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Denver Soda Factory Sweetens Soda with Agave Nectar

Carri Wilbanks with Co-Founder of Oogave Soda, Gannon Merrell.
Carri Wilbanks with Co-Founder of Oogave Soda, Gannon Merrell.
Carri Wilbanks

Denver based Oogave soda, which manufactures soda just of I-70 & Colorado Blvd., makes soda sans high fructose corn syrup by using agave nectar from Mexico. Curious how this soda company operates, we head inside to showcase you the operation! Here's the video and a Q&A with co-founder Gannon Merrell.

Q: How did the idea for "Oogave" come to be? How is different than other sodas?

A: Oogave was born out of frustration at not being able to find fountain soda without High Fructose Corn Syrup. All of our products, bottled and fountain syrups, are certified organic, HFCS Free, sweetened only with agave nectar, and low-glycemic. Oh, our sodas also contain 35% less sugar than traditional sodas.

Q: How do you find inspiration for flavors? What is the most popular?

A: We went through well over 20 flavor ideas, including garlic soda, acai, pomegranate, to name a few... We settled on a mix of expected soda flavors like cola and root beer and some life-altering alternatives like Watermelon Cream and Strawberry Rhubarb.

Q: What is the biggest challenge of running this business? And biggest reward?

Biggest challenge is being a small player in a big-company world. Everything on the retailer and distributor side is set up to guarantee their success at the expense of the producers. Large scale producers can absorb these costs and challenges, but they can easily kill a fledgling startup.

The biggest reward is receiving direct feedback from customers telling us how much they love the soda and how excited they were to discover it.

Q: What Colorado ingredients do you use?

A: Our heaviest ingredient is water, and that comes from Colorado :) The agave nectar comes from Mexico, which is our next largest component. The cardboard cases we bottle in are made right down the street from us, in Denver.

Q: What do you most love about Colorado?

A: Mountains, lack of humidity, great people.

Q: What is something readers would be surprised to know about you?

A: I vacillate between eating super healthy kale shakes one day, donuts the next.

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