Phillips puts some pop in local soda market

Grocery program showcases local flavours

Fans of Phillips Sodaworks’ Intergalactic root beer, Sparkmouth ginger ale and Dare Devil orange cream might be surprised to learn their favourite beverages are the result of a happy accident.

Phillips Sodaworks is a spinoff from Victoria’s longstanding Phillips Brewing, delighting Island beer drinkers since 2001.

“We had been doing a lot of work to make an alcoholic ginger beer and we wanted to do it using natural ingredients,” explains founder Matt Phillips. Finally happy with the results, “we thought, ‘We could also make a really good soda with this too!’”

What followed was the launch of the Sodaworks, which today has also added Speed King cola and two artisanal tonic waters to the line-up, perfect for sipping over ice or with Phillips’ STUMP Coastal Forest Gin.

Like their beers, people appreciate the natural ingredients and local approach (not to mention those great artist-created labels).

“In our mind, it gives our customers a chance to have something that has a flavour that’s genuine and real,” Phillips says from the recently expanded brewery, sodaworks and tasting room in downtown Victoria.

(Yes, mom and dad can sample the grown-up beverages, while the kids sample sodas!)

It’s that kind of innovation that propels local business.

“We’ve had great feedback, not only from locals but from some surprisingly distant places, too. We’ve also had a lot of support from our local grocers and retailers and that’s been so important,” Phillips says.

Island made: Island Good

Phillips is one of numerous Vancouver Island producers and growers participating in Island Good, an initiative with four Island grocers to increase consumer awareness of Island-made and Island-grown food products.

The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance pilot project, in all Island Country Grocer stores (except for Salt Spring) plus Thrifty Foods, Quality Foods and 49th Parallel Grocery stores through August, aims to increase demand for products made and/or grown on the Island.

Shoppers can look for ‘Island Good’ stickers, posters and other signage highlighting these Island products in all store departments.

“We’ve been thrilled with the interest Vancouver Islanders have shown in the Island Good program since it launched and as we come into spring and summer, those opportunities to shop local, source local and eat local will be even greater,” says VIEA President George Hanson. “Shoppers have shown us that identifying Island Good options is important to them and we know that will lead to increased production, more jobs and more production capacity.”

Look for the Island Good tags, enjoy local food and support our local economy: It’s Island Good!

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