FuzeHub awards Ithaca firm and five others funding in commercialization competition – The Central New York Business Journal

ITHACA — Del Tocororo LLC of Ithaca, which brews sustainable alcoholic beverages called Norwhey, won $50,000 in the fourth annual FuzeHub commercialization competition.

The Ithaca firm is among six New York companies awarded a total of $300,000 in the contest.

Besides Del Tocororo, two companies from Rochester, along with businesses from Amherst, New York City, and Stony Brook, also secured $50,000 in funding, FuzeHub said. 

FuzeHub is an Albany–based nonprofit that works to help small to medium-sized manufacturing and technology companies in New York. 

FuzeHub’s commercialization competition was held Nov. 18 and Nov. 19.

The Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund provided the funding for the six companies. The Jeff Lawrence Fund, which FuzeHub’s administers, is supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR).

Jeff Lawrence, who died in 2015, was a top executive at the Albany–based Center for Economic Growth, the MEP Center for the Capital Region, and a supporter of New York manufacturing and entrepreneurial communities, according to FuzeHub.

MEP is short for Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a NYSTAR-administered initiative that provides direct technology assistance to small and mid-sized manufacturers.

During the competition, 14 finalists from across New York pitched their projects in front of a live virtual audience. A panel of three industry experts selected the award recipients based on the commercialization potential of their technology. 

About Del Tocororo and Norwhey

Norwhey is described as a line of beverages that focus on “sustainably” fulfilling consumer needs through fermentation. Consumers are looking for foods and beverages that enable them to meaningfully balance their life, health, and planet, Del Tocororo contends.

Norwhey leverages expertise in food microbiology and new product development to take underutilized food by-products and “waste” and convert those into “delicious, nutritious beverages that are better” for consumers and the environment. 

Its first product — Norwhey Nordic Seltzer — uses yogurt whey, a by-product of the New York yogurt industry, as its main ingredient. 

It works with companies to take yogurt whey, “and with a proprietary fermentation process, upcycle it into a tasty, low-alcohol beverage naturally high in electrolytes,” like calcium, and B vitamins. Norwhey’s ingredients are whey, water, sugar, juice, and yeast. It contains 3.5 percent alcohol by volume in a 12-oz. serving and has fewer than 100 calories and 4 grams of carbs, according to its website. The beverage is gluten-free and lactose-free.