An Artisan Milk Company Expands through the Northeast

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OMilk is an artisan milk company based in Brooklyn, New York that needed to find a bottle supplier to help them expand nationally. OMilk founders Greg and Julie Van Ullen found their ideal supplier in an unexpected place.

Julie Van Ullen started making cashew milk as a healthy snack before her wedding. Even after vows were exchanged and the bouquet was thrown, though, Julie kept making the cashew milk with her husband, Greg – it was a fun hobby for the newlyweds. Soon the pair was selling their cashew milk and homemade almond milk, now under the name OMilk, at the popular Brooklyn Flea market in Williamsburg. Little did Greg and Julie know they’d spend the next two years trying to catch up to demand, making their nut milks by night and selling out each day at the market.

After taking on home deliveries (a process that required the couple to spend six nights a week preparing and delivering orders, all while holding day jobs) and later expanding to local natural foods stores like Whole Foods, Greg and Julie were ready to grow their business to new heights.

“We were at the point where we needed some new packaging,” Greg said.

With their previous bottling process, Greg and Julie were able to sell their product with a shelf life of about a week. That worked fine for stores in their area, but if Greg and Julie ever wanted to sell farther away, they had to make their milks last longer on the shelf without pasteurization or preservatives.

High pressure bottling was the answer. The new process would increase the shelf life of OMilk’s almond and cashew milks from eight days to well over three weeks, tripling the milk’s shelf life. “Putting the products under tremendous pressure weakens the bacteria in any organic product, so it takes a lot longer for them to regroup and start to spoil your food,” Greg said.

Implementing high pressure bottling required finding a new bottle supplier. Try as they might, though, the Van Ullens couldn’t find a supplier that felt quite right. This is when OMilk turned to Powerlinx, requesting that we match them with a supplier of white HDPE or white PET dairy style bottles.

About a week after Greg submitted their Opportunitiy, Powerlinx introduced OMilk to Craig Saltz of Salbro Bottle, a supplier based in Canada that offers custom bottle designs. Meeting Salbro was a pleasant surprise for Greg and Julie, who had spent considerable amounts of their own time contemplating where and how to go about finding the right bottle supplier. “Greg approached us with a clear vision for what he wanted the OMilk bottle to be. We collaborated on some of the details and were able to bring his vision to light quickly and painlessly,” Craig of Salbro Bottle, said. Greg and Julie received their first shipment of milk bottles, designed especially for them, just a few days ago. They’re thrilled to see how their customers react.

“This bottle situation was integral to us expanding and growing as a company. We really had hit a roadblock otherwise. Powerlinx enabled us to move our business to the next level. I honestly don’t know where we’d be if our friend hadn’t said, ‘Hey, try using Powerlinx.'”