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Bottled Water Made from Sap

A Vermont company is using sap for something other than maple syrup.
FAIRFIELD, Vt. - The Branon family has been tapping trees and making maple syrup now for seven generations, but you might be surprised to learn that bottled water is their newest business venture.

Sap flowing through the maze of tubing near Branon's West View Maples is liquid gold.

"This is where the sap all flows down to," Gene Branon points out in the woods behind his building.

It then heads inside to make sumptuous syrup.

"This is how it all starts basically, with the vacuum pump, the releasers, pulling the sap down from the trees," he says showing off the equipment.

High-tech separators, known as membranes, then go to work on a reverse osmosis process.

"The membranes are your horsepower. so this is where your separating is done, so on one side of these membranes would be the water, on the other side would be the sap," he said.

In most sugar making operations, the water is sent down the drain. Instead, Branon and business partner Aaron Harris sell it.

"We think we've got an amazing source story for where the water's generated from, and we decided to come out with products that were low cal and low sugar," Harris said.

"It's a natural byproduct of the maple syrup process that's adding a little bit of revenue to maple sugarers," he added.

TreTap is already available across Vermont in flavors like cucumber, blueberry, as well as cranberry. More products are still to come.

"We're about to launch a very similar taste profile in twelve ounce aluminum cans. They're going to be carbonated," Harris, the company’s co-founder said.

Vermont Tapped, another line being introduced soon, will feature a carbonated maple flavored drink, and bottles of plain unflavored water as well.

"We think ours is pretty amazing because of the fact it comes through a plant, an organic maple tree," Harris said.

Branon agrees. "How much water out there comes from a tree, you know, we're not depleting a lake or a river. How much more pure can you get than a tree?"

Because it's been so cold there hasn't been too much sap running so far this year. Instead most of that sap is likely to flow in April, meaning maple syrup and water production will kick up then.
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