A Taste From The Past

 

by Kimberly Pena

For over a century, Avery’s Beverage has proven to be a soda company that has flourished by using its old manufacturing methods. Sherman F. Avery began making soda in a red barn on Corbin Ave, New Britain, in the summer of 1904. Ever since, Avery’s has continued to produce its organic sodas the same way.

The company starts by making its soda with 750 pounds of real cane sugar mixed with water. It then adds flavoring to the syrup mix, which is poured into the bottles with carbonated water. Shake the bottle and the soda is ready to go.

As simple as this may sound, it is hard labor. All the machines are old-fashioned and manual. Yet, the employees feel it’s an honor to work in such an historic barn.

Manny Ramirez has worked at Avery’s for five years as its soda labeler. In an average day, he labels from 1,440 to 3,000 soda bottles. He loves doing it.

“I love working here,” said Ramirez with a smile. “I can’t really ask for nothing better. Customers come in here asking for you, making you feel right at home. Not many people my age can say they do what I do.”

When you first walk into the business, it does not look like a contemporary store. The lights are dimmed, but the countless colorful soda bottles brighten the room. On the far right side, the company’s machines are laid out, and the bottles clink against one another as they are being sterilized for production use.

The barn’s original appearance has not changed. It seems as if you are entering a store of the past.

“Coming in here is like coming to a time capsule, like whoa, it’s pretty cool,” said Ramirez.

Avery’s Beverage only location is here in New Britain, however, the company sells its soda around the United States and Canada. It typically sells to candy shops, restaurants and retail stores such as, Stew Leonard’s.

According to Rob Metz, the current owner of Avery’s Beverage, the company offers more than 50 flavors ranging from blue raspberry to birch beer.

Customers from all around love the soda and try their best to come buy whenever they can.

“It is the only soda company that has organic soda,” said Anthony Franco, a regular Avery’s customer. “I try to come here four times a week or as much as I can.”

Single soda bottles are sold at one dollar, six-packs are sold for five dollars and a whole case containing 24 bottles is sold at $16.

Every Saturday the company invites children and adults to come into the business and make their own soda. A minimum of five people and a maximum of 20 people can come in and invent their own flavors and name them. Afterward, they bring three soda bottles and their own soda maker’s apron back home. It costs $11.50 per person.

Much of the sodas and names the children have come up with has been used for the business. “Dog Drool” and Toxic Brain-Juice” are a couple of the notable sodas that have come about from this Saturday program.

If you are interested in planning a visit, Avery’s Beverage is located at 520 Corbin Ave, New Britain, CT 06052. To make an appointment to invent your own soda, you can contact them at (860) 224-0830.