Photos by Morgan Browning
I’m gonna be real – highways scare me. But after my trip to KC Soda Company in the Legends Shopping Outlet, I will gladly brave merging lanes to bring home basically any type of soda I can imagine. Boasting over 1,300 sodas, KC Soda has everything from Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray — aka celery soda — to “Leninade,” or Soviet-style pop, to completely clear root beer. So it’s not a throw-away statement when I say they do have something for everyone’s tastes.
The store itself is like a cross between a liquor store and a casual basement. Everything was neatly organized on metal racks on the cold concrete floor, yet a Spiderman movie played from Netflix on a large flatscreen TV the entire time.
I’ll admit, I can be rather indecisive. Thus, when faced with choosing between my go-to root beer and something called “swamp juice,” I couldn’t do it. Luckily, variety six packs chosen by the workers themselves are available for purchase, so I grabbed one from the worker named Maren and shelled out $11.80 to make it official. Now that I think about it — in other words now that I’ve checked my bank account — $12 is a lot to spend on liquid sugar, but it was a deal compared to the $2.25 individual price.
After getting the sodas chilled with some weird handheld contraption — I honestly don’t know another way to describe it — I couldn’t wait to eat, or I suppose drink, my lunch. The verdict – the main sodas that stood out to me were: The Smuggler’s Run, Bundaberg peach soda and Dog n Suds’ Root Beer. The others were lime, orange and blueberry flavored, and all tasted spot-on like their fruit.
The Smuggler’s Run was in a lot of the packaged six packs, so I was excited because it seemed to be a crowd favorite. It was the exact blue-green color of Listerine, making me feel like I was about to submit to an hour of teeth-poking and drills-whirring. It was only described as a “tropical soda,” so I was worried this was going to be some sort of fruit punch – one of my least favorite flavors.
My fears were pointless. This was definitely not a mysterious red liquid called “fruit punch,” but instead a funky combination of – coconut? Mango? I can’t place it, but I did like it.
The next one was a peach soda. When I think of peaches, I think Georgia, but this soda was actually from Bundaberg, Australia, giving it some extra pizzazz. I love peaches, but unfortunately only one baby sip from this 12.7 ounce bottle filled me up. It was five percent peach juice, so super strong, not to mention the fact that I felt I could only truly enjoy it if I was swinging in a hammock under a weeping willow on a carefree summer day in the South. Maybe when I need to escape to somewhere warm this will be the perfect drink, but for now, I will put it back in the fridge.
As I mentioned before, I love root beer. No, make that LOVE. So when I discovered Dog n Suds’ Root Beer I couldn’t wait to pop the lid off and enjoy. It was definitely not the creamiest I’ve ever had, as the harder, carbonated taste was stronger, but I don’t mind. Any root beer is good to me.
Overall, I am quite pleased with my KC Soda Company experience. The guy who helped us was super sweet, even giving us free samples of a cherry Dr. Pepper look-a-like saying he was craving one anyway. He answered our many questions and didn’t seem annoyed when we asked him to chill all six sodas.
With so much variety I could easily come twenty times and still not have tried all the sodas they offer. It’s not their fault I spent $12 on about 220 grams of sugar, which the recommended daily intake is 25 grams, and my new cavity regrets this moment already. Still, I’m proud to say I’ve graduated from simple Coca Cola to adult stuff, like peach soda.