Scott Yarosh is brewing more than just homemade soda. He has found the recipe for sweet success.
The brewmaster of Cider Mill Soda Co. in Scottsdale is selling his sodas in stores across Arizona. Total Wine & More already carries his root beer and Old Timer’s Vanilla Cream Soda, and AJ’s Fine Foods started selling his sodas at all of its stores last week.
“Because we’re a local grocer, it’s especially important for us to support other local companies,” AJ’s spokeswoman Kristy Nied said. “It’s just the right thing to do. We have the ability to identify and capitalize on local opportunities quickly to be in tune with the needs of today’s shoppers.”
In addition, area restaurants, bars and other retailers are selling Yarosh’s sodas, with more expected in the coming weeks and months.
“We’re holding off on doing the national distribution so we can focus on the Arizona market because we are an Arizona product,” he said.
Yarosh’s soda shop is in the Cider Mill Gourmet Market & Sandwich Shop, in the Frontier Shops at 7240 E. Main St. in Old Town Scottsdale. All of his sodas are brewed on-site in three 310-gallon tanks.
In addition to sales at his soda counter, Yarosh is selling about 60 cases per week to Total Wine & More and other customers.
“We have the ability to bottle approximately 660 cases of soda a week at this facility,” he said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the storage capability to be able to produce that much. We rely a lot on our distributor to handle storage of the product.”
All of the product is bottled and packaged at the Cider Mill shop and then delivered to retailers, restaurants and bars by Pitcher of Nectar Distributing.
Success has occurred in a relatively short time. Yarosh wasn’t in the soda business until last year. Before that, he was in the beer-brewing business at Sonoran Brewing Co. in Scottsdale.
“I originally started there as a volunteer janitor, coming in and cleaning the brewery,” he said. “Because I was so interested in learning how the beer process works, I figured that was a good way to start, volunteer and do whatever they let me do.”
Yarosh soon worked his way up to assistant brewer and completed an apprenticeship with the microbrewery. He then bought the business in 2004 and operated it as owner and head brewmaster until 2009, when he sold the business to focus on soda.
“There’s a lot of legalities and regulations when it comes to the manufacturing of beer, and the other thing is soda is a lot more family-friendly and fun,” he said. “We can brew soda that people of all ages can enjoy. It’s a different process, but it uses all the same equipment, so that part was real easy.”
Yarosh then pitched his idea for a soda business to the Cider Mill Gourmet Market & Sandwich Shop.
“It was something that we totally weren’t expecting, hadn’t anticipating when we first opened,” said Susan Seiter, owner of the Cider Mill Gourmet Market & Sandwich Shop. “It just kind of evolved, and since we’ve done it, I can’t believe how many people are interested in the root beer and the process. We have people who come back and want to see the process of bottling and how it’s made.”
Cider Mill Soda Co. got off the ground in November and has been “rocking and rolling ever since,” Yarosh said.
“We plan to expand ourselves in the state until we max out the facility here, and we are in the process of looking for a second location to put in a large-scale bottling and manufacturing facility with a high-speed bottler,” he said. “It will be located as close to this location as we possibly can, and then we can expand outside the state and get the name of the company spread throughout the United States.”
In the meantime, Yarosh most enjoys creating his sodas from scratch.
“I write all of our recipes,” he said. “We do extensive taste-testing of all of our products right here.”
Yarosh will be creating a special soda for the city, Scottsdale 60 Sarsaparilly, to commemorate the city’s 60th anniversary in June.