Someday, Patrick Creager and his wife, Ari Murdock, would like to open up a soda fountain. "I love the concept of a modern soda shop," he explains. "I really delved in behind the bar at Olivea, and I found ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables and spices and herbs with sugar as a medium. Then I turned them into sodas."
The couple wasn't ready, however, to build out a shop: "With brick-and-mortar comes loans and financing," Creager says.
So when they spotted a cart on Craigslist last year, an idea was born. "We saw this really cool cart for sale, and we thought maybe this could be a really cool way to introduce ourselves to Denver, get a following out there, introduce people to our food and beverages and then have something more to go to a bank or investors with," Creager says.
The couple outfitted the cart with a retro soda fountain, and last fall, Follow That Cart hit the street, peddling such sodas as Earl Grey lavender, lime basil and lemon rosemary. "We call ourselves a global soda cart," he explains, adding that the cart also serves up a rotating, seasonal menu of sliders, hot dogs, sandwiches and soups. "We're not trying to reinvent the wheel with food."
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While Patrick admits starting a soda-oriented cart was difficult in the winter, he's now ramped up the business, and he makes regular stops at Great Divide (on Monday nights), the Cherry Creek and Stapleton farmers' markets and Skyline Park at 17th and Arapahoe for lunches on Friday.
And now, he's also getting to ready to launch a related venture: "We've had people take interest in our simple syrups," he says. "We're going to start labeling and bottling them, and we hope to have them in shops around town."
That simple syrup line, which Creager and Murdock are calling Backyard Soda Company, should have a finalized label in the next two weeks, and then it'll hit the market.