From Dublin Dr Pepper to Core Power, Erath County continues to make waves in the drink world. However, unlike the popular soft drink, Core Power is made of milk from dairies here and across Texas and New Mexico.
Select Milk Producers, a milk co-op with dairies from Texas and New Mexico founded in 1992, includes 15 dairies in central Texas and eight Erath County dairies, most notably Hidden View Dairy south of Dublin. Hidden View is owned and operated by Willy De Jong, who said Core Power came about after a few discoveries while Select Milk Producers was working out a way to transport milk more efficiently.
"The research was into ways we could fractionize milk and possibly take the water out of milk so that we could transport three loads in one tanker to the cheese plants out of state," De Jong said. "The process is similar to reverse osmosis, and after nearly 20 years of research and development we are able to present Core Power to our customers."
De Jong said Core Power is a 100 percent milk based product that is made with only high quality, high-protein milk to power and strengthen those who drink it. He said the fractionizing separates the milk into five parts through a filtration system that builds on what's already in the milk and improves it with more protein, calcium and vitamins with no lactose.
"Because it's made from the best milk we can provide, it not only is an exceptional recovery drink, it also tastes great," De Jong said. "My favorite flavor is vanilla, but they're all great."
Select Milk Producers, including those Erath County dairies, and Fairlife started with a small plant in Comanche and has grown into a larger plant in Michigan. Now, Core Power is the official protein drink of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
"We are so excited," De Jong, who is the president of STEDCO, said with a big smile. "It's so great to see how far we've come. This all started back in 1992 and has grown into such a great venture. It wasn't something we just threw together, this has been our blood, sweat and tears in this company, this product. So, yeah, it's real exciting getting to this point. And I love saying some of the founding dairies in this company are from right here in Erath County."
De Jong said getting endorsements for Core Power wasn't difficult because the athletes came to them.
"They liked the lack of ingredients and the great taste it had and they came to us about it. I think the athletes saw we were of the same mindset as they were," he said. "We did this to revitalize the dairy business and to integrate dairy into the health and wellness aspect of people's lives. I think having athletes take this drink with them to the Olympics does just that."
The group, including De Jong, who moved to Erath County in 1994 and said he originally joined Select Milk Producers because of the like-mindedness of the producers and because they all share the same goals, decided to use Coca-Cola Company as their distributor. The connections between Coca-Cola and the Olympic Games helped the company as well.
The company will be joining with another co-op – Continental Milk Producers – in the coming months to allow for more production of both Core Power and Fairlife's other milk-based drink, Mootopia. Both are available in H-E-B stores and promote five things De Jong said were very important to each and every Select Milk Producers dairyman - sustainability, traceability, transparency, animal care and comfort and affordability for all.
"It's the realization of a dream. As a producer, I rarely get to touch the consumer directly, but I can go into stores around town and see this product on the shelves and in people's hands and know that the milk they're drinking came, partially, from my farm," said De Jong. "And with this, I have a part and a say in how it's marketed. That's exciting, this is a new way to get milk into the hands of the next generation, and we are a part of that."