Manitoulin Brewing Co. launches new hawberry flavoured soda pop

The Haw Pop taste testing focus group gather at the Manitoulin Brewing Company patio for an official launch photo. Sporting Haw Pop merch and hoisting cans of the new non-alcoholic brew are, from left, Jack, Harlee, Hunter, Walker and Shane. The can features a design by Island graphic artist Kendra Edwards Design and contains a refreshing soft drink that is already taking the Island by storm. photo by Michael Erskine

LITTLE CURRENT – Following more than a year in development, the new Haw Pop being offered by Little Current’s Manitoulin Brewing Company (MBC) has received two thumbs up from its kids focus group and is now ready for prime time.

“We did a soft launch here at the patio over the past few weeks and the reviews we have been getting back have been great,” said brewery co-owner Blair Hagman. “We wanted to produce something that was non-alcoholic, something that can be family oriented. When the kids come to the patio there is something that they can get excited about.”

The idea of producing a soda based on hawberries was something that came easily to mind, given the Island’s historical connection to the berry.

“We worked on the recipe for about a year-and-a-half,” said Mr. Hagman. “Blake Thompson (brewmaster) helped with the development of the recipe and we produced the first batch. It turned out great.”

Mr. Hagman describes the taste as being similar to ginger ale, well positioned on the taste buds for slaking a thirst, but also a potential summer drink mix alternative as well.

The taste testing focus group was of the same opinion, so recipe in hand, MBC turned to the marketing end of things.

“We brought Kendra in (Kendra Edwards Design) who has created a number of designs for our labels and she was excited about the possibilities,” said Mr. Hagman. “We wanted something that would really pop (no pun intended) on the shelves, and she delivered.”

The retro can design uses innovative colours to help the product stand out from the crowd.

The pop will soon be available at Orr’s Valumart in Little Current and can be found at many Island hospitality establishments.

“Orr’s is our first grocery store, but it has been selling really well at The Port in Little Current, Pierside in South Baymouth has taken it on, Bridal Veil Variety in Kagawong and the Anchor Inn in Little Current is also carrying it,” Mr. Hagman said.

So, as the summer months start to heat up and a thirst develops, a Haw Pop will never be far from hand.

The HawPop from Manitoulin Brewing Company can features a design by Island graphic artist Kendra Edwards Design and contains a refreshing soft drink that is already taking the Island by storm. photo by Michael Erskine