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Local Sodas?

I'm researching local sodas and thought I'd reach out to the community to find out about ones I've never heard of. So far, I know of the ones in places I'm familiar with:
Manhattan Special (NYC)
Big Red (TX)

I've also heard about AJ Stephans Vanilla Cream from Boston.

What are some other ones (that are still in production and not widely distributed?

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  1. Regan, Jones Sodas in Seattle, Washington are very innovative in their products and marketing. (I'm not sure about their overall distribution.) You can order custom labels on your sodas using photos you provide to Jones. (Great for birthday gifts.) In addition, Jones always releases "Holiday Soda" flavors such a Turkey & Dressing and Brussel Sprouts. (These may be available through your local Target store. Buy early, as they are very limited.) Check out their website for further information.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Walters

      I would disagree with Jones soda as being a local/ not widely distributed soda. At a time it probably was only a local soda, but I started drinking it in NJ about 8 years ago. Recently in Va I've found Jones soda cans for sale at Target. I figured making it to multiple state on the east coast= widely distributed.

      I don't know how widely distributed it is but the Dominion Brewery in Va (?) makes a pretty good rootbeer.

      1. re: viperlush

        Both Jones Soda and Big Red are readily available in IN and Jones Soda is also readily available in FL.

      2. re: Walters

        Is Blue Sky soda still around? I think they were primarily distributed in New Mexico, but from time to time the local Trader Joes in LA would get in a few cases. I think they had flavors like Raspberry, Orange Cream, Cherry Cream etc.

        1. re: Marvin

          i like Blue Sky. Wild Oats in portland has them still.

          1. re: Marvin

            I had Blue Sky from a bodega in Stamford CT.

        2. I assume you've already checked Galco's Soda Pop Stop.


          Moxie is still being made and distributed in the Northeast. An acquired taste but I like it.


          I'm a fan of the original Dr Pepper in the returnable bottles (still made with cane sugar).


          Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray is a staple at NY Delicatessens. Green River Soda is still being made outside Chicago. In DC, the local brand is Rock Creek; their grape soda taste more like the original Grape Nehi than what Nehi is peddling now.

          1. Foxon Park soda in Branford, CT--tiny local bottler makes a version of the SCOTTISH (and kinda vile)Irn Bru, birch beer, really small and odd bottler.

            1. Foxon! Made in East Haven CT for the past 100 years. All of the real flavors-- Cream, Cherry, Birch, Gassosa-- yumm!

              1. Check out Pop the Soda Shop...they ship worlwide


                1. Big Shot drinks made by National Beverage Co out of Ft. Lauderdale--esp popular in NOLA. Great fakey fruit flavors like pineapple, strawberry, as well as cream soda and others.

                  1. Ale-8-1, Blenhein's Ginger Ale, Big Red, Moxie, the list goes on and on...

                    1. Saranac sodas (http://www.saranac.com/softdrinks/) are from Utica, NY, but I think they're fairly widely available in the east now.

                      1. We love Apple Beer from Utah! :)


                        1. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, both Thomas Kemper and Henry Weinhard's seem to be relatively popular. Both companies are better known for microbrew beers, but the sodas are quite good too. Both have a good root beer and orange cream, and I also like Thomas Kemper's Grape and Black Cherry flavors.

                          Thomas Kemper: http://www.tksoda.com
                          (Couldn't find a web link for Henry Weinhard's, but they're a lot less common than Thomas Kemper.)

                          1. I second (third?) the Foxon Park recommendation - it's the only thing we'll drink with New Haven apizza. You can order online: http://www.foxonpark.com/start.asp

                              1. re: keysdax

                                I love their soda, and I love that their lemon-lime soda is called Yup.

                              2. there is a lovely soda company that is either from new hampshire or from vermont (I forget which) and they do a wonderful maple syrup cream soda. It is so yummy!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: bitsubeats

                                  Is the company you're thinking of Vermont Sweetwater?

                                  They have a maple seltzer, which is just carbonated sap and they also have a maple "cream" type soda, which is sweetened. Good stuff!

                                  1. re: dukegirl

                                    nope not it, I remember the label being more "plain"

                                2. Virgil's makes amazingly good natural root beer and creme soda.


                                  I just discoveded them recently when it showed up in my local King's supermarket. I have a problem drinking soda lately - I take a medication which has an odd side effect in that it makes most sodas taste awful. At least those which apparently are not made all naturally as I happily discovered.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: sivyaleah

                                    I used to work at a mostly vegetarian/ organic restaurant and we carried 9 different kinds of organic rootbeer! They were all good!

                                    1. re: sivyaleah

                                      I'll strongly second Virgil's root beer, which for me is the best I've ever tasted. And I've tried several in my day.

                                    2. Spring Grove pop from Spring Grove, Minnesota. Completely unavailable northwest of Rochester (MN), northeast of La Crosse (WI), and south of Oelwein (IA).

                                      I really miss the fruit flavours.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                        I haven't had Spring Grove soda for ten years, Is it still dirt cheap?

                                      2. Not Sure if its a "local" item but Suburban Club use to make a
                                        "Almond Smash" that I haven't seen for awhile..and from way back a soda called"Fruit Bowl"

                                        1. Regional to the south - Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale. It's unlike any ginger ale I've tried. It has a tremendous ginger kick to it. Very spicy! Makes Schwep's and Canada Dry taste like water.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sheilal

                                            I'll second this...really intense ginger taste. Buffalo Rock is just the local Pepsi bottler in Birmingham, so it's cheap also, and available in supermarkets. Never seen it outside the Birmingham area, though I've not looked too hard.

                                          2. Being from Michigan originally I have to say that Vernor's Ginger Ale should be on this list, even though they were bought up by the larger 7-up/Dr. Pepper company. There is also Faygo with my favorite flavor being Rockin Rye.

