HANFORD – At this year's upcoming Fresno Food Expo, two Kings County companies are right in the middle of the action: Rosa Brothers Milk Co. and the L.T. Sue Co.
Rosa Brothers is based at a dairy just off Highway 198 on Second Avenue.
L.T. Sue Co. is in downtown Hanford.
Both businesses have new products that are in the running for a couple of expo awards this year: the People's Choice Award and the Buyer's Choice Award.
Rosa Brothers is debuting a cold brew coffee milk it developed in conjunction with Lanna Coffee Co. in Fresno.
Rosa Brothers marketing representative Nicole Schott said the collaboration came about when she and other Rosa Brothers employees met some of the people from Lanna at a previous version of the expo.
Rosa Brothers won the Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award at the 2015 expo.
Lanna won the same award in 2016.
Schott said both businesses wanted to capitalize on the cold-brew trend, so they put their heads together and created the new product, which is 30 percent coffee and 70 percent Rosa Brothers milk.
They ran the new coffee milk by a focus group of customers before deciding to launch it. Schott said it went over well with tasters.
Currently it's available at Best Buy market in Hanford.
Schott expects it to expand into Save Mart and other local stores.
Rosa Brothers is no stranger to winning awards.
The company took home the best new product award for its line of flavored milks at the 2013 expo.
The company has more than tripled its sales since 2012. Vons and Save Mart locations from Madera to Bakersfield carry Rosa Brothers products, including some of the 14 flavors of ice cream the company makes at its manufacturing plant in Tulare.
As for L.T. Sue Co., the tea maker in Hanford's China Alley is introducing Ho Tai Chai, which is a new line of chai teas personally created and blended by company co-owners Steve Banister and Arianne Wing.
The line includes three flavors: figstaschio, cocoanut and orangebliss.
Banister said the new teas were introduced at an expo preview event in Fresno on Wednesday.
He said the expo has been a big boost to the business.
"That's where we get a lot of our wholesale buyers," he said. "We're hoping this new line really takes off."
Like Rosa Brothers, L.T. Sue Co. has prior expo experience and success.
In 2014, the business was co-winner of the Buyer's Choice Award for a lineup of five San Joaquin Valley teas created from locally sourced ingredients.
The company's wholesale and retail sales have more than tripled since then.