Beyond the Label with Cole Pearsall, co-founder of Acid League

Join us as we go beyond the label with food brands that we love at Martie. Today, we chat with Cole Pearsall, the co-founder of Acid League, the brand known for reinvigorating vinegar, and now vinaigrettes, condiments and hot sauces–and beyond! Pucker up folks, we're gonna have a fun ride chatting with Cole about the journey of Acid League! But first, save big on Acid League here. And scroll to catch the full story. AND, make sure to check out the recorded live interview between Louise and Cole, here.

Beyond the Label with Cole Pearsall, co-founder of Acid League

Martie: What’s the mission behind Acid League? 

Cole: We aim to inspire discovery through Acidity. We make modern pantry products that help home cooks be more creative in the kitchen. All the flavor, none of the work.

Martie: How did the idea come to life for Acid League? 

Cole: We identified that there was a white space in the vinegar market. There was no innovation or brand loyalty - people couldn't tell us what they had in their pantry. Further, there was a large movement of consumers who were eating fermented products to improve their gut health which included apple cider vinegar shots. So we started by launching our line of living vinegars that were unfiltered and had very concentrated flavor. Lastly, we knew that there was an opportunity to reimagine what centre store condiments as a whole could look like if they were preserved with our living vinegars instead of using heat pasteurisation or adding white flavorless distilled vinegar. From there we began launching our dressings, broths, shortcut sauces and classic American condiments. 

Acid League, at Martie

Martie: What’s your favorite Acid League product?

Cole: My favorite is perhaps unconventional and unfortunately is no longer on the market - perhaps this is a little bit of a tease. It was our “Seaside Fish n’ Chips Sauce”. I truly think this would have succeeded if we named it differently. It was our smoked malt vinegar seasoned with Cornish sea salt. Way more uses than just French Fries and Fried Fish. I would put it on Dahl, curries and mix with oil as a dressing that had a beautiful smoky richness to it. 

Editor's Note: check out this amazing Bon Appetit video, where chef Kendra Vaculin, shares her secret ingredient...Garden Heat Vinegar! In the video she makes a take on a Tom Collins, using gin + the Garden Heat Vinegar in lieu of lemon! She calls it "A Bloody Mary Light"! And, she talks about how this vinegar makes the best salad dressing you'll ever have. 

Martie: YUM! Tell us about the process of creating your vinegars!

Cole Note: will keep this one to ourselves :) 

Martie: Dang! Ok, we get it though. How about...what has been your biggest “aha” moment when building Acid League?

Cole: There are almost too many to count! One that comes to mind is that we launched our online store at the same time as in retail with two completely different product offerings. We did this so that the particularly verge or “experimental” products that we were constantly dreaming up could be tested online with a more niche audience, while the retail products catered to a more mass consumer. A significant moment for us was to realize that many of the products we thought were best catered to the supermarket customer actually should live online and vice versa. An example of this is our Garden Heat vinegar (Celery, Carrot, Tomato and Jalapeno vinegar) sku that did not perform well on the shelves at Whole Foods but was one of our highest sellers online. In the same way, we launched our “All the Alliums” sku on our online store with decent success but is now in retail with the name “Triple Garlic Shortcut Sauce” and is doing well. 

Garden Heat Vinegar

Martie: How did Acid League get so well known?

Cole: We owe a lot of that to one of my co-founders and creative director Rae. She is the vision behind all that our audience consumes out of the bottle; the packaging, design ethos, etc… Undoubtedly a huge contributor to why we have grown to the size we have is because of the beautiful brand identity she has built. 

Rae, co-founder of Acid League

Hi Rae!

Martie: What’s in the pipeline next for Acid League?

Cole: We have worked hard to refine the pipeline! In the past 4 years we have launched well over 150 products online and in store. Cocktail kits, freezies, pepper spray - totally wacky and delicious products. Not to say that we are taking a break from creating new things, but we are doing our best to really focus on the current portfolio. We launched our Shortcut Sauces (Triple Garlic, Umami Miso and Sweet n Sour) this past October and are excited to get feedback on those. 

Martie: Why is working with Martie important to Acid League?

Cole: Since we have so many SKUs there are often situations in which we either over produce, have some short dated product or are no longer selling them in our typical sales channels. A company like Martie provides a wonderful opportunity to bring our products to new customers who still see value in the food we produce whilst avoiding huge amounts of waste. 

Martie: Cool! Thanks so much for swinging by, Cole. Keep it tangy!

Save on Acid League, only at Martie, here!

Like what you read? Head to our Circular Blog to learn more about our work, mission, and stories that make us unique. What to contribute towards saving good food? Shop from our store here