In our quest to be the startup voice from “everywhere else” we sometimes come upon hard goods startups that have a great story. Pure Soda Works is one of those startups. We learned about Pure Soda Works when our startup road trip brought us to the thriving community in Chattanooga TN. While Pure Soda Works isn’t “on the gig” they’re certainly quenching the thirst of those that are.
Pure Soda Works is the brain child of husband and wife team Matt Rogers and Tiffany Rogers who’ve already had success with their all natural bath and body company called Everday Eclectic. While we would hardly call Chattanooga a “hippie town” their residents are passionate about the environment, natural products, eating healthy and the environment. In a story or two about our trip to Chattanooga we’ve talked about how we saw electric car charging stations about the town. It’s really a great place.
More after the break
So we got a few minutes to talk with Matt Rogers one of the founders of Pure Soda Works, here’s our startup interview:
What is Pure Soda Works?
Pure Sodaworks is an organic, artisan soda company located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We utilize natural ingredients such as herbs, spices, berries, barks, roots, and fruits in order to make our soda flavors. All of our sodas are sweetened with natural cane sugar as opposed to high fructose corn syrup.
Who are the founders?
Matt Rogers, 32
Tiffany Rogers, 34
Shawn Clouse, 37
How did you come up with the idea?
In 2007, Matt and Tiffany started an all-natural bath and body company named Everyday Eclectic. Using essential oils, plant oils, natural waxes, and other ingredients, they were able to develop a line of soaps, soy candles, lotions, balms, and other products that are hypo-allergenic and good for the environment. After selling their products for four years online, wholesale, and via various markets, they had the idea to take the same types of natural ingredients that had been using for Everyday Eclectic and develop a food product. After doing some research and thinking about their favorite types of foods, they decided to try out natural sodas.
What are some of your cool flavors
From the beginning, we wanted to focus on fun flavors that have a familiar reference point for people, but are also unique. Our two “standard” flavors are Ginger Ale and Root Beer #4 (so-named because it took us four attempts to create our signature root beer flavor from the list of ingredients that we had from the 1800s). Some of the more unique flavors that we have developed include Orange Basil, Lavender Mint, Honey Lime, Apple Pie, Strawberry Jalapeno, Candy Cane Cream, Cherry Lemongrass, Hibiscus Lemon, and Peaches and Cream.
With your new retail space are you selling bottles of soda or opening up a soda fountainOur new retail space is in a prime location on Chattanooga’s North Shore at Coolidge Park. During the summer months, thousands of locals and tourists alike come out to enjoy the river, the park, and the various shops and restaurants on the North Shore. In our storefront, we will be selling our complete line of all-natural bath and body products along with our bottled sodas. We’ll also have a soda fountain behind the counter for people who want a more nostalgic experience. With a large 15 x 30 foot awning, we hope to create an inviting atmosphere for people to escape the heat of summer and relax with a refreshing soda.
Once we have our bottling line up and running, all of our sodas will be available for purchase online as singles, in four-packs, and in cases. In addition, we’ll be looking at other online stores that we can list our sodas in, including Amazon and Etsy
Before we even sold our first soda at our cart, we had restaurants contacting us based on word-of-mouth to see if they could carry them. Since then, we’ve had about 30 restaurants contact us about selling our sodas in addition to hundreds of loyal customers at various markets and events that we bring our mobile soda fountain to. Once we got up and running and saw the response that people were having both to us and to our product, we realized that we really had something worth pursuing.
First off, our sodas are sweetened with natural cane sugar. We also use organic ingredients, locally sourced fruits, and focus on funky flavors in order set ourselves apart.
Our initial focus will be on developing our local market with as many restaurants, convenience stores, and grocery stores that we can handle ourselves. Within three years, I’d like to see us well established as a regional brand, offering a number of bottled flavors in a variety of stores, restaurants, and online.
One of the coolest things about Chattanooga is the entrepreneurial and artistic spirit that exists here. For a city our size, it’s amazing how many startups are here from artisan coffee (velocoffee.com) to new social media platforms (lifekraze.com). We’re also home to the nation’s first gigabit-per-second fiber internet connection that you can get in your home and the city is offering a huge incentive for tech folks to come here and figure out what cool stuff can be done with it (thegigcity.com).
In addition to all of that, we have one of the country’s best weekly markets, The Chattanooga Market, that features over a dozen farms, a rotation of about 200 local and regional artisan-entrepreneurs, a food court made up of our local fleet of food trucks, and local and touring musical acts.The local support for our soda start-up has been very overwhelming. Our sneak peek event last week saw around 200 people come through our doors to see our new space and try our sodas. We are so excited to see what happens as we continue down the road toward bottling and distributing our sodas.