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Reed's Soda a Homegrown Hit, But Experiencing Some Financial Woes

Photo by via the chriscoyier on Flickr
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When you've got an upset tummy (or want to make a really good dark and stormy cocktail), there really isn't anything better than a spicy ginger beer. Not only does the ginger settle your stomach, but it tastes darn good. And while we're huge fans of Bundaberg from Australia, another one of our favorites is Reed's, a homegrown L.A. soda company that's been making the stuff since 1987.

The company was first started by Christopher J. Reed after he got into alternative living, practicing meditation and exploring the healing potential of herbs. When he first decided he wanted to make some sort of healthy soda elixir, he spent hours upon hours in UCLA's library researching century-old recipes that would extol the root's health benefits, such as muscle recovery and nausea relief.

He told the L.A. Times that he made about 90 recipes in his Venice kitchen before landing on his first non-alcoholic Original Ginger Brew in 1987. Two years later, he started operations from a small San Fernando Valley brewery that let him fill bottles one by one, and glued his labels on by hand. Now his factory is located in Gardena, and he's expanded the portfolio to include 24 drinks, including a new line of kombucha.

But unfortunately, the L.A. Times said in their profile of Reed's, that regardless of its popularity with health food stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, Reed's has failed to post a profit as of late:

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The company, which went public in 2006, hasn't posted a profit for 15 years. It lost $524,000 last year, an improvement over losses of $941,000 the previous year. "That's not bad from losing $5 million in 2007," Reed said.

Consumer sales haven't been high enough to offset the costs of running the company, and revenue from bottling drinks for other companies has been lower than expected.

That could be in part due to the health concerns of soda that have made the news of late.

More people are concerned with soda's link to obesity, diabetes and other maladies, opting for more water and teas, the trade publication noted, even though energy drinks have continued to increase in popularity.

But Reed's wants to set itself apart by offering more healthful drinks. Says the Times:

A 12-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola contains 140 calories, 39 grams of sugar and 45 milligrams of sodium. In contrast, one of Reed's 13.5-ounce kombucha drinks has 30 calories, two grams of sugar and 10 milligrams of sodium.

Here's hoping they can pull things together. Our cocktails (and upset hangover tummies) would be lost without them.

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