January 19, 2009

Man’s soda flavors include cucumber, milk

A Florida man says his boutique soda company, which began as an experiment 20 years ago, is starting to attract national attention.

Jeff Kaplan, 50, a Pompano Beach insurance adjuster, said he started experimenting with home-brewed sodas as a hobby and has since turned the pastime into a company, Global Beverage Enterprises, which manufactures soda flavors such as cucumber, jasmine, elderflower, mavi tree bark and a sparkling milk concoction, The Miami Herald reported Monday.

No one else is doing the flavors I'm doing, Kaplan said. They may sound weird, but once people try them, it's like, `Wow, this is really good.'

Kaplan said his sodas are finally earning national attention, his jasmine soda scoring mentions in this month's AARP The Magazine and a December episode of Unwrapped on the Food Network.

The soda tinkerer said that while his concoctions are available online and at some stores in Florida and California, he has had trouble convincing national retailers to stock his products.

I've been trying to persuade Whole Foods to stock us, but they won't consider it until customers start asking for it, he said. It's a catch-22 -- how will they know to ask for it if you don't let them try it?