In 1887, Log Cabin released the very first maple syrup onto the market which was not 100 percent pure maple. Their recipe called for only 45 percent maple syrup mixed with 55 percent corn syrup. This new product was considerably more affordable than pure maple syrup, and for that reason, it quickly became a consumer hit. Over the next several decades, many other brands of imitation syrup piggybacked on the popular idea and offered even more competitive prices. In order to maintain a hold on the market, Log Cabin further reduced the maple syrup content in their syrup. By the 1970s, most imitation syrup brands had completely eliminated maple syrup from their products. Instead, they used corn syrup and artificial flavors. Most consumers did not realize that these new syrups were not real maple syrup, so the United States put into place a law prohibiting artificial syrup brands from using maple syrup on their labels.
Creating a manner of grading maple syrup was key to ensuring authenticity of products on the market, and it also would give consumers insight into the different flavor profiles of each grade and subgrade. The new maple syrup grades were broken down into two grades: Grade A, and Grade B. Grade A was broken down into three subgrades: Light Amber, Medium Amber, and Dark Amber. Beginning this year, a new and improved grading system will be implemented that will minimize confusion between the U.S. and Canadian maple syrup grading systems. All retail syrup will be Grade A (Grade A Golden, Grade A Amber, Grade A Dark and Grade A Extra Dark), and there will also be processing grade maple syrup available only to commercial businesses.
The new grading system will benefit anyone who has ever been confused by the letters on maple syrup bottles.