SPRING LAKE PARK, Minn. – (Aug. 9, 2018) – The Blue Sun Soda Shop in Spring Lake Park held their first ever soda festival. Many different soda sellers came to the event to share samples and tell their stories. The site was filled with people who came out to taste some unique sodas, and learn more about the largest soda shop in the state.
“It’s the inaugural Soda Festival here at Blue Sun Soda and Sweets shop here at Spring Lake Park, Minnesota,” said Billy the soda jerk at the Blue Sun Soda Shop event.
The parking lot at Blue Sun Soda Shop was filled with soda makers and soda drinkers.
“We’ve got over twenty companies from all over the country and they brought their soda in so people could try it for practically free! We’ve got food trucks here, we’ve got entertainers, face painters, we’ve got people that are doing root beer tastings on their podcasts,” Billy said.
For a small fee, festival visitors could sample sodas made all over the country, including sodas made on site. Billy said that part of the idea for a soda festival came from seeing the popularity of beer festivals in the area.
“There’s so many beer festivals that can only cater to a portion of the population, everybody can drink soda and drive home safely afterward,” Billy said. “It’s a family friendly event, even though it’s raining, there’s still an incredible turnout here, everybody’s having a great time, the food is phenomenal, it all boils down to, we just wanted to have a party.”
Blue Sun Soda Shop carries more than 13 hundred different sodas in the store, along with old time candy and a retro arcade.
“We opened in November of 2015, right after Thanksgiving and we decided to open up a soda and candy shop in the middle of the suburbs, an unassuming place but also not as remote,” Billy explained.
“There’s a huge candy store in Jordan, but for some people that’s a bit of a drive and they’re only open a portion of the year, but we’re open all year round and we opened kind of on a whim, we just thought it would be a fun business and just like the Soda Festival today, people have flooded us. It was a small business and we’ve been able to buy the entire building that we started a little storefront in. We’ve got soda, candy and bunches of games to play, it’s just mad this year,” he said.
Billy has been pleased and surprised to see the way the soda shop, and their clientele have grown since the beginning.
“I thought it would be a lot kids, but it’s all ages, they come in day-in and day-out and they’re asking for recommendations and they’re trying all the weird sodas that we have, we have ranch dressing soda, pickle soda, we’ve got mini donut soda, we’ve got all kinds of crazy flavors and then of course your usual suspects, the fruits, the root beers the creams, we’ve got it all, and a whole big diet section too, more diet brands of diet sodas than most grocery stores”
For Billy, his favorite flavor of soda was destined to be.
“I like black cherry, I don’t know why, I guess that’s the soda that just chose me like the Harry Potter Sorting hat, I guess I’m in the cherry house,” he said.
If you’re not a big risk taker and tend to stay on the safe side, the shop still has all the sodas that you’re used to.
“If you go to like a McDonald’s or a Taco Bell or whatever and they’ve got like, maybe six sodas to choose from, Pepsi, Coke or Sprite, we vend all those as well, they’re actually some of the fastest selling sodas because we offer them in the cane sugar version, it’s not the corn syrup version that you’ll find a lot at the restaurants,” he said. “We offer more variety, if you like a Sprite, you might try a Jick Jack Lemon Lime, or you might try a Rocky Mountain Lemon Lime and see how those compare, maybe you’ll find something that’s better, more lemon, more lime, what kind of balance are you looking for, you can find your ideal soda here, and who knew that it existed?”
If you weren’t able to make it to the Soda Festival, the shop has a couple of other events during the year.
“You can come in on a Whistler special event day, we post about it on our Facebook page and you can tour the soda line, apparently we were nominated one of the best tours in the state to learn about how we make Whistler soda and how we obtained Whistler’s soda because we make soda right here on the premises and we just bought two more soda machines so we’re going to be making more soda and you can learn about the process and the recycle return process as well; how we wash and sanitize the bottles and the levels of carbonation that go into the bottles, it’s a scientific process,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of school groups and even families come in that just wanted a tour of the soda line and we’ll do that, we can organize tours so come on in and learn a thing or two and have fun while doing it,” Billy said.
Blue Sun Soda Shop is located on County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park. They are planning on bringing the soda festival back next year, and hoping for a day without rain.