Some Soda Starts at the Farm

When I drink a soda, I like it to be of  high quality.  No corn syrup is a given, but have you given much more thought to what goes into that beverage you’re drinking? We recently discovered a new option, made from local ingredients, on the shelves of the grocery store and were inspired to ponder all of our local soda options.

Jones Soda, always a good no high fructose corn syrup choice, is available widely. (We were pleasantly surprised to be served a Jones recently mid-air on an Alaskan Airlines flight.) They’re based in Seattle and provide many flavors of pure cane soda. Of course their labels, random photos sent in from real people, are lots of fun, and their catchy bottle cap sayings taken from ‘real fortune cookies’ are entertaining and often offer some good, sound advice. But do they source their ingredients locally? Probably not. Their sodas are clean tasting and delicious. If I was to judge a company by the quality of their cream soda (and I do), I would have to say that sometimes they can be overly sweet. They make a very good lemon-lime soda, which is my soda of choice for a Friday night pizza. Even though their slogan tells you to ‘run with the little guys,’ when compared to the other sodas on my list, they’re the big guys.

Hot lips soda uses fruit from local farms.

Local fruit is packed into this delicious soda.

I will profess my love for Hot Lips soda any chance I get.  And now, joy of joys, I no longer have to go to Portland to get it. Hot Lips soda has arrived in Seattle! It’s also being distributed in other places, and I can only hope that someday they will take over the world. They make their sodas out of locally grown fruit and serve it on tap alongside their locally-topped pizzas. Their website says it best:

We make soda to worship the fruits and berries grown in the Pacific Northwest.

Their sodas are deep and fruity, and they have a flavor for every mood. It’s hard to pick a favorite. Is it a thick strawberry soda for dessert? A crisp and clear apple to cleanse the palate? A blackberry to remind you of summer? Each one is carefully crafted. When we talked to the soda guy last summer at the Portland market, before we even confessed that the blueberry was our least favorite, he talked passionately about how they were working to tweak the recipe for the blueberry. These people care. They care deeply, and it shows.

Apple farmers grow this mildly carbonated soda.

Apple farmers grow this mildly carbonated soda.

Last week, before we knew about Hot Lips descending on our city, we spotted some Skagit Fresh soda at the grocery store. They’re calling it a ‘sparkling fruit beverage,’ and it’s certainly more reminiscent of one of those bottles you might buy for New Year’s Eve, than a soda. It’s not sweet and the flavors are mild. There is no sugar added to the ingredients. We tried some of the ‘Big Bad Blackberry.” I was disappointed and wasn’t really blown away by any “big” blackberry flavor, though I have to admit that after Hot Lips fruit-full efforts, I have high standards. If you’re looking for a mild soda, this is a good choice. The project is certainly an admirable one.  This article says that it took five years of research and the collaboration of three growers to develop a product that could “capitalize”on the market and still be “place based.” To make the soda, they take apple juice from three local farmers and mix it with berry concentrate in an effort to “help keep apple farming alive in the Skagit River Valley.” (Read more about it here.)


3 thoughts on “Some Soda Starts at the Farm

  1. Hi Anne,

    We’ve been busy brewing this past week and after a few days off heading up to Seattle to find some more places that might carry HOTLIPS!!!

    We’ll also be in Farmers Markets again this summer so if you’re down here stop by and say hello.


  2. Pingback: Kitchen Scraps « Small Potatoes

  3. Pingback: Hotlips Makes it Big « Small Potatoes

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