Navy sailor from Virginia attracts customers for his ginger lemonade
The Virginian-Pilot June 21, 2021
(Tribune News Service) Carl Hale Jr. tried ginger lemonade and got hooked.
“I had it one time in Atlanta and I wanted it so often, I figured out how to make it on my own,” he said.
The 2012 King’s Fork High School alum and Navy petty officer 3rd class tried different ways to extract ginger — boiling it, blending it, and straining it.
“I got it right and was really consistent with it,” he said. “I found a good balance.”
The all-natural drink contains just the right amount of alkaline water, cane sugar, ginger and fresh fruit. Family, friends and fellow service members tasted it and encouraged him to turn his hobby into a product.
Surprised but excited, Hale Jr. ordered bottles on Amazon, shot some photos of lemons and ginger side-by-side on his kitchen counter and began posting about the drink on Facebook roughly 2 1/2 years ago.
The response was overwhelming. GingerHale’s Lemonade was born.
He sold it to crew members when he was stationed on board the USS Lincoln and went to vendor events, too.
“It was cool to see people’s positive reactions to something I created,” Hale Jr. said.
He makes the ginger-infused lemonade beverages in five flavors: matcha blueberry, pineapple, mixed berry, strawberry kiwi and original ginger lemonade. It comes in 12-ounce bottles and half-gallon jugs.
It’s currently manufactured in a distribution center in Virginia Beach and sold in five local restaurants: Desmond’s Island Soul Grill, CLTRE Vegan, Herbal Market Wellness Center, Conscious Planet, and Major Phillies. It can also be purchased online at Gingerhales.com.
Shavonne Alexander, owner of Desmond’s Island Soul Grill in Virginia Beach, said she knew the first time she tried GingerHale’s that she wanted to carry it beside the other local products she stocks.
“People come specifically for GingerHale’s,” Alexander said. “Everyone has the flavor they love.”
Through relationships and word-of-mouth, Hale Jr. has grown his business and quadrupled sales during the pandemic. He said his goal is to have GingerHale’s in 30 stores in Hampton Roads by the end of the year.
“I’m looking to expand to different restaurants and storefronts,” he said.
And he wants others to know the health benefits associated with ginger, including providing relief for inflammation, nausea, pain and menstrual cramps. Reports available online through the National Library of Medicine acknowledge that studies have observed effects for these uses, although reported results were mixed for participants.
“I’ve always been a fan of ginger,” he said. “I grew up eating gingersnaps all the time.”
Currently on shore duty in Maryland, Hale Jr. plans to end his naval career at 10 years and pursue his entrepreneurship full-time.
Fortunately, he didn’t need to wait for life to give him lemons to make lemonade.
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