The Elderberry Entrepreneur dictionary is a living, breathing document that will be continuously updated as new makers ask questions. While we serve a global community across 4 continents, these terms and phrases are so far heavily US-influenced.


Batch Log: a record-keeping tool to help keep your production details in order. Required for shelf-stable elderberry syrup products.

Beverage consultant:
an expert at recipe formulation for drinks.

Bulk: a way to order pallets of raw goods at a time to reduce expenses

Business structure: A way to set up your business as a public or private entity. Sole Proprietor | LLC | SCorp | Corp: Public commercial business structures subjected to government regulations. PMA: a private member association.

Chinois: a cone-shaped strainer
Chugger pump:
a pump that moves liquid from one vessel to the other in larger production processes
Cottage Food Laws
: Note: varies by state. Foods that are not heated prior to consumption nor need to be held hot to ensure food safety regulations are met. Generally: baked goods.

Digiboil: an electric kettle

Direct to consumer: selling a product at full retail from your kitchen and/or shop to someone else

EIN: Employee Identification Number: An IRS tax designation required to buy and sell goods.
Elderberry Entrepreneur: a person who grows elderberry or makes and/or sells elderberry-based products.


GMP: Good manufacturing practices are a set of standards that ensure truth/accuracy in labeling, food safety practices, etc.

HACCP Plan: Hazard analysis and critical control points (food safety) document that helps you prepare for and avoid biological, chemical, and physical hazards in your production process. This tool helps you stay organized in the event that an error occurs in your process. It also serves as a tracking tool in the event that a consumer experiences a health issue.  HACCP plans are unique to individual makers.

Health Inspector:  Some states ask for food manufacturing regulation to be handled at the local level. For the majority of the states, Dept of Ag handles prepackaged foods intended to be consumed off-premise while health inspectors handle ready-to-eat foods intended to be consumed on-premise (restaurants, food trucks, etc)

Heat sealing
: typically a shrink-wrapped piece of plastic around the neck and lid of a glass bottle to provide the consumer with a level of tamper-proof confidence.

Herbalist: someone who intimately studies plant-based phytonutrients to promote or support wellness. May provide independent services to help formulate elderberry syrup recipes.

Hermetic seal: a type of seal that makes the bottle airtight. This happens when you use a specific type of enclosure (lid), heat your liquid, and then invert the bottles.

Hops Spider: a fine mesh strainer that holds plant material while submerged in simmering in water.

Hot filling: a type of shelf-stable process that involves pH readings, specific bottle and lid requirements, cook time and temperatures, and inversion times.

Inspector: In the US, the person at the Department of Agriculture (food), Health Department (food), and/or FDA  (supplement and/or food) physically inspects your kitchen and production processes to ensure that you are in compliance with written regulations. Inspectors issue or deny food processing licenses. Inspectors are not process authorities; however, they do ensure that you’re following the strict protocols outlined by your process authority letter.



LLC: a public business structure that legally separates your business assets from your personal assets




pH: the value that determines how acidic your elderberry juice is. A process authority will use this value to determine what is appropriate for your recipe and what it needs to be in order to certify your product as shelf-stable.

Plastisol: a specific type of enclosure (lid) that makers use to create a hermetic seal on their bottles in their shelf-stable elderberry-making process.

PMA: an unincorporated private membership association, generally ministry or faith-based, operating in the private realm.

Process authority: In the US, an independent food science expert who reviews, makes changes to, and certifies your elderberry product formulation and processing methodology in order for your elderberry product to be considered shelf stable. A required step to be considered shelf stable for makers doing business in the public sector. The PA does not formulate products for makers (see beverage consultant)

A processing authority is not the same person who inspects your kitchen and processes at the kitchen. The PA is not connected to those who approve or deny your food manufacturing license.

Process authority letter: the document that specifically outlines how you will produce your shelf-stable product. This letter provides you with record-keeping requirements public businesses need to keep as well. Shelf stable makers will be required to follow this during kitchen inspections from their Dept of Ag or local Health Inspector.

Profit margin
This is an important number that partially determines your pricing model. Profit margins help you maintain the health of your business. It also ensures you’re not losing money when you sell your products to retailers, helping to identify what profit you can ‘give up’. Formula: gross profit margin = Net sales − COGS/Net sales (COGS: cost of goods sold


Retail order: a business that buys your product and will sell it at retail to their end consumer

S-CORP: a public business entity for a business that is scaling beyond a single-member LLC whereby payroll might be beneficial. Includes additional tax benefits for makers with significant revenue (Consult your tax accountant. Ex: $50- $75k) 

Shelf Stable or Shelf Stability: a production process that allows a product to remain on a store shelf or in a customer’s pantry, unopened, for an extended period of time (determined separately by a shelf stability test).

Shelf stability test: A specific 3rd party laboratory test that happens over the length of time that tests water activity and microbial growth to determine the length of time your product is safe to consume after having sat on the shelf for a period of time, or after opening.

Supply chain: a set of logistics from manufacturing to distribution of goods. During COVID, the supply chain was drastically impacted in getting bottles and lids, packing materials and other suppliess to elderberry makers.




Water bath canning: a traditional food preservation technique that ensures shelf stability. Sometimes, but not always, an approved process, subjective by state and process authority.

Wholesale (buying at): ordering raw materials in larger quantities at a reduced price than what consumers pay

Wholesale (selling)
: a person or business who buys your product with intention to create something else with it (ie: elderberry cocktails, elderberry smoothies, elderberry ice cream)

Wort Chiller a cooling coil tool typically used in the beer brewing industry that rapidly cools liquid to get it into a safe food-temperature range




PMA (Private Member Association): an unincorporated association that operates in the private realm as a ministry or Faith Based Organization.

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