The Early Days...Simple and Sweet
Like most of you, we strive to lead a more natural and simple lifestyle. We buy organic milk, use phosphate free soaps, and purchase fresh, local produce. When it came to sodas, we found our natural AND local options to be lacking and limited, so early in 2013 we started making our own. Our first syrup was made from wild wine berries (picked from our own backyard), cane sugar, and water from the unrivaled headwaters of Haywood County.
After a warm reception from friends and family, and with an ever present entrepreneurial mindset, we decided to bring our local & natural soda to the public. In May of 2013 we debuted Waynesville Soda Jerks at the Haywood Historic Farmer's Market in Waynesville, NC. We spent the season engaging the local economy, both as a producer and purchaser, and the response was overwhelming.
By hand-mixing, and tasting, each and every soda we have served, we really got to know the market go-ers... not to mention their palates! With much encouragement from our customers and the greater community, we have been steadily moving forward with our idea.
The Source...Mouth Tingling Flavor!
We pride ourselves on sourcing and utilizing the freshest Appalachian ingredients possible. We support Western North Carolina farmers and, in turn, our local economy by purchasing ingredients with sustainability and freshness in mind.
Western North Carolina has a rich and storied culture of world class agriculture. Why would we have grapes shipped from Argentina when we have the juiciest and most flavorful Concord grapes just miles down the road?
Local = Fresh = Optimum Flavor!
How Your Contribution Will Help
As a certified Department of Agriculture Home Processor, we have reached our limit of production (our 1,000 sq ft. apartment is becoming a tricky place to make all of this soda!). Your contributions and support will help us outfit our office with a commercial kitchen suitable for our new bottling ventures. We will upgrade our equipment, explore new sweeteners and flavors and have our product tested by the North Carolina State University Food Testing Lab (for nutritional and shelf-life information). This funding will also help us further develop our farmer's market presence, as well as streamline the process of making our sodas. We love mixing every soda we serve by hand, but it is not the most efficient or consistent method.
Draft Soda and Kegging
- Kegs & Lines
- CO2 Equipment (Because what is soda without the bubbles?)
- Manual Bottle Filler (Just as we make our soda by hand...we will bottle by hand too. Every bottle will be full of flavor, love, and hard work!)
- Manual Bottle Capper
- Glass Bottles and Metal Caps
- Bottle Racks
- 4-pack Bottle Carriers
- Product Testing
- Local Fresh Fruits & Herbs (Organic as much as possible)
- Dry Goods (cane sugar, dried herbs, spices)
- Alternative Sweeteners (No, we won't make diet! Diet=Chemicals! We are working hard to explore alternative sweeteners such as Honey, Molasses, and Agave Nectar)
- Refrigeration and Freezer Units (So we can keep those sweet summer berries fresh and ready for soda year-round)
- Juicers and Fruit Presses (To squeeze every last drop of local deliciousness)
- Ice Machine
- Water Filtration System
- Commercial Sinks
- Stock Pots
- Syrup Storage
Branding and Design Development
- Website Design
- Draft Tap Design
- Logo Upgrades (We want your t-shirts to be as awesome as you are!)
- Bottle Label Design
- Merchandise Design
Jerks in the News!
Yes! Magazine- "Appalachia's New Local Food Economy" -Infographic below
A VERY Big "Thank You!" to Liza Becker and DoGood Social for capturing "The Jerks" in their natural habitat.
All photos courtesy: Liza Becker Photography.
Risks and challenges
Challenges could arise with the inspections process for our commercial kitchen, however we have a long-standing relationship with the county health inspector.
Product testing could take an unspecified amount of time depending on the demand of the NC State Food Lab at our time of submission.
More than any other challenge, time has been the most difficult resource for us. At this time, we are both full-time students, as well as maintaining part-time employment, running Waynesville Soda Jerks and assisting in the reopening of The Strand at 38 Main, a historic local theater. We are the only two "Jerks" currently, but hopefully that will change after our project gets the Kickstart it needs!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)