 55-gallon drum and a graded stainless steel evaporating tray. Available Sapling accessories include the Sapling Cover and the Sapling Warming Pan, an attachment that increases the efficiency of the unit by pre-heating sap. To boot, the Sapling can be converted to a wood-fired grill, smoker, and pizza/bread oven in the off-season with additional purchases. Vermont Evaporator Company also offers the Seedling Urban Evaporator, a smaller, baffled pan designed to work with standard-sized propane grills and other homemade fireboxes. A propane-fired Sapling will launch in time for next sugaring season. In addition to tree-sap evaporation (maple, walnut, butternut, birch) evaporators are used to make spruce tip syrup, sorghum syrup and apple cider syrup. The backyard evaporator market is a substantial, emerging and growing subset of backyard hobby consumerism. Backyard maple sugaring alone is a popular and growing hobby in at least twenty American states and two Canadian provinces. Target customer groups for the wood-fired Sapling include:
1. Homesteader: rural homeowner, professional, age 30-40, income $75,000-$150,000, values self-sufficiency;
2. Weekend Warrior: urban/suburban, vacation homeowner, professional, age 30-50, income $150,000+, looking for an escape;
3. Landed Gentry: rural homeowner, retired/semi-retired professional, age 50+, income $150,000+, has time to sugar;
4. Foodie Institutions: schools, inns, bed & breakfasts, craft distilleries, “Instagram farms” and other entities looking to offer tree-to-table experiences.
Introducing the Seedling and the propane-fired Sapling broadens the market beyond consumers with easy access to firewood, increasing urban and suburban reach.
For the 2018-2019 season, Vermont Evaporator Company will introduce a new product, the Propane Sapling, as discussed above, and two Sapling accessories that will increase customer enjoyment of the Sapling: the Sapling Pan Cover, and the Sapling Stack Bracket. Vermont Evaporator Company expects to grow revenues by 50% to $225,000.