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Hany’s Harvest: Plant-powered tonics invigorate lives

A lifetime of farming and yoga made Hany El Diwany a natural for this industry. See how (included) ACCESS helped him prepare for Expo West.

Shara Rutberg

February 22, 2023

5 Min Read

Last year, (included) CPG, a collective of BIPOC founders and executives in consumer packaged goods, launched (included) ACCESS, a retail growth accelerator that prepares BIPOC food and beverage founders for trade shows. New Hope Network, as part of its mission to create health, joy and justice for all people while regenerating the planet, has been a partner in this accelerator. The eight-week cohort concludes with sponsored exhibition and programming at Natural Products Expo West in March.

The 10 emerging brands participating in this cohort will exhibit in booths N1530-N1539 in the North Hall, level 200. In each issue of Expo West Show Scoop through March 1, we will introduce you to two ACCESS members.

Hany El Diwany didn’t discover fire cider—a pungent apple cider vinegar–based infusion used for centuries to boost immunity, digestion and respiratory function—until 2013. But he was already quite familiar with a tonic of another type.

By definition, a tonic invigorates and strengthens—physically, mentally or morally—and El Diwany found a powerful one several years back. After leaving his first career as a chemical engineer and traveling to India for a yoga teacher training program, he stumbled upon classical Indian music.

“Indian music is deeply rooted in the natural relationships of energetic frequencies,” El Diwany says. “It has complex rhythm patterns that stimulated parts of my mind in ways no other activity ever had before.” That stimulation transformed him. El Diwany based his meditative practice on the powerful music for years. He’d practice his playing for hours and conduct sound meditation workshops to share his passion for this tuneful tonic with students.

Then came his first sip of fire cider. Feeling the positive benefits of daily doses, El Diwany realized this potent brew had the potential to help others feel good too. Engaging an engineer’s mind and a love of tinkering, he developed his own recipe. El Diwany kept brewing bigger and bigger batches to share with friends, leading him to launch Hany’s Harvest officially in 2017. He began bottling and selling fire ciders, earth ciders and oxymel syrups from Pilot Works, a communal incubator kitchen.

While formulating recipes with roots and leaves was new for El Diwany, working with plants was not. He spent his early childhood in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and frequently visited his family’s farm on the Nile River Delta in Egypt, close to where his father was born. At the farm, he milked cows and goats. He hunted birds. He also spent a lot of time in the fields with his older cousin, learning the day-to-day work of running a farm. The experience cultivated the passion for natural, healthy, sustainable living that fuels Hany’s Harvest today.

hanys-harvest-portrait.jpegIn 2018, El Diwany moved the company to New York’s Hudson Valley, putting down roots in a vibrant community of local farmers and small businesses in the town of Catskill. There, he and his partner, Adina Saperstein, the company’s business manager, farm. They raise chickens, keep bees and grow much of their own food, including many ingredients that El Diwany turns into new products. Using his creativity and problem-solving skills to formulate new infusions is El Diwany’s favorite part of the business.

In Catskill, he connected with the ARC of Ulster-Greene through the Greene County Economic Development Center. The organization offers employment, education and vocational training for neurodiverse individuals.

“We have several individuals with autism and learning disabilities who are an asset to our team,” says El Diwany. “Being able to provide job opportunities for these team members is very gratifying.”

As El Diwany preps for Natural Products Expo West through the inaugural (included) ACCESS program, we asked him more about his unique experience and mission-centric brand.

Which of your products is the best match to your personality? 

Hany El Diwany: Unsweetened Fire Cider. It’s assertive, bold and fiery but also a great companion.

In the natural food space, what challenges have you faced as a founder of Middle Eastern descent? 

HED: Particularly in Brooklyn, New York, where we were founded and spent the first couple of years of operation, we were surrounded by a community of diverse entrepreneurs from all over the globe, and the overwhelming spirit was that of mutual support. I choose to consider my background an asset to my business and firmly believe that such an attitude has served me well as I navigate this challenging space.

How has the (included) ACCESS program helped you prepare for Natural Products Expo West?

HED: Thus far, the ACCESS team has been invaluable in helping us with our preparation for Expo West. Besides the logistical and financial aspects of the program, the [team] has shared with us a plethora of tips based on their experience with previous Expos, including booth setup, how to engage the various persons we will meet, Expo do’s and don’ts, etc. 

What do you hope to accomplish at Expo West?

HED: Our hope is to initiate relationships with potential investors and larger wholesale accounts.

natural products expo west

The founders of the first (included) ACCESS cohort brands will each share their stories during a special session at Natural Products Expo West. Brand Spotlight: Discover 10 Innovative BIPOC Brands Shaking Up Expo West begins at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Grand Ballroom E of the Marriott. You'll also hear from industry allies Naturally Network, J.E.D.I. Collaborative, (included), Project Potluck and Fila Manila. Find the Expo West agenda, floor plans and more at To see registration options, including those for virtual access, click here.

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