Agave Nectar-Our Story

The Colibree Company, Inc. has been involved in the commercial development of Agave Nectar since 1995. The company was founded by Sabra Van Dolsen and Humberto Saldana Pico both of whom identified the unique characteristics of Agave syrups. We identified the business potential of the product and developed a general marketing strategy which has been replicated by many companies in the now successful marketing of a product which has earned worldwide recognition.

Colibree introduced the first commercial samples of Agave syrup to the United States at Expo West in 1995, a natural foods exposition held annually on both the East and West coasts. Our first discussions of the commercial potential of these products resulted in the coining of the generic ingredient name Agave Nectar. In Mexico this syrup was known traditionally as Miel de Agave and the first commercial samples were branded accordingly. These first samples of Agave syrup marketed by Colibree were manufactured at a pilot plant at the University of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico, under the supervision of Dr. Virgilio Zuniga Partida and his colleagues at the Department of Wood, Cellulose and Paper.

Alvaro Cetto, the owner of the first manufacturing company of Agave syrup called IIDEA, hired Humberto Saldana Pico in 1995 as a marketing consultant to investigate distribution channels for the sale and marketing of Agave Nectar. Humberto in turn introduced the Agave syrup to Sabra Van Dolsen and to a handful of first round investors in what was to become a start-up company incorporated for the purpose of manufacturing and marketing Agave Nectar.

Colibree’s initial organizational efforts focused on negotiating a comprehensive Intellectual Property Rights Agreement with the University of Guadalajara where the first commercial versions of these syrups were developed in the early nineties. This agreement also resulted in a collaborative production capability at the same pilot plant where both fructose and inulin syrups from Agave were manufactured. Most of the company’s initial engineering efforts were conducted in Mexico by its subsidiary: Industrias Colibri Azul, S.A. de C.V.

In 1996, Colibree executed a comprehensive intellectual property rights agreement with the University of Guadalajara which included an assignment of the patent and a right to all future and ancillary technologies relating to their research on Agave syrups. In 1998, Colibree obtained a US patent on a method process to produce fructose syrup from Agave and other inulin rich plants. In 2006 Colibree obtained a patent on the same method process in Mexico.

The Colibree Company, Inc. conducted a Private Offering in the mid-nineties to raise capital to enter into a manufacturing scenario in Mexico, to secure IP rights, and to explore and develop the marketplace for Agave Nectar and the inulin from Agave.

In the year 2000, Colibree engaged a new manufacturing partner in the production of Agave Nectar. This new manufacturer was organized under the name Nekutli S.A. de C.V. and was supported by an extensive agricultural network of collectives and their outside technical and financial consultants; they also received support from certain government agencies that finance long term agricultural and economic development in Mexico. Nekutli is also a registered trademark of the Colibree Company, Inc. which we simultaneously registered as our brandname.

Colibree is now actively involved in the sale and distribution of Agave Nectar to the food and beverage industry nationwide.

Colibree has identified new sourcing opportunities with the many new manufacturers now entering the marketplace. After 15 years of market development this product has hit its stride and is now distributed by several sweetener “giants” including Imperial Sugar and C&H Sugar.

We are proud of our role in introducing this beautiful sweetener to the world.

Want to find out more about the History of Agave Nectar, Nekutli and Origins of Agave Syrup in America: Click here!

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