Local Brewer Jesse Friedman Now Slinging Soda Pop

When life gives you empty kegs and you want to make a family-friendly beverage, make soda. Jesse Friedman (of Beer and Nosh and Almanac Beer Co.) knew he was onto something while attending a friend's wedding. Despite offering a unique homebrew for the nuptials, Friedman noticed that the revelers blew through his keg of homemade ginger ale first. Visions of soda pop danced in his head.

For his first run at S.F.'s New Taste Marketplace, Friedman sold 10 gallons of his spicy ginger ale in a matter of hours. Since then, he's been preaching the pop gospel ― soda, says Friedman, isn't inherently a four-letter word. The craft sodas Friedman's been making aren't the sugary, chemical-laden beverages on grocery-store shelves. The taplist at last Saturday's New Taste Marketplace included Good 'Ol Southern Boy Sweet Tea Soda, infused with mint and lemon; Meyer Lemon and Fennel Fizz, from juiced fennel and backyard lemons; and his signature Ginger Ale, made with Eureka lemons and eight pounds of hand-juiced ginger.

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