FOREST LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — Step inside a Forest Lake industrial park and the product flowing from the factory is pop — soda pop, to be exact, made from simple recipes and all natural ingredients.

Whistler Classic Soda is new to the market, but it harkens the tastes of decades ago.

“We make…a really classic, low-carbonated root beer, cherry cola, a grape, a fruit punch, a crème soda and a black cherry,’ said owner Jesse Hopkins.

Currently, six flavors are being produced with another four expected to be released soon.

Hopkins’ dream of being a beverage maker is just one month into production. Inside the building his soda pop company is using, the equipment is a lot older than he is. His line of classic sodas is filling something rarely found these days, returnable glass bottles.

“As a kid, I loved it when my mom brought home an eight pack of bottles, always in returnable bottles,” Hopkins said. “And when that vanished in the 1980s, I missed it greatly.”

Hopkins found the sturdy, steel bottling equipment in Wisconsin. The line is capable of turning out 150 cases of his sodas each day. For now, many of those cases are going to Twin Cities food trucks or being sold directly from the Forest Lake plant.

“Within a couple of seconds, the bottles are filled with syrup, carbonated water, capped and become a finished product,” Hopkins said.

But there’s more than nostalgia and simplicity driving this dream. Like his company’s name suggests, he’s aiming for a sense of happiness – one taste at a time.

“There’s never been a better time for something that’s fully sustainable and this is the most sustainable packaging there is,” Hopkins said.

For more information about Whistler Classic Soda, click here.


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