Six Barrel Soda Co.
Historically, New Zealand has never had any cultural ties to soda. But the climate is conducive to growing great fruit – a factor that resonated with business partners Joseph Slater and Mike Stewart, founders of Six Barrel Soda Co. in Wellington. For five years, Joseph has been making and serving soda at his vintage Americana-style bar Monterey, which he co-owns with Mike.
“People loved the flavours. Over time, I improved my soda and thought we should step up and start supplying other places too,” says Joseph.
Intent on offering a local handmade alternative to big brand sodas, the guys opened a production kitchen that also serves as a factory and café where they make, bottle, distribute and serve their small-batch sodas, in both classic flavours and exotic seasonal one-offs like feijoa, wild blackberry or grapefruit and hops.
“We juice all of our fruit by hand, bottle one by one and hand-stamp labels,” says Joseph. “This means we can make seasonal flavours and one-off batches because we aren’t meeting huge production minimums. It allows us room to make some off-the-wall flavours.” Six Barrel Soda Co. produces 10 soda flavours and experiments with seasonal recipes as they see fit – like when a family member’s ripe fruit tree needs picking.
Photo Source: Six Barrel Soda Co.
Most popular soda? Raspberry Lemon. “It’s a classic pink lemonade, which isn’t exactly common these days. We use real raspberries and freshly squeezed lemons, so it has a great flavour.”