This month’s FoodService Magazine with a story about Mario C. Bauer becoming one of the Curtice Brothers. Find the original article in German language here
By Nilofar Eschborn | Image by Rene van Bakel
The recently resurrected heritage brand Curtice Brothers pursues setting the hospitality benchmark as a premium-option with boutique character.
Curtice Brothers, a ketchup-confession. Founded by the brothers Simeon and Edgar Curtice long ago, today the ketchup brand is backed by a renowned food industry figure: Mario C. Bauer, board member and responsible for the international expansion of Vapiano until the end of 2017. He continues to work as a consultant for Vapiano while focussing on his new project: the revival of the old Curtice Brothers ketchup brand.
The idea occured during a holiday four years ago. “Wherever you go – whether it’s Melbourne or Muscat – you will be served the very same ketchup. That was my wake-up call.” Partner Christoph Callies began to explore the internet and stumbled across the Curtice Brothers brand: founded in 1868 in Rochester, New York and abandoned in the 1940’s. Inspired by its heritage the two decided to bring the brand back to life together with friends from Vienna, London, Zurich and New York. “We are not the Curtice Brothers”, Bauer admits. “Neither do we seek to replicate the original flavor because we don’t know the old recipes. What we are doing is to attend to this found legacy and meld it with our own philosophy: la dolce vita in a bottle.”
One impediment was with the examination of intellectual property rights, for which Bauer consulted with lawyer Dr. Johann-Christoph Gaedertz of Kanzlei Keil & Schaafhausen. Along with the Curtice Brothers’ he also enjoys Vapiano’s confidence. “We registered the brand by acquisition of the word- and the design-mark.”
An ensuing exercise was the creation of awareness and appetite for Curtice Brothers. “Our ketchup is 100% organic, cooked in Tuscany and contains 50% less sugar and salt than the average ketchup.” The makers are La Dispensa di Campagna located in Castagneto Carducci, Tuscany.
To add a romantic touch to the brand, the ketchup is being filled into glass bottles that are as heavy as they were back in the old days. Equally authentic is their logo in combination with the pale blue and vintage font of a bygone era.
The product is on offer to their trading partners as 70g and 380g bottles for €0.95 and €3.40 (net) and in 9kg containers.
Bauer contemplates Curtice Brothers to evolve into an explicit hotel- and restaurant-brand while his focus is set on the German, British and Austrian market. “We are the alternative to industry-ketchup for every restaurateur who defines himself through quality, thus refuses to serve his steak or burger with an ordinary ketchup as many others do.”
The high tomato content stands for quality, Bauer points out. “Our ketchup contains 77% organic tomatoes, while some other brands, for instance, boast a mere 17% tomato content.”
The approach seems to prove successful. With their investments of around €750.000 so far, their current production volume equals 800.000 bottles à 70g. Order quantities vary from client to client. KaDeWe, Spreegold and Burchardt from Berlin were among their first partners as well as the Mook-Group from Frankfurt. In Munich the Curtice Brothers are celebrating their debut with Feinkost Käfer while a worldwide listing with Eataly is near conclusion.