In Business: Loide’ Oils & Vinegars Tasting Bar
Loide’ Oils & Vinegars Tasting Bar opened its first store in Nisswa over five years ago. Since then, three more shops have opened up throughout Minnesota, so you can now go oil and vinegar tasting in Walker, Bemidji and Monticello.
“We are set up as a tasting bar to help people choose which products they like, and to mix samples of the oils and balsamic together,” said Lois Hensel, owner of Loide’ Oils & Vinegar.
There are over 70 fresh varieties of olive oils, wine vinegars, and aged balsamic vinegar. The conception of Loide’ Oils and Vinegars came to Lois while vacationing with her husband in Colorado when they came across an oil and vinegar tasting bar.
“I, of course, thought drinking vinegar would be terrible, but once we stepped inside and tasted the products, we were amazed,” Hensel said. “We did a lot of research to make sure that we found the best, cleanest products and started looking for a location that would have good foot traffic.”
Hensel says Loide’ Oils & Vinegar carries the highest quality ultra-premium olive oils and authentic balsamic vinegars that are meant to last forever. She says there’s a difference between the oils they sell and store-bought brands.
“About 85 percent of the olive oils that are carried in grocery stores, unfortunately, are not an extra virgin olive oil even though they’re labeled that way,” Hensel said. “Currently, there’s no regulation on labeling, so what happens is producers will mix oils together, they’ll take last year’s product and mix it with this year’s harvest and then smack it into a bottle.”
Hensel says they test all of their products and to ensure that they’re bringing the freshest olive oil to their customers, they switch hemispheres every six months.
“The Northern Hemisphere, which includes the United States, Spain, Italy, Greece, they harvest their olives in November, so they crush their olives in November,” Hensel said. “The Southern Hemisphere, which is Australia, Chili, Peru, all of those countries, they crush their olives in May and June.”
There are many health benefits of extra virgin olive oil. It can help stabilize blood sugar and reduce inflammation.
“You should have between two and three tablespoons of quality olive oil products per person, per day. The Sanford Center in Bemidji is sending customers in because our balsamic vinegar is actually recommended to have up to five teaspoons per person during the day for anybody that is pre-diabetic or diabetic,” Hensel said.
Customer service is important to the business. Currently, the stores are trying to specialize in individual service. Employees want to educate customers on how to use the product.