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Port Moody dad seeks to challenge the big pop industry with his small-batch, tea-infused soda drink

Shane McCardle is bringing Rocky Mountain Tisane to the Tri-Cities in time for New Year's resolutions for a healthier lifestyle.
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Shane McCardle and his daughter Thaila, of Port Moody, want people to purchase their Rocky Mountain Tisane as an alternative to sugared soda and alcohol.

Shane McCardle has been on a lifestyle journey to make himself healthier and more fit.

Now, the Port Moody entrepreneur has a product for others making similar choices to enjoy a beverage that tastes good without all the added sugars and chemicals.

And for those looking to cut down on the booze but still crave wine-style tasting notes, Rocky Mountain Tisane may fill the bill with cold-infused sparkling teas that contain flavours such as hibiscus, cinnamon, grapefruit, ginger, fennel and lemon grass.

"I wanted to give people an option, we wanted to have the healthiest option on the shelf to give people a choice," said McCardle in an interview with the Tri-City News.

Rocky Mountain Tisane is a small-batch cold-infused sparkling beverage with herbal teas to provide a flavourful drink that would appeal to any discerning palette.

Sold in select natural food, craft brewery and coffee shops the Tri-Cities, the flavours include:

  • Hibiscus and Cinnamon
  • Lemon Ginger 
  • Fruit Infusion 
  • Yerba Mate Mountain Chai

McCardle said the flavours were developed with the advice of a Surrey-based tea sommelier, with teas sourced from all over the world, and the brew is cold-steeped for 36 hours at a temperature of 2 C to get the most flavour.

The beverages are unsweetened and produced in a certified organic plant in small batches.

"It's a Bentley of flavoured water. It's like fine wine," said McCardle, who characterized the production as similar to a craft brewery where a brew master takes care to assemble only the finest ingredients and puts their personal stamp on the quality and taste.

With the enthusiasm of a connoisseur, McCardle describes drinking his product the way a wine taster would judge the bouquet of a fine wine.

"It’s like a dance, it sounds crazy but it’s true, things dance your mouth, first the flavours, then Shazam — the bubbles, and an amazing after taste."

Without naming names, McCardle says he wants to challenge all other soda-based drinks that claim to be natural and healthy but contain chemically similar rather than natural flavours.

McCardle said Rocky Mountain Tisane was developed with two other fathers as an alternative to pop.

"We're just three fathers trying to make a difference," says McCardle.

The idea was born out of a family crisis at a wine tasting when a child of one of the partners refused a glass of water.

She wanted pop, but her dad said 'no.'

It wasn't until Ken Giffen, who lives in Abbotsford, started experimenting with infused tea drinks to appeal to his daughter that the idea for Rocky Mountain Tisane bubbled to the surface.

When Giffen used a Soda Stream to add bubbles, suddenly he had something his daughter would enjoy.

Giffen, now a partner in Rocky Mountain Tisane, had struck on something momentous, according to McCardle, who realized there was nothing similar on the market.

They invested their own money into the idea, found a partner, Scott Bennie, in Calgary, Alberta, where the product is made.

The source of the 'Rocky Mountain' moniker reflects the fact that the water does indeed come from the Rocky Mountains. Tisane is French for herbal tea.

Launched in 2019, the product is slowly taking off in western Canada.

"The only thing we don’t have to launch this company huge is money, we’re just fathers," jokes McCardle.

Fortunately, Alberta has a buy-local program that supports small businesses, and Rocky Mountain Tisane is now in many major grocery stores.

Here in B.C., it's taking longer to bring the product to market. 

"It costs money to get into the grocery store," McCardle said.

Still, he's optimistic that Rocky Mountain Tisane will take off, and he hopes it will inspire his own daughter Thaila, now 18, to consider getting into the business or starting her own.

"My passion was to leave a legacy behind to inspire our daughters; to inspire them to 'A 'go for something, do it and 'B' make a difference, and make an impact.

"And hopefully take over the company."

Rocky Mountain Tisane is available at a number of Tri-City outlets, including Pomme Natural Market in Port Coquitlam and Kaffi Espresso Bar, Canteen Creamery and Parkside Brewery in Port Moody. 

For more information, you can visit the company's website.