Embrew Tea will bring their lightly-sweetened, high-end tea bags to retail shelves with the help of the NC IDEA MICRO grant. The founder, Ashley Haywood, created a premium, loose-leaf experience for those like her who are always on the go and want a great cup of tea without the effort and clean-up that’s typically required.
Embrew was one of 135 early-stage businesses who applied for the MICRO grant, making this one of the most competitive grant cycles thus far. The applicants were whittled down to 27 finalists who then pitched their businesses and fielded questions from the NC IDEA panel to advance as one of the 15 grant recipients.
“Recent growth and leveraging the support of NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM partner Venture Asheville really stood out to us. The team is excited to see the $10K grant money fast track Embrew into retail,” says Amy Bastian, Senior Director of the NC IDEA Foundation.
Embrew tea's flavor profiles are unlike any others on the market. They combine ingredients to create modern fusion and contemporary flavors like Bourbon Smoked Sugar with white tea, Lavender and Chamomile with lemon and cayenne, and oolong tea with honey granules that tastes like a butter cookie. The recipes use just a touch of sweetener in the same way a chef does—to bring balance to the cup and pull out additional flavor notes.
Long-time Embrew customer, Michelene raves about the Lavender Chamomile Kick: “This tea is truly exceptional! It has a body like a wine with a smooth finish and an exciting little kick. It's the perfect marriage between sweet, tart, and spice. Every sip is a moment. Enjoy!”
Embrew launched in 2017 as a side business after Ashley had two kids in less than 18 months and desperately needed an easier way to have a high-end cup of tea so her fleeting self-care moments wouldn’t be sabotaged by measuring leaves, dealing with infusers, sticky honey, and more things to clean up. She is committed to ethical ingredient sourcing, manufacturing with certified plastic-free tea bag material, and creating tea products in re-sealable, fully compostable packaging.
Ashley went full time in the business during the pandemic and moved her family and Embrew to the Asheville, NC area in January. In June, she joined the Elevate Mentorship program through Venture Asheville, which has surrounded her with thriving local business owners and mentors that help guide her through this phase of growth to help her scale. Her participation in the Asheville culinary event Chow Chow has opened doors at local restaurants, boutique shops, and gourmet grocery stores to add to the company presence in its former location in Tampa Bay Florida.
Embrew started conversations with several medium and large chain retailers this year, but with the $10,000 MICRO grant, will be able to scale quickly by meeting with retail buyers in-person at shows like Winter Fancy Food and the Las Vegas Gift Market where they will already be looking for innovative new products to put on their shelves next year.
There are 10 unique teas available at embrew.com as well as a list of stores where you can buy them in the WNC area.