Shopping

Find International Snacks at Desert Drinks & Exotics

Find International Snacks at Desert Drinks & Exotics
Desert Drinks/Instagram
If you’re craving Wasabi Doritos and Salted Caramel Pepsi from Japan, Strawberry Cheesecake Oreos from the U.K. or Tropical Fanta from Macedonia, you’re in luck. Desert Drinks & Exotics, located at 1242 South Broadway, opened November 15, selling a wide variety of rare and regional drinks and snacks from around the world. "It’s flavors you’d never expect,” says co-owner Michael Garber.

Many of the products are familiar brands — Canada Dry, Fanta, Pepsi, Doritos, Lays and Cheetos, for example — with an international twist, like Choco Churro Cheetos from Korea or Green Tea Kit Kats from Switzerland. Products come from all over the world, including Taiwan, India, Thailand, the Czech Republic and China. Some of the most popular items are Passion Fruit Mountain Dew from New Zealand, Fanta White Peach from Japan and Cookie Dough Kit-Kats from the U.K.

Stores like Desert Drinks and It's a Bodega at 1045 Lincoln Street have proved popular in Denver because, as Garber says, people love to snack and love to try something different. The most unique snacks the owners have tried themselves so far are Chocolate Banana Fanta from China and a Cadbury Durian Chocolate Bar from Malaysia. Their favorites are smoothie-flavored Skittles from Australia, Strawberry Kiwi Fanta from Belgium and Garlic Baguette Sun Chips from Korea.

It’s not just about trying an undiscovered flavor. For many, it’s about getting a chance to taste something from someplace far away. “It means the opportunity to try things from other countries that you can’t right now with travel restrictions,” says co-owner Kelly Lopez. “Customers are very excited to see things they’ve never seen.”
click to enlarge DESERT DRINKS & EXOTICS
Desert Drinks & Exotics
The store also sees customers who come in searching for something from their home countries. For instance, a customer originally from Canada requested Maynards Sour Cherry Blasters, which are a staple there, Garber says.

Garber and Lopez started their exotic drink and snack business as a delivery service in early 2019 and launched a retail store in Arizona in September of that year. That location is also a warehouse used to fulfill online orders.

After finding success in Arizona, the two decided to expand. “Denver seems to be a melting pot of personalities and backgrounds, which is one of the big reasons we do so well in Phoenix,” Garber notes. “Pair that with an open market, major travel restrictions leading to major homesickness, as well as a booming recreational and medical marijuana scene, and we have something in store for people from any walk of life.”

So far, feedback at the new store has been positive. “The products we have are blowing a lot of minds,” Garber says.

People are excited, Lopez adds, not just for themselves, but also for their friends who love Cheetos or who want to try every type of Oreo out there.

Desert Drinks & Exotics is located at 1242 South Broadway and is open noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit desert-drinks.com.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kristen Kuchar is a Colorado writer covering craft beer, food and travel. For Westword, she explores vegan dining and the state's artisan beverages, such as cider and mead.