Colorado is bursting with crafty potent potables including beer, wine, spirits, and even cannabis-infused beverages. But not everyone is into that sort of indulging (hello, sober-curious) and if you’re underage, it’s a non-starter. Most ski resorts have partnered with a brewery to produce custom-branded beers. So what’s a family-friendly ski resort like Sunlight Mountain to do?
The answer: produce a craft soda.
The mom-and-pop ski area located just south of Glenwood Springs recently released “Sunny Pop” in collaboration with Idaho Springs-based Tommyknocker Brewery, known for its award-winning ales, lagers, and craft sodas. It’s the first custom craft soda collaboration between a brewery and a ski resort.
“At Sunlight, we’re proud of our Colorado heritage,” says Troy Hawks, director of marketing and sales for Sunlight Mountain Resort. “We’re always looking for creative and strategic ways to celebrate and work with other small, authentic Colorado companies, like Tommyknocker Brewery, that share the same values of independence, quality, and innovation.”
Tommyknocker started making root beer “pretty much from day one,” says Steve Indrehus, director of brewing operations for Tommyknocker. The team currently offers four flavors: root beer, almond creme, orange creme, and strawberry creme. When Hawks approached Tommyknocker about partnering on a craft soda for the resort, Indrehus said it was a “genius” idea.
“Ski areas and craft beer are pretty much synonymous—everyone’s doing craft beer with ski areas and we do beers with other skis area, but he was the first to approach us to do a campaign around a non-alcoholic beverage,” Indrehus says. “Sunlight’s a very family-friendly resort, so it’s a great fit.”
Sunny Pop is Tommyknocker’s orange creme soda with a twist. Take a look at the label and, along with the classic nutrition facts, you’ll see that Sunny Pop is “100% Genuine–Authentically Flavored” with “All-Natural Vibes. Lift Lines Not Included.” Other “nutrition facts” include stats on Sunlight’s recommended serving size of “all day every day” and 2,010 vertical feet per serving.
Produced in Idaho Springs and made from all-natural ingredients (water, pure cane sugar, organic orange flavor, organic vanilla, and organic natural colors) with no GMOs or caffeine; Sunny Pop is also gluten free and alcohol free. While it’s not a diet soda, it is a clever way to create buzz without providing one.
Upon popping the top, you’ll experience a crisp, citrus taste with a hint of vanilla that’s similar to a classic creamsicle, a flavored popsicle with an ice cream core. Sweet and effervescent, the soda sure to appeal to slope shredders of all ages.
But Hawks has a more poetic description: “Sunny Pop tastes like Sunlight in a can.”
Get your own: Sunny Pop is $2.25 a can, $8.99 a six-pack at Sunlight Mountain Resort and at local retail shops in the Roaring Fork Valley. Sunlight is also offering lift tickets specials that include free cans of Sunny Pop through Feb. 13.