Kid Ice Cold Beer Sign

In this photo provided by the Brigham City, Utah, Police Department, Seth Parker stands at his soda stand in Brigham City. Parker is earning widespread social media attention for his neighborhood soda stand thanks to a sign he holds that reads “Ice cold beer” with “root” above the word beer in tiny print.

An 11-year-old Utah boy made national headlines last week when his clever scheme to lure customers to his roadside drink stand drew far more attention than he’d ever envisioned — first from concerned passing motorists, then the police in his Brigham City hometown.

There are a few takeaways from Seth Parker’s celebrity micro-moment, including a reminder to read the small print. A close look at his “Ice Cold Beer” sign revealed the subtle inclusion that made all the difference: The beer being hawked was nonalcoholic in nature.

Root beer.

In honor of young Parker’s serendipitous marketing coup, this week’s Pikes Pub shoutout goes to the slingers of softer suds.

A number of breweries make their own craft sodas, which — like craft beers — get their fizziness thanks to yeast and a fermentation process that creates natural carbonation.

FH Beerworks serves its popular house-made root beer at both its downtown and east side locations, and bartender Brea Chadwick said the soda’s a popular choice for those who want a refreshing drink and the taproom experience without all the ABVs.

“It’s a good alternative to beer,” Chadwick said.

FH uses the same locally sourced honey in its root beer as it does to make its flagship Sticky Paws honey wheat beer, and “that’s a selling point” as well as a key ingredient whose contributions are tweaked to perfection, Chadwick said.

“It’s a nice balance of honey and sweet,” she said. “I’m not even a big soda drinker, but yeah I love it.”

Nano 108’s root beer isn’t on tap right now, but you will find a lemon lime and cherry cola.

“There’ll always be two, and they’re always made in house,” said bartender and former assistant brewer Jon Kornely.

Sure, most people who visit a brewery are there for the more potent libations, but “there’s a few people around town who buy our sodas religiously,” he said. Kornely estimated the almost-6-year-old brewery has produced around a dozen different sodas, including ginger and cream ales, sasparilla, grape and orange.

“We try to keep them kind of like our beer, where it’s always rotating and there’s always something different,” he said.

Bristol Brewing Co. makes a single soda — Chief Root Beer — which is on tap year-round at the Ivywild School brewpub.

“It’s really no surprise that the root beer is a hit in the pub with kids, but I’ve been a little surprised at the response from adults,” owner Mike Bristol said. “It’s not a huge response, but there are a few adults that really love it. That’s nowhere near the level of enthusiasm most folks have for the beer though.”


Stephanie Earls is a news reporter and columnist at The Gazette. Before moving to Colorado Springs in 2012, she worked for newspapers in upstate NY, WA, OR and at her hometown weekly in Berkeley Springs, WV, where she got her start in journalism.

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