                                            1. Here in Nova Scotia, one of the microbreweries also does some lovely sodas - Root Beer, Ginger Beer, Orange Soda and Vanilla Cream Soda.


                                              I'm not sure how you'd get your hands on one - but they're quite tasty. The Root Beer is my favourite. The Ginger Beer is quite strong, which sounds a strange thing to say about a soda, but is true. I don't think I've tried the other two.

                                              1. Carver's Original Ginger Ale used to be somewhat local (MD and VA) but I believe the company has been purchased by Coca Cola. Carver's has real ginger, spring water and cane sugar. It is easily the best ginger ale I have ever tasted.

                                                1. Simpson Spring in South Easton, Mass., is still alive and well, with such flavors as sarsparilla, coffee soda, white birch soda, and my old favorite, golden ginger ale.


                                                  1. Northern Neck Ginger Ale from where else, northern neck VA. Polar Ginger Ale is from New England but is not widely distributed, at least I can't find it and I would love a local supplier.

                                                    1. I dont care for any local sodas other than root beer.

                                                      My favorite, made in Wisconsin is Sprecher Root Beer, creamy, and flavorfull. Luckily I can get it in Illinois.

                                                      1. Not too sure if it's strickly an SF or CA or just Chinese thing, but I LOVE Belfast Sparkling Cider

                                                        1. At the risk of tooting my own horn, I wrote an article on this topic a few years ago. Here's the link:



                                                          1. Philly area- Black Cherry Wyshniack (sp?) and Birch Beer. Birch beer is different than rootbeer. More of a spice and kick to it.

                                                            Paul- You should toot your horn. Great article!

                                                            1. Sundrop is the best soda on the planet, bar none. It is made in Tennessee, but is distributed in the Carolinas also. I don't think it goes much further than that area.


                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Scampi

                                                                Sundrop is owned by Cadbury Beverages, the same outfit that owns Crush, Canada Dry, Scweppes, 7-Up, Dr Pepper, Squirt, and whole bunch of other brands. The beverage division is located in Plano, TX, the former Dr Pepper HQ. Cadbury does not have its own bottler network so they use a combination of Coke, Pepsi and independent bottlers. That TN bottler is an independent and probably your local distributor. Agreed though, Sundrop is primarily a regional brand, indigenous to the South.

                                                              2. I miss Vernor's from my days living in Michigan long ago.

                                                                I'm in Kansas City but lucked on some Kutztown sodas at Dutch (Mennonite) store in Tipton, Missouri. I like the Ginger Beer, Birch Beer, Root Beer and Sarsparilla best. Not too impressed with the Cream Soda though. I'd rather have Dr. Brown's Cream instead. I'd like to try the Kutztown Orange Cream but this shop doesn't carry it.

                                                                1. Grandpa Grafs - a small midwest brand has Cherry soda (not black cherry) that has a flavor to which cherry lovers can easily become addicted. They also make a heavily carbonated soda with a subtle lemon-lime flavor that's named White soda. Both are first rate and taste like they were handmade in small batches. They also make a range of other flavors that imo aren't as special. Canfield, a megabottler, bought Grampa Grafs and ever since it is hard to find.

                                                                  The greatest root beer I've ever had (which is more easily found than Granpa Grafs) is actually made in small batches. It's Sprechers, made with real vanilla and honey at a small Milwaukee brewery.

                                                                  The best chowish meal I've ever had was at Kopp's in Milwaukee: a cheesebuger with carmelized onions and a Sprechers root beer, followed by a Kopp's frozen custard.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Nukedli

                                                                    Was Sprecher's root beer called "Black Dog," sporting the logo "No Whiners" on the label? If so, it was excellent.

                                                                  2. Have you heard about Sparkling Loganberry soda from Crystal Beach in Saratoga, NY? It has nothing to do with Saratoga sodas...tho it is called Sarasoda (get it?) and comes from PJ's BarBQ in Saratoga NY. As far as I know it is unique in flavor, very good. And as local as you can get...PJ's has had a non-carbonated loganberry drink for years for their customers, and now added the sparkle.

                                                                    1. local pizza chain (hot lips) recently started to make their own soda from local berries.. it is really tasty
                                                                      i don't think they've started shipping or anything like that yet, but maybe in the future ??

                                                                      1. Dominion Brewery in VA makes a great root beer. http://www.olddominion.com

                                                                        1. I grew up on A-Treat soda from Allentown, PA.

                                                                          The best was their birch beer, sarsparilla, grapefruit and golden gingerale. They made a darn good cream soda too.

                                                                          1. If you head up to Canada (especially Quebec), there's an unusual concoction called spruce beer. It's a non-alcoholic soft drink that kind of tastes like carbonated Pine Sol but in a good way, if that makes any sense. There are several brands of it, and I've never seen it in the US.

                                                                            1. 1960s summers spent at an Elm Street NW DC rowhouse would never have been the same without Rock Creek grape and orange sodas, Fritos, and Kits (candy)! Rock Creek is difficult to find in the Atlanta, GA area...have been told that I would have to go to the "south side" of Atlanta to find them and that they are even sparingly found there. Disappointing to say the least!

                                                                              1. Avery's soda in New Britain, CT. They have great cream soda and birch beer.

                                                                                1. Regan,
                                                                                  You must try Canfield's 50/50 in Chicagoland area. It is made by local bottlers, Canfields. It is half grapefruit / half lemon/lime. My favorite soda.

                                                                                  I hope you like it too.


                                                                                  1. Frank's sodas in Philadelphia. The best Black Cherry Wishniak (a Philly fave), cream, and orange ever!!