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Holmes Mouthwatering grows applesauce production to international manufacturer
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Ethan Holmes


Holmes Mouthwatering grows applesauce production to international manufacturer


By Paris Wolfe,

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Ethan Holmes of Shaker Heights is at a turning point in his business. His applesauce company, Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce, has grown too big for its current iteration. That’s why he’s using investor funding to shift from a small, local production facility to a global contract manufacturer in Chile. And he’s changing the name simply to Holmes Mouthwatering.

The production move increases capacity without a huge capital outlay. “We will be able to supply larger markets than just Cleveland,” he says “We’re not moving away but growing and evolving. We’ll keep Cleveland as our headquarters.”


The product will remain the same. Holmes describes it as chunky, homestyle, homemade-inspired apple sauce. “It will still be made with apples, pears and apple cider,” he says. “It will be kosher-certified and non-GMO-certified.”

Holmes started his business in 2008, when he was just 15 years old. He was influenced by his grandfather Elmer Buford’s culinary skills and inspired by his entrepreneurial pursuits.

“I had an interest in entrepreneurship,” says Holmes. “My grandfather, who lived with us, made a lot of food from scratch. I asked him to show me how to make applesauce.” Then, the two worked together to make a good thing better by replacing water with apple cider and adding pears for natural sweetness.

By 2014, he launched Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce at the Cleveland Culinary Launch Kitchen using apples sourced from Bauman Orchards in Rittman. A year later, the product was in Heinens, Giant Eagle, Zagara’s, and Dave’s markets. He then got the product into Whole Foods, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and smaller independent establishments.

A former business student at Hiram College, Holmes became savvy at identifying competitions and funding opportunities. He raised $750,000 and recently invested in rebranding strategy and new packaging. The new name is simply Holmes Mouthwatering.


During COVID, he said, it was often easier to get in front of business and financial collaborators by using virtual meetings. That helped with fundraising and growth.

Then, in 2021, a Chilean contract manufacturer reached out to him. The company was looking for strong emerging brands and saw potential in Holmes Mouthwatering.

Holmes visited their plant and met with the research and development department. Together they ate 50 different applesauce formulations. When they arrived at the right recipe, he returned to Cleveland with 500 samples to use for marketing and sales.

He will be shuttering his Bedford production facility by year-end and plans to have his new product, in its new packaging, on retailer shelves in early 2023. In the meantime, he’s working with Walmart and Target among other retailers to secure shelf space.