The roar of the gigantic juicer drowns out any of the other sounds inside the sunny, loft like room as Juiced! owner Jason Lannoch feeds another bunch of green, leafy kale into the metal monster’s mouth. This juice machine is so large Jason needs a ladder just to reach the chute where everyone’s favorite leafy green is pulverized into bits and transformed from solid to liquid. It’s a far cry from where Jason began nearly a decade ago.
“My sister-in-law gave me my first little juicer. It was like a $40 little tabletop version and I just fell in love with the concept of, instead of eating a large salad, I could just throw my vegetables and fruits into a juicer and get a fresh, delicious juice that infuses the nutrients into your bloodstream immediately.”
As a former mental health therapist in New York, Jason was a firm believer in the mind/body connection as he saw first-hand the hard consequences of a bad diet. “A lot of the adolescents I was working with were started on hardcore antipsychotics and anti-depressants at an early age but almost all of them ate burgers and pizza and didn’t care because no one told them nutrition mattered.”
Feeling burnt out in Gotham and looking for a career change Jason and his wife (they met one another at college in Madison) decided to move to back to the Midwest and start fresh. Fresh juicing that is. Jason, with the help of his dad, found a small food truck for sale and outfitted it with a juicer and took to the streets testing out his recipes just as the food truck scene in Milwaukee was ramping up. “People on the street are very honest with you—like if they drink it right in front of you and they don’t like something you can see it in their face even if they don’t say anything.”
From there Jason opened his first brick and mortar store on the East Side but discovered it was hard to keep up with demand with only a small juicer only capable of making about 10 juices an hour. He knew wholesale was the only way to find success.
“Actually, Outpost was my first wholesale customer. Anne Vedder (our Purchasing Manager extraordinaire) is basically the reason why we took off as a wholesale business. Outpost was always in my mind as the place to be because your store kind of aligned with what we believed in. One day I just decided to get the courage to email again and she emailed me back like ten minutes later and said ‘I’ve been thinking about you, we’ve just had a cancellation for a storewide demo and it’s in 45 minutes can you do a demo?’ and I was like ‘Hell yeah I can do a demo.’”
For lasting success Jason knew he’d have to increase production with new, state-of-the art juicers and find a way to keep his all-natural, preservative-free juices fresh. Enter High Pressure Processing (HPP), a fascinating process where bottles of Jason’s freshly squeezed juice are put in a giant vat of water and subjected to pressures you’d normally find at the bottom of the ocean. “We juice it and we bottle it almost immediately. Hermetically seal the top of the bottle so no oxygen can get in. Right there the juice would have a shelf life of only about 5-10 days so what we do to extend it is we HPP the juice as soon as possible. The HPP process stops the oxidation, stops the effects of time. It’s like a time capsule. So, when you taste the juice on day eighty it’s very similar to the taste on day one.” The fact that a rare FDA approved HPP plant is right down the street in Wauwatosa was just icing on the cake.
Juiced! Is now positioned to go even further. “We’re kicking out like 12,000 bottles a week and only with three days of production on one shift. We have two big tanks, a big grinder. A whole set of pipes, two 300-gallon tanks and a fully automated bottle line. We’ve set ourselves up to become as big as we can be.” It’s a long way from the tabletop juicer that started it all.
From GRAZE Summer 2019 issue