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Pass the gravy

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

SEATTLE -- A new Turkey & Gravy Soda tastes, well, pretty much like you would imagine. But that's not stopping people from buying it.

Even the producers of the Thanksgiving-themed beverage at Jones Soda Co. were surprised by the demand. They sold out all 6,000 bottles online within about two hours last week.

"To be honest, we really didn't think so many people would want it," said Michelle Whitehead, marketing assistant at the Seattle-based premium soda company that has a reputation for quirky flavors.

Founder and CEO Peter van Stolk dreamed up the seasonal flavor on a lark, but admits he can't stomach an entire bottle.

The liquid's ominous, murky brown color accurately warns consumers about the taste. The first sips bring a mix of sweet caramel and savory lard -- and it's downhill from there.

A limited number of Turkey & Gravy Sodas will be available in stores around Seattle and Olympia for the suggested retail price of 99 cents. A few entrepreneurs are selling theirs on eBay.com; by Tuesday, the bidding was up to $63 for a two-bottle set.

Mary Turner, a radio disc jockey in Lansing, Mich., who is auctioning off a bottle for charity, has sampled the drink and warns that it's not for the faint of stomach: "If you roasted a turkey and mashed potatoes, put it in a blender, left it out for three days and then poured it into a Jones bottle, you'd know exactly what this drink tastes like!"

The company, founded in 1996, plans to donate proceeds from sales of Turkey & Gravy Soda to the Toys for Tots charity, and van Stolk said he will personally match the donation.


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