February 14, 2019
When it comes to soda, cola dominates. But there’s a resurgence building, where vintage flavours and natural tastes are making a return to popularity.
“I have a six year old and a nine year old and they didn’t know what grape soda was,” laughs Manjit Minhas, President of Minhas Craft Soda, “And so we thought that would be great to bring back because I definitely loved grape soda growing up.”
If the Minhas name sounds familiar it’s because Manjit also owns the well known Minhas Breweries & Distillery in Calgary. She has created a huge beverage empire, which has now expanded to selling craft sodas in Canada. Minhas saw a growing market for high quality non-alcoholic beverages, made naturally.
“Quality craft sodas are used in cocktails and mixers; gone are the old days of having an expensive gin or a premium Scotch or premium vodka and mixing it with Coke or Sprite,” explains Minhas, “Plus, for women who are pregnant or if someone just doesn’t drink, or you're cutting down or whatever, a craft soda still gives you something unique, and you can still partake in the social aspect of having a drink.”
While Minhas Craft Sodas are new to Calgary, the family company has been making craft sodas in the U.S. for years after purchasing the Blumers empire and their vintage recipes. Now, she has brought the all natural recipes and old fashioned processes to Alberta, and Minhas Craft Root Beer, Grape Soda, Cream Soda, Ginger Beer and Orange Soda are now available at Calgary-area Co-op grocery stores.
“We use organic cane sugar in all of our products. We choose ingredients like real vanilla, and that’s because consumers want better ingredients; consumers want to know what they're putting in their bodies. And it's important for us, as it is for our customers, to have these to be as natural as we can make them; you won’t find any high fructose corn syrup in our products. I do not allow my kids to drink regular soda because I know what’s in it, and it’s nothing good.”
Minhas says the craft sodas they’re making today are meant to hearken back to a simpler time when products were made with fewer, more natural ingredients, and when drinking a soda was a treat.
“My parents were really strict; we never had chips or soda or that kind of stuff in the house. Growing up, a soda was a big deal and I think that's why it conjures up such great memories,” reminisces Minhas, “You’re feeling special and really savouring every single sip. It probably went down way too fast! That’s the sentiment we’re trying to re-create with Minhas Craft Sodas.”
The soda is made locally in Calgary, and while that’s a nice economic side note, Minhas says it has distinct and major advantages over the big bottlers.
“They're fresh,” exclaims Minhas, “Our sodas haven't been sitting on a truck or in a warehouse for six, eight, or twelve months before you consume it, which is the case for so many sodas. So we can guarantee that you're getting a fresh, great tasting product, because let’s face it— everything tastes great when it's fresh. Not when it's been sitting for a long time. Because we don’t need it to survive for long periods of time on a shelf, we don’t have to put a lot of preservatives in it; these are more natural. This is definitely what consumers are looking for and asking for, and so we are definitely meeting their demands.”
Drive-ins may be a thing of the past, but it doesn’t mean a delicious mug of frothy root beer is! Minhas Craft Root Beer is made with choice ingredients and flavours to create an Old Fashioned-style Root Beer that will take you back to the time of poodle skirts, mom and pop diners, and drive-ins.
Minhas Craft Cream Soda is combination of delicate vanilla flavour and the smooth creaminess of an Old-Fashioned Soda. Made with choice ingredients, its uncomplicated taste is a reminder of an uncomplicated time.
What do you get when you mix a tangy, orange with smooth, creamy soda? A Minhas Orange Cream Soda! The fabulous flavour of this updated classic will have your taste buds dancing with excitement.
The robust flavour of Minhas Craft Ginger Beer will have your taste buds doing hand-stands. Ginger brewed in the time-honoured traditions of the past creates a soda that will fast become a favourite of your whole family.
Grapes sun-ripened to the perfect colour and taste and plucked straight from the vine is the flavour found in Minhas Craft Grape Soda. Naturally sweetened with cane sugar it is a deliciously crisp taste that you will savour.
Find Minhas Craft Sodas at your local Calgary Co-op store.
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