Dispensing Happiness

Sea Breeze
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Established in 1925, Sea Breeze is proud of its history of innovation and tradition of excellent service that has spanned four generations. Although the largest family-owned manufacturer and distributor of premium beverage concentrates and syrups in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area, it continues to develop its already impressive product range.
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The Sea Breeze team of Sales Associates helps customers design signature beverage programs, choosing from the largest variety of concentrates one could imagine. Service is crucial to making the company stand out from the crowd. “Because we go the extra mile beyond our competitors, that’s how we maintain and grow our business – by adding more customers by word-of-mouth referrals,” third generation owner Steve Sanders noted.

Since its inception, Sea Breeze has listened to the needs of its customers and adjusted to changing public tastes for beverages. By remaining attuned to the pulse of its market, it has created a selection of products that is growing by the day.

Added fourth generation owner Josh Sanders, “Our field representatives see opportunities for new beverages and other concentrates and recommend those to management to evaluate. After management review, we proceed to R&D [research and development], internal and field testing and development.” This has been a smart strategy to ensure that its products are well-received.

Adapting to customer needs has been part of the company since the beginning. “In 1925, my grandfather started the business with seltzer, adding on syrups a few years later, delivering to customers one by one with a horse-drawn truck. He added on the fountain syrups trying to diversify,” Steve Sanders said.

Mr. Sanders focused on vertically integrating operations and made service the overriding theme. The business started with distribution and added dispensing equipment installation and service to its offerings. Sea Breeze offers “full vertical integration from concentrate manufacturing to distribution, dispenser equipment installation, 365-day emergency repair service, topped by caring customer and sales service.”

Today, the company serves a variety of customers including camps, coffee shops, delicatessens, convenience stores, pizzerias and other fast food eateries, casual and fine dining restaurants, pubs, clubs and bars, healthcare facilities, schools and sports venues. In addition to Sea Breeze, as well as respected regional brands, some of the national brands carried include Jones, 7UP, Dr Pepper, Mistic, Stewarts, Royal Crown, New York Bash, Teafresco, Toshimi and Tropic Beach.

While the supply and installation of food service dispensing equipment is limited to New York and New Jersey, its consumer syrups, such as world-famous Bosco® chocolate syrup, are sold worldwide under a variety of labels.

Customers rely on Sea Breeze for its outstanding carbonated, non-carbonated and diet drinks as well as iced tea and lemonade, real fruit juices, flavored water, energy drinks, cocktail mixes, smoothies and coffee concentrates. It also carries equipment such as ‘bar guns’ dispensers, liquid coffee machines, gravity dispensers, smoothie machines and spray machines, in addition to carbon dioxide tanks. Dispensing systems are custom designed for each installation.

Sea Breeze products are manufactured with limited waste for a minimal carbon footprint. Its five-gallon bag-in-a-box can produce 427 twelve-ounce drinks with less packaging, which means lower packaging costs and simplified transportation, distribution and storage.

“We drive costs out of the equation by having products that are concentrated, avoiding the huge carbon footprint of first creation, then packaging and transport. This is the advantage we have with concentrates over packaged beverages,” said Sanders.

“When you talk about concentrates, we feature the bag-in-box,” said Sales and Marketing Leader Jonathan Samuel. “Once mixed, that concentrate is going to create thirty gallons of beverage. Imagine thirty gallons of soda in cans or bottles, how much waste there is, how much room it takes up and how much labor it takes to carry all of that.”

Sea Breeze recycles over ninety-five percent of the waste from its production processes which makes it good for the customer and the environment. “We’ve brought the same concept to food ingredients. Now we have food ingredients that dispense through similar dispensing equipment that really reduces the carbon footprint,” Sanders said.

Sanders noted that beverages, the primary area of Sea Breeze’s business, have been evolving in recent years. “We’ve now turned our attention to a new potential innovation created by Chef Gerard Murphy to easily dispense liquid food ingredients at the chef’s workstation.”

So Root & Vine liquid food ingredient concentrates were created by Sea Breeze under the direction of Chef Gerard to provide chefs and restaurateurs the same sustainable advantages of concentrated beverages such as space savings, no waste, simplicity, consistency and convenience at the push of a button – fresh on demand.

Sea Breeze will offer Root & Vine concentrated chicken, beef and vegetable demi and broths, cooking wines, vinegars, lemon juice, simple syrups and more from a kitchen gun, with the same bag-in-box packaging as its concentrated beverages. It will be a welcome addition for the health boards as it will provide a sealed, sanitary, high-quality solution to many problems that are commonly experienced in commercial kitchens. No preparation or end of shift cleanup is required.

“Chef Gerard looked to us to commercialize this invention and bring it to market. After three years of R&D, internal and field testing, we are now just bringing this to chefs in the metro New York area with a very exciting reception,” said Sanders. “Sometimes an opportunity can be staring you in the face, and you don’t see it; we see it.”

Another new opportunity for Sea Breeze is ice making equipment. It has embarked on a Hoshizaki ice maker and bin rental program, which includes full service and periodic full cleaning, taking the headache out of ice machine ownership.

Sea Breeze has worked diligently to establish standards by which ice machine rental operations are regulated. “We initiated an effort to create ice maker and bin cleaning and sanitizing food safety guidelines for operators,” Sanders said.

This joint project with the International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT) and the International Beverage Dispensing Equipment Association (IBDEA) – of which Sanders is currently president – established a regulatory code which views ice as a food product as per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“We did not want to go into the icemaker business until we had a guideline created for operators, and we initiated this effort through a couple of trade associations that we’re active in. We initiated this way back a number of years ago and finally got it to fruition,” said Sanders. The guidelines clearly lay out who is responsible for ensuring machines are properly cleaned and maintained.

Many of the company’s eighty employees have been with the company for decades. Once they reach two decades with the company, they are rewarded with a company car. On any given day, the parking lot at Sea Breeze is full of company cars, proving the power of the company culture.

“Our work culture is conducive to hard work, loyalty and creativity,” Sanders said. Sea Breeze has the structure to sustain any growth in demand. Its markets now include front- and back-of-the-house concentrate and equipment solutions.

Its state-of-the-art laboratory, stringent quality control processes and attention to detail all lead to the manufacture and distribution of concentrates of the highest quality. Sea Breeze is Safe Quality Food (SQF) Certified, meaning its products have sustainable, documented quality.

“Our laboratory ensures that everything we process is up to the standards that are defined, enabling us to sleep at night, so we have no product release unless it passes the standards. We’re very methodical and very careful,” Sanders stated. “If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen, and that’s the concept of this rigorous certification.

“We provide the best overall value beverage concentrates and service in our market, and now we will update that to include Root & Vine liquid food ingredient concentrates. Being consistent, ethical and nice is a job requirement, especially with our field people who reflect who we are. We need them to sign on to that concept to keep our mission statement true,” said Sanders.

“If we can demonstrate success and we can make it here in New York – like the song says – we can make it anywhere, and we feel we have a network of distributors located throughout the United States who can introduce this product.”

Sanders acknowledges that it will take time but wants to ensure the company can demonstrate success and maintain the level of service on which it has built its reputation.

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