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Carbondale Soda Company: from hobby to business

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Home delivery coming soon; Aspen expresses interest


By Nicolette Toussaint

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Sopris Sun Correspondent

On May 11, during Dandelion Day, the Carbondale Soda Company popped the cork on a dandelion honey crème soda, offering its first public samples to passers-by. Since then, the new firm has quickly bubbled to life, so far brewing up around 80 gallons of fizzy fun, even though it has advertised only on Facebook and by word of mouth.

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“We didn’t realize that we had a company until people started asking for sodas!” chuckles Adam Phillips. “It was more of a hobby at first.”

His partner Cody Skurupey adds, “It caught on, and then we had to go into scramble mode.”

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Locals are currently imbibing the Carbondale Soda Company’s sophisticated creations at the Roaring Fork Beer Company and at White House Pizza, which recently held a tasting. Customers there were invited to try a spicy ginger beer, made from organic ginger and spiked with fatali peppers. “Half of them loved it, and half of them hated it,” reports Phillips. “It’s not for everyone.”

Carbondale Soda Company has also begun a home-delivery subscription program.

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“We love being in Carbondale,” comments Jeff Allinson, who moved here in May, quickly becoming the venture’s third partner. “The quality of ingredients is great around here and people are happy to try something different.”

The company was Phillips’s brainchild. He grew up in Cincinnati watching his mom make soda syrups. He brought cooking and horticultural skills with him when he moved here to take an IT job with SilverPeak Apothecary in Aspen. “I didn’t have a home life at first, so I was cooking at home,” he said. “I started making soda hoping to make enough money to make and market a hot sauce. I grow peppers, and tiny drop of fatali pepper sauce goes into the ginger beer.”

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Phillips eventually ran into Cody Skurupey at White House Pizza and the two quickly discovered that they shared a Cincinnati background. Skurupey, who had already launched a successful local light bulb recycling business, soon signed on to handle marketing for the Carbondale Soda Company.

Allinson, who oversees finance, has coined a slogan for the company: “Taste the seasons.” The tagline refers to the company’s plan to offer two changing flavors each quarter, rotating them as ingredients come into season.

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This June, their menu featured spicy cucumber ginger, honey cream, hops and honey, a dandelion cola, chile Limón (made from lemon verbena and fatali chilis), a chamomile honey and a chamomile lavender flavor. They also brew a root beer using burdock — an invasive weed that local gardeners abhor, but soda sippers love.

The Carbondale Soda Company is brewing in the commercial kitchen of Bravo Catering, has its business licenses in place and is now ramping up its bottling — which means waiting. “You can’t buy just a few bottles,” chuckles Phillips. “You have to buy 4,000! So we’re waiting for a pallet to arrive.”

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The truth is that we weren’t expecting this to take off so fast,” he said.

The company will be brewing a special, secret soda that will be offered to participants in the Glenwood Springs Cruise-aThong on July 19. (Phillips describes the Cruise-aThong as a “marathon for the common man.” It includes a one-mile bike race and a flip-flop walk, and the person with the most-average time wins. The event is dedicated to improving the river experience in Glenwood through education and infrastructure improvements).

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An outlet in Aspen has expressed interest, and the partners have also had inquiries about brewing signature sodas for weddings and parties.

“As far as something new, unique and all-natural, there’s nothing else like this around,” said Skurupey.

“We think this is going to take off,” Allinson added.