Review: Review: Impressive Small Batch Sodas from Cannonborough -- In Big Bottles
Covers Products: Ginger Beer, Grapefruit Elderflower, Honey Basil
“We want to change what people think about soda,” says Canonborough Soda co-founder Matt Fendley in a website introductory video.
Designed as one-of-a-kind small batch sodas that use fresh and seasonal ingredients, Cannonborough Sodas are certainly not your average tasting CSD. And much of what they’ve done is certainly a step in that direction and, unlike other sodas that label themselves as “craft,” Cannonborough has an authentic, handcrafted message that goes across what they do, including both their online marketing efforts and the product.
Let’s start with the liquid inside the bottle. For our review, we sampled three flavors, Grapefruit Elderflower, Ginger Beer, and Honey Basil, all of which are in a 750ml format. Each of the flavors uses a short list of ingredients and there are no flavorings, acids, or other additives that one might see in traditional sodas. We really can’t say that we like one over another -- they are all special and unique. Grapefruit Elderflower has a fresh and vibrant flavor from its real ingredients: grapefruit juice, lime and elderflower. Ginger Beer, which includes habanero for an extra layer of heat, is spicy, but it’s also balanced thanks to the addition of vanilla and clove.Honey Basil has a great summertime flavor that comes from the tasty combination of basil and lime juice.
Beyond the use of high-quality ingredients and skilled mixing, Canonborough shows great feel for balancing its flavors that with the right amount of sweetness and carbonation.
On the outside, the 750ml bottle, which has a one color label design that features a different background color for each variety, looks professional, polished, and European in style (we’d say that the name sounds European as well). The obvious question is whether or not the 750ml format is ideal (it’s also available in kegs and growlers). Another concern is that they’ve labeled each bottle as having a 6 oz. serving size, which might lead one to read the label and expect fewer calories and sugar per serving/ounce than there actually is.
Ultimately, if it’s scalability of any kind that they are after, offering a single serve container is of paramount importance. If they did that, this product certainly would almost immediately be at the top of the category in terms of its technical merit and market potential.Overall, we really like the concept and execution of the liquid -- it’s something special. Now, they just need to figure out how to balance their mission and desire to be small batch with the realities of what it will take to create a scalable soda business.