SHAWANO (WAOW)--At Twig's Beverage in Shawano, they are still offering SunDrop the old fashioned way: in glass bottles. People travel from across central Wisconsin to return their empty containers, and fill up on the company's particular mix of the citrus soda.
"Every day we do 14,000 bottles of Sundrop," said President Dan Hartwig. His father, Floyd Hartwig, started Twig's in 1951 after serving in the Korean war.
"When he was injured in the war he was laying in a Tokyo hospital and he came up with this idea. He wanted to start this bottling company when he got out of this hospital," said Hartwig.
After returning to Shawano, Twig's was born. Floyd's first two fizzes, root beer and orange, flopped. That's when a salesman approached him about bottling SunDrop. "He was the first bottler in the state of Wisconsin to bottle SunDrop."
And now, Twig's Beverage is the only company in the nation bottling SunDrop in traditional glass bottles. Twig's is licensed to make and sell the soda by the Dr. Pepper Snapple company.
"It tastes better out of a bottle than in a can or a plastic bottle," said SunDrop drinker Kimberly Hagel. She travels from Cecil to fill up her empties every few weeks.
Hartwig said the returnable business is growing in Shawano, in part because of the way Twig's makes SunDrop. "We still use granulated sugar and it's an old form of sweetener. It's more expensive, but a lot of people like that flavor better."
Dr. Pepper Snapple recently launched the soda nation-wide, introducing the citrus drink to a new generation. However, you can only taste Twig's particular mix by buying some refillable bottles. Hartwig said he also sells the soda in cans and plastic bottles, but the returnable business is the heart and soul of the company, even though it's a bit more expensive to operate that way.
"It's not going away, at least on our part," he said.
For more information about SunDrop and to find out how you can taste some of Twig's mix, you can call 715-526-5031. The company is located at 711 S. Washington Street in Shawano.