Story by Jordan Gerard
Lemon Sour. Creamy orange. Root Beer. Strawberry. Cream Soda. These are just some notable flavors of Spring Grove Soda Pop, an iconic craft soda company known to Spring Grovers, Minnesotans, and people around the country.
G.G. Ristey, a Spring Grove resident, started the company in 1895. The pop was a hit with locals and the company has been in business ever since. After 122 years, it would be hard to imagine the town of Spring Grove without its local flavor.
Current owners Bob and Dawn Hansen said they’ve kept close to the “secret recipe” since they took over in 2003. Bob and Dawn moved to Spring Grove as a young couple and first tasted the pop at the grocery store in town. “It was quite a treat,” Dawn said.
The desire to own a business propelled the Hansens to buy the pop factory from the previous owners, Roger and Eric Morken. Despite moments of hesitation from both Bob and Dawn, they made a deal and the Morkens handed over the keys on Dec. 3, 2003.
They bottled 15,000 cases in their first year. The business has grown significantly since then--they now bottle about 65,000 cases a year. “It’s our livelihood,” Bob said.
Spring Grove Soda Pop is one of the oldest businesses in Minnesota still in production today. It has never been shut down since its inception, Bob said.
Spring Grove Soda Pop is currently working with the Spring Grove Economic Development Authority to continue growing their business, and just opened a new downtown store, The Sugar Shack, to showcase their soda and merchandise.
To learn more about the fascinating history of Spring Grove Soda Pop, visit their website (www.springgrovesoda.com) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sgsoda).