Craft sodas: All fizz or ready to pop?

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Craft beers took the brew market by storm. The trend reached upscale pubs and local bars. Now, craft-soda-makers want to grab some of that mojo.

Bonnie Riggs, who is a restaurant industry analyst for The NPD Group, says the chances are slim that craft sodas will have a lasting effect. Craft sodas are “not a good value for the money,” Riggs says. At a time when consumers are “looking for an experience” when they dine out, she says, craft soda doesn’t seem to catch the interest of many consumers.

We looked at several restaurants and found prices of craft sodas that are comparable with the prices of noncraft sodas ($2.95 for a draft at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, and $3.49 for a “bottomless” draft at Fitz’s in St. Louis), and some that are more expensive ($7 for a Wake-Up Carrot, which has carrot, orange and basil flavors, from David Burke Kitchen in New York City, and $6 for a Handcrafted Draft Root Beer, which has sassafras root, vanilla and spices, from The Boon Fly Café in Napa, California).

Although the craft-soda push might fall flat, Riggs says you should watch in 2017 for craft wine, which is a segment of the craft market that still has a lot of potential.