When the pandemic sent schools into distance learning mode, seventh-grade English teacher Leah Treleven found herself looking for a creative outlet at home.
“I don’t bake, so I went to the kitchen and decided to make some craft cocktail and mocktail concentrates as gifts for my family,” Treleven said.
The cocktail concentrates she created were an immediate hit, and Treleven realized she had a viable product on her hands. She founded Sweethaven Tonics in New Ulm in December 2020.
“It was pretty clear very quickly that this was something that could be useful in a lot of different areas,” Treleven said. “This is the answer for creating a high-end mixologist experience with zero skills.”
Pick your favorite cocktail concentrate, add a splash of spirits, pour in sparkling water and voila! You’ll have a perfect cocktail or mocktail in just 30 seconds.
“The primary component is fresh produce: whole fruit, and locally grown herbs and spices. What makes it unique from other cocktail concentrates is its vinegar base, which captures and preserves the flavors and scents,” Treleven said.
Sweethaven Tonics are available in various unique flavors, including Blueberry Mint & Black Tea and Pineapple Tumeric Jalapeno.
“I love coming up with new flavor combinations,” Treleven said. “I found that it’s something I have a real talent for. It’s been really fun.”
Sweethaven exploded onto the market, and the company has been growing ever since. The concentrates are wildly popular with restaurants, bars and amateur mixologists (like me!).
Just eight months after launching Sweethaven, Treleven and her husband resigned from their jobs to focus on their business full time.
The business recently moved to the former Herberger’s building in New Ulm. With 10,000 square feet, there’s plenty of room to expand, and Treleven plans to ramp up production this spring. Next up: look for the Sweethaven Tonic tasting room to open at the end of 2022.
Submitted photo: Jonathan Hammerschmidt