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Venetian Ginger Ale is a classic ginger ale inspired by a century-old iconic Vermont soda of the same name.
Venetian Ginger Ale is a classic ginger ale inspired by a century-old iconic Vermont soda of the same name.
192 backers pledged $27,568 to help bring this project to life.

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Venetian Ginger Ale - A Prohibition Era Vermont Classic

$27,568

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A spicy bite, tamed with just enough sweetness to bring it all into balance. It's the way ginger ale should taste, and it only took us 85 years to figure it out. We’ve brought back a concoction from the roaring 20’s—inspired by a family recipe almost lost to history.

With your support, we will be able to rent commercial kitchen space and purchase the necessary equipment to bottle Venetian Ginger Ale in its home state of Vermont 100 years later.

 

Our mission to bottle Venetian Ginger Ale in Vermont runs deeper than making tasty soda—it's also about bringing back the spirit and tradition of early Vermont entrepreneurs like Michael C. Dorn, creator of the original Venetian Ginger Ale.  

Steve Conant is the current owner of the historic Soda Plant building that used to house bottling operations for the original Venetian Ginger Ale back in the 1920s. We sat down with him to talk about the growing Vermont startup scene and how it mirrors the early days of Vermont industriousness. And, of course, we also talk about Venetian Ginger Ale.

Hi Kickstarter, my name is Justin. In 2015, I discovered a box in my grandfather's basement containing an archive of my family's forgotten legacy in the beverage industry. My great grandfather, Michael C. Dorn, was a German immigrant who started a soda company in 1917 and built the now historic Pine Street Soda Plant in Burlington, Vermont. There, he bottled the original Venetian Ginger Ale that quickly became a New England favorite. 

Venetian Ginger Ale booth at the Champlain Valley Fair
Venetian Ginger Ale booth at the Champlain Valley Fair

 

I learned very quickly during my research that this wasn't your typical wholesome family business. During Prohibition, the soda operation (allegedly) acted as a nexus for whiskey running across the Canadian border, down to the major East Coast cities. It turns out that Lake Champlain was a perfect, straight shot for bootleggers looking to avoid any entanglements with the law.

The Soda Plant on Pine St in Burlington, VT
The Soda Plant on Pine St in Burlington, VT

Armed with inspiration from the soda’s colorful past and a radically different take on Vermont history, I decided to try my hand at making some ginger ale, with the original as my muse.

 

Fast forward to 2016. After making countless batches, I finally narrowed in on a balance of spiciness and subtle sweetness I just had to share with people. After receiving overwhelming encouragement to take this to the next level, I assembled a small team of believers to begin laying the groundwork for production.

Over the past year, we’ve locked in the production recipe, identified suppliers for ingredients and packaging, made contact with enthusiastic distributors, built local hype, and have done our homework to understand the production process from top to bottom. We can’t wait for you to try Venetian!

 

Visualization of Venetian Packaging
Visualization of Venetian Packaging

 

It became obvious early on that my great grandfather was obsessed with quality. The original Venetian Ginger Ale was marketed as a high-end beverage, mimicking the appearance of champagne bottles during Prohibition. 

To honor his legacy (and to satisfy my inner Vermonter), I made a commitment from the very beginning that Venetian Ginger Ale will only use high quality ingredients. This means using whole ginger instead of extracts and adding a touch of sweetness with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. 

Being a craft soda startup is no picnic. While it would be easier for us to get a large, out-of-state company to formulate and bottle for us, the small batch, “Made in Vermont” quality is an intrinsic part of the heart and soul of Venetian Ginger Ale. However, bottling carbonated beverages in-state poses unique challenges: we will need the initial funds for ingredients, materials, commercial kitchen space, and capital equipment to scale our operations beyond hand-bottling (that would take an eternity!) and produce the first run of Venetian.

 

  

 

We are Venetian Ginger Ale. Justin Bunnell, the great great grandson of Michael C. Dorn, the man behind the original Venetian Ginger Ale. Justin's wife Anna Bunnell. Ti Kawamoto, partner and humble marketing guy. Mark Covino, award winning director of The Crest and A Band Called Death. Nathan Beaman, co-owner of The Archives bar in downtown Burlington. Matt Bornhorst, marketing super-intern.

 

 

Risks and challenges

We went into this understanding that any new venture faces risk and uncertainty. Our biggest challenge will be to overcome the initial high cost of a first run. With that said, we have come up with multiple contingencies in the event that our funding goals are not met or fall short of what is needed. This project has support from many Vermonters who have a history of generosity and share our dream of bringing this historic brand back to life. We are determined to succeed.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    The Venetian Mule

    Thank you so much for support! We'll send you 3 Venetian stickers and a Venetian cork coaster!

