LancasterThrivingSummerFall2017 - 24

BUSINESS: MADE IN LANCASTER

Escape from
the oldest bank in
Lancaster County

Reserve your escape at

www.FirstNationalEscape.com
100 West Market Street, Marietta
(717) 384-5625

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24 | LANCASTERTHRIVING! | Summer/Fall2017

with the actual connection to their respective religious
practice. Unlike Quaker Oats which has never had any
real connection with Quakerism, the association with
the namesake of Menno Tea is significant and inherent.
Weaver and Garber Miller received their first grant from
a Mennonite college. Their beliefs and practice were and
are essential in gaining distribution through a powerful
distributor of "plain" products with sales close to $1B.
The word-of-mouth generated among their community
has contributed to a considerable amount of company
growth. Compared to the general population, this niche
market share may seem relatively small, but considering
the Long Tail theory of economics, with Mennonite
membership in North America at approximately
400,000, it makes good business sense. But Menno Tea's
distribution is not limited to the plain market. It's carried
by high-end purveyors like Rooster Street Butcher in Lititz
and Central Market in downtown Lancaster, and Wood
Burning Luca Italian Kitchen in downtown Lancaster.
Growing a business based on a simple recipe from a
college kitchen to national distribution has not been
without a few bumps... or rather lumps... of too much
sugar. Weaver reflects, "On our very first production
bottling run we had an issue where about twice as much
sugar was added to our recipe. It was so much that it
overpowered the taste of mint." Weaver holds on to these
bottles to remind him that although the inspiration for his
company was a homemade recipe, running a business
is a different matter. Beverage and bottling science, with
considerations like ph and "brix," does not sound nearly
as pastoral as hand-picking mint from a family field, but
the result is the same: using simple ingredients to achieve
a great product.
Almost all of their mint is grown on a farm in Ohio. But in
an effort to make their tea as close to the original recipe
as possible, Weaver and Garber Miller started the oneacre farm in Bird-in-Hand to grow the traditional Apple


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