Jones Soda Co. bottles Issaquah High School purple, gold beverages

January 1, 2013

By John Leggett

The Jones Soda bottles in Issaquah High School flavors of grape and pineapple cream feature pictures of Issaquah students at a school assembly and cheering for their football team. By Greg Farrar

Stores will soon introduce an innovative tandem of new Jones Sodas, featuring pictures and ideals furnished by nearby Issaquah High School and Eagles event coordinator Tim Baynes.

Baynes has been working in unison with Eric Chastain, vice president of operations with Jones Soda Co.’s Seattle headquarters. The tiny inscription on the back of the Grape Soda bottle reads:

“Issaquah High School is located at the foot of the beautiful Cascade Mountain range in the heart of Issaquah. We pride ourselves in our ability to serve and support one another and the world around us. Whether that is building wells in Ethiopia and Nepal or joining the fight against cancer, we impact our world when we work together.

“In October 2012, our WHOLE school united when we dedicated our Homecoming to our Special Olympics teams. Two Special Olympians were crowned Homecoming Royalty and honored in front of our whole community. We are proud to be a school where everyone is loved, supported and strives to make our world a better place.”

Jones Soda migrated from Canada to Seattle in 2000, and has been a beverage most popular with the 14- to 18-year old demographic or high school set, Chastain said.

Issaquah High will be the model for other schools in the state, as Eagle students and advisers take the maiden voyage into waters filled with potential for fundraising efforts, and working with writing and photography classes within those schools, Chastain said.

The Issaquah High series of photographic labels, provided by Baynes and currently being affixed to distinctive-looking bottles of grape soda (purple) and pineapple crème soda (gold) were first stocked by the Jacksons Front Street convenience store.

One of the Grape Soda bottles features a picture of several students, cheerleaders and Special Olympians holding hands, walking side-by-side with the word P-R-I-D-E super-imposed in purple across the top of the photo.

A bottle of Pineapple Crème Soda showcases a crowd shot of Issaquah High students dressed in red, white and blue, fashioning an American flag while getting behind the home football squad, with the word tradition emblazoned into the heart of he crowd.

“It is with this spirit that every student who walks through our doors feels supported and connected to a tradition bigger than themselves.”

Chastain said the majority of the sometimes imaginative yet delectable soda flavors are inspired by the more than 1 million followers that Jones Soda, originally conceived in Vancouver, British Columbia, by Peter Van Stolk and Jennifer Cue in 1995, has on Facebook.

“We will take interactive suggestions from anyone to make our product more appealing and unique to high school-aged kids, who think it is pretty cool to be seen holding one of our bottles and who really seem to relate to our company’s motto … Your Photo, Your Soda, Your Brand,” Chastain said. “Jones Soda endeavors to encourage and explore healthier alternatives to some of the less healthy temptations that present themselves to adolescents at this stage of their development.”

Chastain said that through the company’s quest to come up with a more diverse myriad of flavors to fill the bottles and photographs to adorn them, Jones Soda has earned the reputation for being somewhat of a maverick in what was a fairly predictable industry even a decade ago.

Variety is the spice of life and Chastain said that this is often reflected by the suggestions generated by Jones’ open door policy.

“The soda industry is kind of seasonal, spanning the months of April to August,” Chastain said. “Here at Jones Soda, though, we like to think outside the box and push the heck out of the envelope, so with the help of one of our customers, we created a nonseasonal soda that was designed to last all through the holidays, called turkey and gravy soda.

“It actually tasted like turkey and gravy, you know, for around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s as something a bit different,” he added. “I mean to tell you, we gained a lot of notoriety within the industry with that one. We had the media in Japan, Australia and even a radio station in Detroit, calling and inquiring as to just what that was all about.”

The spirit of Jones Soda is interactive. When people drop by the Jones Soda headquarters at 1000 First Ave. S., Suite 100, in Seattle, employees literally drop everything in order to better discuss their ideas, Chastain said.

He added that anyone with ideas for new flavors or photographs for Jones Soda’s 12-fluid-ounce glass bottles should call 206-624-3357 and arrange an appointment.

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