Redhook Chugs Widmer; Bottle Shop Coming to Georgetown; Your New Coke Habit

Selections from Voracious, our daily food blog.

Georgetown to Be Hoppier in '08

Just call me Scoop. Last night I got to peek in on the build-out for Full Throttle Bottles on Airport Way South, a new bottle shop that's shooting for a January opening. The owner is a savvy lady with a long career in retail and business who has decided to combine these skills with her obsession for beer. The shop will sell kegs to go, domestic and foreign craft beers, and neighborhood favorites. (Might that include Georgetown Brewing Company in bottles? The shop is right across the street from the GBC....)

"We're also going to carry some wine, since we have twice the space we need. Nothing too fancy, mostly Tuesday night wines that aren't so common," says the owner, who for now shall remain nameless.

Man alive, if the layers of two-by-fours, paint, and caulk in that space could talk. I stopped counting at 23 different colors, not to mention all the pipes and conduit to nowhere. The space used to be the stable for the old racetrack that filled the area south of Michigan in the 1920s.

Note: Speaking of Georgetown Brewing Company, get to Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle tomorrow night to meet Manny and Roger and try their firkin delicious 9LB Porter. No, not just a bad pun, the beer is in cask. Perhaps the owner of said new bottle shop might make herself known.

— Maggie Dutton

Redhook Chugs Widmer

Redhook announced last week that it is absorbing Oregon-based Widmer Brothers, the company that makes that hefeweizen that got you into beer in college.

Then today Redhook announced a net loss of $80,044 in the first nine months of 2007 compared with more than $522,000 in net profits for the same time period last year. They attribute it in part to seasonal slowdown as well as dramatic expansion of the business, including the installation of four new 400-barrel fermenters at the cost of $1.3 million.

Wall Street liked the merger and accepted the expansion, so a little net loss didn't prevent Redhook stock from rising more than 4 percent this afternoon to $6.35 a share.

— Laura Onstot

Your New Coke Habit

Here in the Emerald City, we claim DRY and Jones sodas for our own. Joining the ranks of alternative beverages is Zevia, a totally natural, sugar-free diet soda made with stevia, the sweetener derived from an herb native to South and Central America.

So, yeah. It's coke made with herb.

I don't really drink soda, or pop, or whatever you want to call it, besides the occasional Diet Pepsi on the airplane. But I'm usually a sucker for "natural" alternatives, and the Zevia folks sent me some. I called up my editor at Seattle Weekly and dared him to try it with me.

I'm not sure exactly what we expected—maybe something so unlike cola that it didn't deserve the name? One of us would choke, maybe, and the other would be the telephone witness to a stevia-induced death? We weren't excited.

We each took tentative sips. Then slurps. We both swallowed. It's not bad, we agreed. It tastes more like Diet Pepsi than like Diet Coke, but more herbal, almost grassy, and not quite as carbonated. There's a bit of a strange aftertaste, but then again, wouldn't Diet Pepsi's aftertaste be weird if I wasn't conditioned to recognizing it? I'd totally drink Zevia, if I drank soda. In fact, I might even drink it anyway.

The orange flavor bears a surprising resemblance to the flavor of Crush. It leaves a bit of a dry feeling and metallic taste in the mouth, but if you're trying to curb a habit and crave the flavor, it'll work (plus, those qualities don't have time to register if you keep drinking it).

Zevia's lemon flavor, called Natural Twist, wasn't as tolerable. It doesn't have the pleasant grapefruit flavor of Fresca, or the sugary tang of the Dew. And no, it doesn't taste like lemonade, either. It tastes like carbonated Crystal Light. I happen to like Crystal Light, on occasion, so I'm cool with that. But if you're looking for a reliable way to kick your Squirt or Coke habit, skip the Twist.

Zevia's suggested retail price is $5.99 for a six-pack, and it's available at Seattle-area PCCs, Metropolitan Markets, and all sorts of other locations.

— Jess Thompson

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