    Free US Shipping

    Includes:
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Sticker
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Coaster
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    VERMONT ONLY - Soda Plant Sampler

    Vermont Exclusive. Get a voucher for 2 loose bottles of Venetian Ginger Ale and redeem them at select VT farmer's markets or at our Williston office!

    *Local VT pickup only*

    Includes:
    • Voucher for Venetian Ginger Ale (Loose Bottle)
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Sticker
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    26 backers
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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $19 or more About $19

    EARLY BIRD - The Flatlander Special

    LIMITED TIME ONLY - Be among the first to try Venetian Ginger Ale outside of Vermont. Get 2 loose bottles of Venetian Ginger Ale and 3 stickers.

    Includes:
    • Venetian Ginger Ale (Loose Bottle)
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Sticker
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    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 10 backers
    $

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $29 or more About $29

    VERMONT ONLY - Burlington Bootlegger

    Vermont Exclusive. Get a voucher for a 4-pack of Venetian Ginger Ale and an awesome limited-edition T-Shirt designed by local artist Patrick Tracy. Redeem at select VT farmer's markets or at our Williston office!

    *Local VT pickup only*

    Includes:
    • Voucher for 4-pack of Venetian Ginger Ale
    • Venetian T-Shirt
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Sticker
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    76 backers
    $

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $39 or more About $39

    Venetian Starter

    Be among the first to try Venetian Ginger Ale outside of Vermont. Get a 4-pack of Venetian Ginger Ale, a set of 4 Venetian cork coasters, and 4 stickers.

    Includes:
    • 4-pack of Venetian Ginger Ale
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Coaster
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Sticker
    Less
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    Ships to Only United States
    30 backers
    $

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $79 or more About $79

    Perfect Mixer

    Get two (x2) 4-packs of Venetian Ginger Ale, a fancy limited edition t-shirt designed by Vermont artist Patrick Tracy, and other goodies!

    Includes:
    • 4-pack of Venetian Ginger Ale
    • Venetian T-Shirt
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Coaster
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Sticker
    Less
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    Ships to Only United States
    14 backers
    $

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $159 or more About $159

    Four of a Kind

    Get four (x4) 4-packs (16 bottles) of Venetian Ginger Ale, a fancy limited edition t-shirt designed by Vermont artist Patrick Tracy, and other goodies!

    Includes:
    • 4-pack of Venetian Ginger Ale - Limited Edition Labels
    • Venetian Mule Mug
    • Venetian T-Shirt
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Coaster
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Sticker
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    5 backers
    $

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $229 or more About $229

    LIMITED EDITION - One Month's Supply

    Get an entire case (6 x 4-packs or 24 bottles) of Venetian Ginger Ale featuring a slick, limited edition Kickstarter-only label.

    You also get a Venetian copper mule mug, Venetian t-shirt, and other goodies!

    Includes:
    • 4-pack of Venetian Ginger Ale - Limited Edition Labels
    • Venetian Mule Mug
    • Venetian T-Shirt
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Coaster
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Sticker
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    2 backers
    $

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    GREEN MOUNTAIN GANGSTER

    Get eight 22oz "Vintage Edition" bottles of Venetian Ginger Ale, a throwback to the original Venetian bottle designs that were meant to resemble premium alcoholic beverages during prohibition. These bottles come in custom wooden boxes.

    *Customize Your Bottles*
    Get six cases (36 x 4-packs or 144 bottles) of Venetian Ginger Ale, each bottle sporting a customized label featuring your name and a brief motto. One case delivered per month for six months.

    You also get a Venetian Beverages vintage-style drink caddy to haul your beverages in style, along with a bunch of other goodies.

    Free US Shipping

    Includes:
    • Venetian Ginger Ale (22oz Vintage Edition)
    • Venetian Bottle Box (holds 2 22oz bottles)
    • 36× 4-pack of Venetian Ginger Ale - Your Customized Labels
    • Venetian Beverages Vintage Drink Caddy
    • Venetian Mule Mug
    • Venetian T-Shirt
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Coaster
    • Venetian Ginger Ale Sticker
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 3 backers
    $

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Distributor

    Designed for distributors. Get 200 cases of Venetian Ginger Ale at wholesale.

    *Shipping is NOT included and will be calculated after campaign*

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    2 backers
    $

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Funding period

- (30 days)