22 Oct 2015
Mallorca, Spain
Organic Food and Agriculture

Pep Lemon is a friendly brand of lemonade that is ethically and proudly produced on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Only surplus lemons are used to create this 100% natural and local beverage.

Mallorca is the ideal place for a business like Pep Lemon. The northwest coast of the island is made up of fertile valleys and terraced mountainsides, home to olive trees, oranges, and lemons that have been cultivated since ancient times. But this local production now faces a risk: the strict requirements and regulations of supermarkets, and the seasonal phenomena that destroys hundreds of tons of citrus fruit each year. This has especially dire repercussions on an island like Mallorca, where 99% of consumer goods are imported from outside.

It is in this context that Pep Lemon’s idea was born: produce a lemonade made with the Mallorcan lemons that would be doomed for destruction. The lemons that do not fit the requirements imposed by retailers, and the ones that come from abandoned areas, would often be thrown out. By turning those lemons into lemonade, Pep Lemon not only limits the amount of organic waste, but also preserves the local environment.

Pep is short for Josep, a common name in Mallorca. The young brand was created in 2013 by three partners: Carme Verdaguer, Tomeu Riutord, and Christoph Hafner.

When life gives you surplus lemons, make lemonade | The Switchers

Prior to creating Pep Lemon, the trio had no connection to agriculture. Riutord is an architect, and Verdaguer and Hafner come from the communications sector. Facing the sad observation of the wasted lemons, particularly during Spain’s economic crisis, the entrepreneurs imagined a 100% locally-created drink. But because they had neither industrial production experience or finances, they had to find partners for the project.

The three business owners developed a unique value chain that included local organizations. The agricultural cooperative Agroilla provides Pep Lemon with the lemons, while the foundation Amadip.esment is responsible for handling and processing of the lemonade. Packaging is done by Carbonicas La Paduana, the only Mallorcan factory that still manufactures glass. This allows the bottles to be recycled and refilled on the island. The last step, distribution, is handled by Comercial Bordoy, the company responsible for bringing the lemonade to bars, restaurants, and shops on the island.

The success of Pep Lemon was immediate. In 2014 alone, more than 100,000 bottles were sold on the island. Since that first year, Pep Lemon has expanded its product line to include a locally produced cola and orange juice. Pep Lemon has also created Pep in a Box — a mouthwatering blend of natural lemon juice combined with gin and a dash of rosemary. Diversifying beyond drinks, a lemon and orange jam is also available for sale.

With these products —and more on the horizon — Pep Lemon is an example of a business that truly turns life’s lemons into lemonade.

When life gives you surplus lemons, make lemonade | The Switchers
Pep Lemon Organic Food & Agriculture
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