HOTLIPS Soda

David Yudkin and Jeana Edelman, owners of HOTLIPS Pizza, are true pioneers of sustainability in Oregon. When they took over HOTLIPS in 1992, they started buying local ingredients, delivering pizzas by bike and electric car, and using the most energy-efficient means of storing and preparing food that they could find.

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In 2008, David and Jeana created another healthy, sustainable business model with HOTLIPS Soda. They were tired of sending Oregonians’ hard-earned money to Atlanta to pay for the corn-syrup-and-food-coloring traditional sodas, and they weren’t over the moon for fruit sodas that were mostly apple juice and flavorings. So they started experimenting, brewing up batches of natural sodas made from fruit grown in the Northwest, that were lightly carbonated and gently sweetened with cane sugar.

After dialing in their recipes, David and Jeana contacted Weinstein PR for help with launching HOTLIPS Soda. As with many projects we work on, we were excited about HOTLIPS’ principles and what the brand stands for. We wanted to hear the story of how they developed their soda in all its deliciousness, including their challenges and setbacks. We were quickly convinced that this was going to be one of the top business stories in Oregon for 2008, and helped HOTLIPS develop a basic set of tools including key messages, Q&As to prepare them for media questions, and a fact sheet for the media.

In the process, we learned David had recently met an Oregonian reporter, so we suggested that he follow up about the coming launch of the soda line. He did just that, sharing the hardships and ultimate successes of the soda line, which made for a great piece of news on Page One of the Oregonian’s Sunday business section. On the heels of the story, we helped HOTLIPS coordinate a launch event at their SE Portland location and invited local broadcast media to attend. We then invited the media out to the HOTLIPS bottling plant in McMinnville.

After the launch and once they caught their breath, we targeted key national long-lead magazine media to tell the HOTLIPS Soda story, sending out six packs of the soda for writers and editors to sample. A great deal of coverage followed, including a story in the New York Times’ dining section. The national coverage helped HOTLIPS leverage distribution relationships all over the country, and as of last year, their one-millionth bottle rolled off the line. That’s a lot of people discovering the joy of craft-brewed, real-fruit soda.