An apple a day..and locally made

March 2, 2014
by Candace Harrell, Richland Source

Deliciousness in a bottle, a taste of nostalgia, and just plain amazing – all phrases used to describe the product of Figg’s Liquid Innovations known as Figg’s Apple Pie. Produced locally, Figg’s Apple Pie is a non-alcoholic cocktail mix made from Ohio apple cider.

Korinna Goettel, the entrepreneur behind Figg’s Liquid Innovations, said that she has been making the apple pie flavored beverage for years.

“I can’t take all the credit for the recipe,” admitted Goettel, “It’s a legend. The moonshiners started it, we think.”

Goettel said that moonshiners are not open to sharing their recipes, but she eventually tracked it down, and over the years, tweaked it a bit. “I wasn’t making it to sell,” noted Goettel, “I was just making it up and giving it away to people in Mason jars for Christmas presents.”

Goettel came up with the idea to bottle it simply as a mixer instead of adding alcohol for a marketable product, but didn’t pursue it at the time. Then, in 2010, Goettel found herself unemployed after the company she worked for was bought out. “It seemed like the perfect time to start it up,” said Goettel.

The company name came from Goettel’s childhood nickname “Figgy,” bestowed upon her by a younger brother.

Figg’s Liquid Innovations received its Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODOA) bottling permit in 2011 and currently rents commercial kitchen facilities in Mansfield, where each bottle of Figg’s Apple Pie is filled by hand. She has plans to “ramp up” production and add equipment for more efficient bottling.

The plans for furthering production and disappointment in perhaps “farming it out” is what moved Goettel to contact Braintree Business Development Center, and within two weeks of Braintree contact, Goettel had been approved to become a Braintree tenant, met with a food scientist, and moved ahead with her business plan.

“I had gotten a quote back from a company that I had contacted about bottling for us,” said Goettel. “I was so annoyed at the price they had quoted.”

Goettel decided at that point to rethink outsourcing, add some equipment, and refocus. She also did a bit of research to find investors or help for small businesses.

“I started Googling, and the first thing that popped up was Braintree,” said Goettel. “It said they were going to have a meeting for Caffeinated Ideas the following Thursday and I said ‘I’m going; I don’t know why or what it might turn into, but I’m at least going to start there.’”

Braintree offers “scaling up” for those entrepreneurs that are established but want to expand.

Terrie Bonfiglio, Executive in Residence at Braintree Business Development Center, explained, “When you take someone like Korrina, who has already been very successful at what she has started…she has a lot of vision for where she’d like to take the company. Braintree is there to connect her to those resources that can help her get to the area and scale that she wants to be at. Our goal would be to take her as far as she would like to go.”

Goettel is also listed as a Jumpstart Entrepreneur Network (JEN) client through Braintree.

“Braintree is not just its own little entity, it’s part of a huge network in Ohio,” added Bonfiglio, “By [Goettel] being a JEN client, if we run into something where the ‘Brain Trust’ at Braintree can’t figure it out, we just jump on that JEN network and say, ‘Here’s the problem we are having, can you help us get to the next step’. So now, instead of just having her staff at Braintree, she’s got her whole staff all over the state that can actually find the resources we need to get through that next step, whatever that step is.”

“I’m not alone anymore!” exclaimed Goettel.

Figg’s Liquid Innovations is part of the Ohio Proud network. “Ohio Proud works with retail locations throughout Ohio that are focusing on all-Ohio products. Any time you can team up like that and introduce people to one another, only good things can happen,” said Goettel.

Goettel noted that Figg’s Apple Pie cocktail mix is available at two service plaza locations on the Ohio Turnpike and she even did a tasting of her product there. “People loved it. It was before the holidays; they could pick up something made local in Ohio. A lot of them were traveling to Michigan or Chicago. They could take something from Ohio with them.”

Goettel has plans for new flavors of Figg’s, including “one of grandma’s other favorites.” She is also considering an energy drink that would be exceptional in that it would not be highly caffeinated, would be all natural, and would have long term health benefits.

“We started out thinking it was going to be just a cocktail mix. But like a lot of other things, once you get into the business, it can work into so many other things we never even thought about,” said Goettel.

Goettel noted that, though she had considered outsourcing the bottling of her product, keeping production in-house will not only be more cost effective but will give her full control over the quality of the product, as well as allow her to give back to the community as an employer.

“There are so many people who are developmentally challenged, or mentally challenged, and they can be so good at doing a job,” said Goettel, “I would love to be able to grow to a point that I could utilize their skills to help me grow the company. It’s not just about profit, as I see it. It’s about giving back to the community that let me do what I’m doing.”

Figg’s Liquid Innovations may be purchased locally at Wayne’s Country Market, where Goettel often offers samples of her product during wine tastings; Apple Hill Orchard; Sunshine Market; Ditto’s Carry-Out; Sandy Hill Fruit Farm; Stack’s Drive-Thru; and The Woodward in Mt. Vernon.

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