BROWNSVILLE, Ind.—Response at the Indiana State Fair could decide if a newly developed maple soda pop winds up on store shelves.
A maple syrup producer has teamed up with a craft beverage maker to create a recipe and gauging future prospects of the drink.
“It’s selling really well,” said the soda pop inventor Kevin Hart, who makes syrup from taps in a 110 acre woods outside Brownsville.
Hart is also President of the Indiana Maple Syrup Association.
Hart has been selling maple cream soda since the spring at farmers markets he works primarily in central Indiana.
He’s took 30 cases of his Maplewood Farms branded soda with him to the Indiana State Fair this summer, offering the soda at Pioneer Village at $3 for an ice cold 12 ounce glass bottle and $10 for a warm four pack.
The thought of going commercial with the product developed over the winter didn’t enter his mind until hearing back from satisfied customers.
Hart said he was sitting next to a man offering traditional flavors of craft soda to his barbecue customers at a farmers market.
Hart brought up the possibility of making soda out of maple syrup and was given the name of Jerry Rezny.
Rezny, owner of Handcrafted Beverage, makes, bottles and labels the brand of soda provided by the barbecue vendor and other locally based carbonated beverages using only natural sweeteners.
Hart said he and Rezny came up with several different syrups as the primary ingredient for his soda then after tasting each one settled on the kind they wanted to use.
“We kind of went back and tweaked it a little more until we came up with something we thought was very good,” he said.
Hart said his soda has all of the qualities of maple syrup from taste to its amber like appearance in the bottle.
“As soon as you pop the cap you can smell the syrup. You can just smell the maple,” he said.
Hart said he has sold about a half dozen cases of the soda at each farmers market he has worked this year.
Hart said the extremely sweet tasting soda is satisfying to simply drink but his customers judging by their feedback seem to like it most with vanilla ice cream inside a frosted mug.
“You can drink it cold. Ice cold and everything. It’s really good, but it’s really more of an after dinner dessert type of thing,” he said.
Hart said the only problem right now is production keeping up with early demand.
He might be looking for a way to increase production after the fair and as word continues to spread about the product.
“I’ve been thinking about going commercial. It’s all in its infant stages,” Hart said.