Not Your Papa’s Pop

Jersey's Own Soda - New Jersey Monthly - Best of NJ

May I offer you a refreshing South Orange? How about a Bada-Bing! Black Cherry?

There’s a bit of smart aleck in every bottle of Jersey’s Own Soda (jerseysownsoda.com). The Totowa company “is all about drinking a Jersey product,” says co-owner Michael Snell, 38. With partner Roy Van Tassel, 33, Snell started Jersey’s Own last summer, aiming for the same young audience they court with their other company, loud, which provides merchandise for touring rock bands.

“We went through a few different ideas, says Snell. “Jersey’s Own was the bull’s-eye.” With savings of only $10,000, the pair were rejected by large companies before they finally connected with Crystal Beverage in Kearny. Crystal produced 2,100 cases of the three launch flavors—South Orange, Bada-Bing! Black Cherry, and Route 46 Root Beer. Snell and Van Tassel began by selling the beverages at local concerts (about 200 to 300 bottles per show).

“People loved the idea that they could relate to the label,” says Snell. The product has started popping up at local delis and sandwich shops. More of Snell and Van Tassel’s creative flavors are in the works, such as Jersey Devil-Berry named for the legend of the Jersey Devil and Passaic River Punch. A diet version of South Orange and a line of energy and sports drinks are also planned. “We want to create a company that is as much a benefit to the people of New Jersey as it is to us,” Snell says.

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