LA Times:

The smell of success, Chris Reed hopes, is the sharp, spicy aroma wafting through his Los Angeles microbrewery.

For now, it’s just the smell of ginger.

Reed is founder and chief executive of Reed’s Inc., which produces a line of natural sodas. And he’s a fan — some might say a fanatic — of the pungent herb.

Each year, his company chops 1 million pounds of fresh ginger, enough to fill 28 big-rig trailers. In addition to sugared ginger candies and ice creams, he produces six ginger brews: Spiced Apple, Raspberry Ginger, Cherry Ginger, Original Ginger, Premium Ginger and Extra Ginger, the last of which packs 26 grams’ worth of the stuff.

In a business dominated by Coke and Pepsi, healthful soda sounds like a contradiction. But unusual beverage companies such as Reed’s are etching out a niche within the carbonated beverage industry, which sells about $28 billion worth of drinks annually to U.S. consumers, according to ACNielsen.

Natural sodas saw 36.5% sales growth in conventional food stores and 12.4% in natural food stores during the last year.

Photo by Reed’s Inc.

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on April 6, 2007 in Ideas.

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