by The Urban Grocer in New Food and Packaging on Friday 9 September 2011

Karen and Jason Campbell did what so many long to do: they quit their hectic lives and demanding jobs and fled the main land for Hawaii. But being permanent vacationers wasn’t their plan and in 2003, the pair founded Waialua Soda Works: a gourmet soda company inspired by the Hawaiian Islands.

Reviving an old-school — like 100 years old-school — bottling tradition, Waialua Soda Works uses natural flavors and local ingredients, like honey from Kauai and Big Island vanilla, to create their artisanal pop, which is then poured into charming vintage bottles.

So I was thrilled when cases of Waialua Soda Works arrived at my doorstop. With flavors like pineapple and mango who wouldn’t be into Hawaiian love in the middle of Manhattan? I wasted little time before digging in and each flavor was surprisingly true to its name. The pineapple tasted like natural pineapple. The vanilla cream tasted like vanilla and cream. Their funkier flavors too like lilikoi (Hawaii’s passion fruit) and the antioxidant rich kona red were sugary enough to satiate my sweet tooth but still kept a clean, fresh finish. And the carbonation? That was bubbly perfection.

Might I too follow the path of the Campell’s and escape the city life for the Hawaiian shores? Not just yet but in the meantime, I can live vicariously through them while sipping on their Waialua Soda Works. Aloha delicious!