Waialua Soda Works is a small soda company based in Waialua, HI, on the island’s north shore. The company was started in 2003 but builds on a long tradition of bottling soda in the area that goes back 100 years. Founders Karen and Jason Campbell use only natural flavorings and real cane sugar. They make a handful of flavors, including Pineapple, being reviewed here today, and Mango, which I’ll save for the future.
I found Waialua’s products locally at Cost Plus World Market in Westport. Each bottle was individually prices for $1.49, although you may want to check the dates. I don’t know how important the “expiration” date is on a bottle of soda, but mine had a July 2011 date on it. It’s probably a good idea to drink these soon and not stockpile them, but for all I know they last 1,000 years!
The Pineapple soda is a light color, slightly hazy and without any obvious colorings added. It basically looks like the simple syrup I make for Old Fashioneds… not completely colorless like pure water, but a kind of “platinum” color. It’s hard to describe, but suffice to say it doesn’t look like neon green or other out-of-this-world colors! In the photo, the Pineapple is the second from the left.
The soda has a SUPER-pineapple aroma. I was a little worried at first that it’d have a crazy-sweet, over the top flavor, but I was surprised to find that the flavor was a lot more subdued than the aroma. The aroma from the glass is about the same as if you cut up a fresh pineapple, which is a good thing!
There is a good amount of carbonation in this soda and the pineapple flavor is quite restrained. It has a nice creamy finish like a cream soda would. In fact, I think that would be a good way to think of Waialua’s Pineapple soda… imagine half cream soda, half pineapple flavor and it gets you in the ballpark. At 140 calories per bottle it’s not a light beverage, but real sugar is less devastating to your health than high fructose corn syrup, the flavor is nice, clean (and “adult” for a soda), and it doesn’t leave me with a big goober in my throat like mass-market soda does. The Pineapple soda is a real treat, and I can’t wait to try the Mango out, too!