SoCo Ginger Beer spices up local farmer’s markets

SoCo Ginger Beer spices up local farmer’s markets

SoCo Ginger Beer spices up local farmer’s markets
February 28
01:05 2019

SoCo Ginger Beer owner Dave Weaver, 33, strides into the market with a keg of ginger beer in each hand, rushing to set up his tent before SoCo patrons swarm his stand. Once business starts, Weaver’s hand-built taps pour the carbonated ginger concoction for customers to taste, take home or fill up their growler with.

Convincing people to try SoCo at the markets can be difficult, Weaver said. Some assume it is alcoholic and don’t want to start their Saturday morning with a buzz. However, SoCo’s ginger beer, depending on the flavor, contains fruit or vegetables mixed with organic cane juice. Children can try the drink because there is no fermentation during SoCo’s ginger beer production process, but Weaver said it can be a great mixer for adults.

“I mix [the ginger beer] with a shot of vodka that I take before bed,” Weaver said.

Weaver grew up in northern Washington state around woods and the Pacific coast. At age 24, he moved down to Austin to live near his brother. Weaver grew up working with his father, a carpenter, and ended up following in his footsteps, working in a variety of shops. Weaver’s brother had been working on microbrewing in Austin and took over the SoCo company from a friend. At the time, he was rebranding the company’s image and began pushing the company toward growth. However, he needed extra help.

After moving to Denton, Weaver joined in on the family business model.

“Denton has a reputation for producing creative, innovative ideas and projects,” Weaver said. “The Denton Community Market showcases a lot of these products and art.”

Kegs of SoCo Ginger Beer were transported from Austin to Denton for his first few weekend markets, but as the business expanded, Weaver moved the bottling process to a local facility in Lake Dallas. Now, SoCo is sold in at least 30 local bars and shops and has moved into its new home off Loop 288.

Geology junior Roger Nuñez works part-time at SoCo, filling bottles at the production facility in Denton and traveling to DFW markets during the weekend. Nuñez, who is also Weaver’s brother-in-law, said working for family makes the job more meaningful.

“[With family], the priority shifts from this just being a paycheck to actually wanting to succeed and work hard for yourself and your loved ones,” Nuñez said.

Weaver said he has worked hard to craft both a great product and a great atmosphere, which his family members play a vital role in.

“My brother and I run the company between Austin and Denton,” Weaver said. “My wife Angel and my 3-year-old daughter Vera help when they can, and my parents just came down for a week to help with construction projects on our new facility. My family has been very supportive and there has been no looking back.”

Nuñez said by working for the company, he has had the opportunity to learn the practices of ethical and sustainable business like SoCo, such as its use of raw ingredients in their formula.

“We cold-press all of our ginger and citrus fresh weekly and we don’t add any artificial preservatives or additives,” Nuñez said. “Our ginger beer is more natural and fresh than most out there.”

Hoping to keep waste low, the business also asks customers to bring their bottles back to be refilled for a discount, also giving people an incentive to return for a bargain.

“This year, we’re going to focus on the same things as last year, which is getting SoCo into more and more stores, restaurants and bars,” Weaver said. “In a couple of years, I would love to open up a storefront in Denton to serve ginger beer cocktails and cider.”

SoCo has been able to build brand loyalty in two years, with some customers saying SoCo is the only ginger beer they drink anymore. Local markets are one of Weaver’s favorite aspects of SoCo’s operations because he likes gets to know people in the surrounding communities.

“Thinking of buying [SoCo] at the Denton Community Market motivates me to get out of bed on Saturday mornings,” customer Lauren Cordova said.

For now, SoCo is available at locations in Dallas, Coppell and McKinney. Nuñez will also be at the Denton Community Market, which opens April 6.

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Amy Roh

Amy Roh

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