The next step in the triumphant return of New Bedford’s beloved Silmo Syrup officially launches this weekend, as the startup company is about to debut a second flavor.

After Silmo returned with its signature coffee syrup at last October's Chowderfest and then became available for purchase last December with the first pop-up shop at Kilburn Mill, many wondered what the next flavor would be to come out of the kitchen.

Longtime Silmo fans will be tickled pink by the answer to that question.

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

This weekend, Silmo’s strawberry flavor debuts at the Whaling City Festival, where attendees will have the opportunity to sample the syrup mixed with milk and purchase a pint to take home beginning tonight as well as on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“You spoke, meaning the people and the customers of the Silmo universe, and we’re delivering,” said Silmo President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Abreu, who noted that Silmo’s strawberry syrup “doesn’t have that artificial strawberry flavor.”

“There are no synthetics in this at all,” he said. “It’s all legit, all real.”

Abreu, whose grandfather Manny Martin was a longtime owner of the Silmo brand and factory, revived the brand late last year after a 21-year absence and years of gearing up toward a return to market.

In just a few short months, he was able to go from holiday pop-up shops to being stocked locally in independent markets to now having Silmo on the shelves in major supermarkets such as Market Basket, Stop & Shop, Shaw’s and Trucchi’s.

With his grandfather’s book of syrup recipes in hand, though, Abreu knew establishing Silmo coffee syrup on the shelves would inevitably lead to more flavors to follow.

“We put out a poll about two and a half months ago. Our coffee flavor was going like gangbusters, that was always our main flavor, but we asked what would you like next?” he said. “We put out about 20 different flavors, everything from vanilla to chocolate, maple, pistachio, creamsicle and everything in between, and strawberry was the winner, hands down.”

Abreu said strawberry was “a big seller for Silmo for a very long time,” so it’s no surprise the people wanted it to return – the first of many, Abreu said.

“Once we got the coffee footing under us and got into stores and had a little more stability with getting that launched successfully, we were always wanting to bring back other flavors,” he said.

“We had coffee, strawberry, vanilla, chocolate and other dabblings like a maple pancake syrup, vanilla creamsicle, a pina colada mix,” Abreu said. “There are some other things I want to try as well. We’ve been getting a lot of feedback for a pistachio syrup, a lot of folks have been asking about that.”

He also said he’s planning on some limited-run holiday and seasonal flavors as well, such as peppermint.

“The sky’s the limit for us,” Abreu said. “We have a lot of recipes, a lot of ideas.”

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“People are also asking about decaf Silmo coffee (syrup), that’s something to consider, but to be honest with you, what we’re really trying to focus on for the coffee is a sugar-free coffee syrup,” Abreu said, noting he’s still perfecting that recipe.

“There’s a lot of chemistry in this,” Abreu said. “There’s a lot of art and chemistry and cooking in food production. You’ve got to be on point with every batch, 100 percent uniform across the board in everything you make.”

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

But for now, he’s excited for the reaction when New Bedford and the SouthCoast get to taste that strawberry Silmo for the first time in decades.

“We’ve had some people try the straw, and the feedback has been fantastic,” Abreu said. “People have enjoyed it, look forward to people trying it this weekend at the Whaling City Festival and hopefully bring a pint home.”

Abreu said he’s working with the supermarkets to get strawberry Silmo on the shelves in the near future, and that it will soon be added to the Silmo website as well for those who want to order it from outside of the area.

New Bedford's Silmo Factory Circa 1951

Did you know that Silmo coffee syrup used to be made right here in New Bedford? It was manufactured in the current Inner Bay Cafe building. Here are some throwback photos from 1951.

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