INWOOD – Dr. Kenneth Banks’ new take on sweet tea is paying off already: His Dr. B’s Premium Microbrewed Tea took top honors last month for “Best New Food” at the 28th annual Natural Products Expo in Baltimore.
“It’s very exciting,” explained Banks’ daughter, sales manager Sarah Langford, who also is a dental hygienist at his Smile Designs of the Shenandoah Valley dental practice in Inwood. “We went in just wanting to introduce our reformulated tea, and we ended up winning the award. We were all pretty thrilled.”
Now the family business will give the public a chance to sample and learn more about their teas. On Saturday, the Banks team will hold an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the brewing facility located on the Smile Designs campus at 4325 Gerrardstown Road.
Anyone can get a tour of the microbrewing facility and sample the company’s six varieties of tea, each brewed with red South African rooibos tea and sweetened with the natural sweetener xylitol, a substance that’s actually good for teeth.
While those who sip on traditional sweet tea all day run the risk of creating cavities by the mouthful, xylitol works the other way, according to Banks.
Drinking a tea sweetened with xylitol significantly decreases the bacteria that generates an increase in acids that brings about cavities, said Banks, a graduate of Musselman High and West Virginia University School of Dentistry. He now practices alongside his son, Dr. Christopher M. Banks, who shares his passion for creating a drink that’s delicious but also gives consumers protection against tooth decay.
Xylitol is the only sweetener accepted by the American Dental Association and the Food and Drug Administration to reduce or eliminate dental decay.
The teas are made without additives, preservatives or colorants. Though the Banks family began making tea in 2010, the company recently completed a rebranding and reformulation of its flavors.
Now Dr. B’s coconut variety is brewed with coconut water. It’s its most popular so far, and the flavor honored at the expo, which drew more than 1,500 exhibitors and 21,000 visitors to the Baltimore Convention Center Sept. 19 to 22.
The company has five other new or reformulated flavors: Original, Honeybell Orange, Lemongrass, Pomegranate Acai and its Apple Spice, which Langford said will be served warm during Saturday’s open house.
“We thought with the open house happening in the fall, we’d show everyone how great Apple Spice tastes when it’s heated up,” she said. “It’s perfect for chilly weather.”
And while Saturday’s open house is aimed at tea lovers, Langford also hopes to see people who want to learn how the company uses solar technology – staff members from Berkeley Springs-based Mountain View Solar will be on hand to answer questions – as well as business owners interested in carrying Dr. B’s products.
Langford asks that those who plan to come on Saturday RSVP by calling 304-283-2257 or sending an email to info@DrBsTea.com.