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What's New at Cleveland Kraut: Doug Trattner reports

In just six years, Cleveland Kraut has grown from a small cottage food business to a well-regarded national brand.

CLEVELAND — In just six years, Cleveland Kraut has grown from a small cottage food business to a well-regarded national brand. The fermented foods product that literally was birthed in a parent’s basement now is available in 8,000 retail stores spread across all 50 states.

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If you are a faithful North Union Farmers' Market shopper, you might recall partners Luke Visnic, Drew Anderson and Mac Anderson tenaciously trying to hand out samples of their homemade sauerkraut. The year was 2014 and fermented foods were seeing a resurgence across the nation. But many shoppers had unpleasant taste memories of sauerkraut, instilled in them by inferior commercial products or overly “ripe” homespun recipes. All it took was one small bite of Cleveland Kraut’s fresh, crunchy and vividly flavored product to realize that this was not Grandma’s sauerkraut.

Soon, flavors like Classic Caraway, Beet Red and nicely spiced Gnar Gnar began appearing on local restaurant menus and grocery store shelves. James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Symon was an early champion, utilizing the product at all of his restaurants, as was Heinen's grocery stores.

In addition to product quality, timing was on Cleveland Kraut’s side. The world was waking up to the benefits of raw, fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, which are loaded with probiotics. Those useful microorganisms are credited with everything from strong digestive health to boosting the immune system. Unlike many of its competitors’ products, Cleveland Kraut is never heat pasteurized, which means all of those health benefits are preserved.

In 2018, Cleveland Kraut replaced its familiar glass jars with eco-friendly pouches that feature a one-way vent that preserves the natural fermentation process.

These days, the Cleveland Kraut team is operating from its roomy new HQ in Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood. The 16,000-square-foot facility at the Central Kitchen Food Hub offers the space needed to continue expanding while adding new products. In addition to original and newer sauerkraut flavors, the company has rolled out a line of tangy dressings and marinades that are built around brightly flavored fermented vegetables.

Now, shoppers in all 50 states can find Cleveland’s own Cleveland Kraut on the shelves of Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, Target, Walmart and many (many) other stores.

Visit their website, here.