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Sprecher Brewing Co., already a pioneer and major force in the craft soda world has now added a line of classic Chicago soda brands to its portfolio.
On Wednesday, the Glendale-based brewer announced that it has acquired Green River, WBC Craft Sodas, Caruso’s Italian Style Craft Sodas and Oak Creek Barrel Aged Root-beer from WIT Beverage company.
“We are on a journey to become a National Craft Beverage Company, and this will accelerate our growth," said Sharad Chadha, president, CEO of Sprecher Brewing Company.
"Sprecher was already one of the fastest growing Craft Soda brands in the U.S., and the addition of these brands acquired from WIT Beverage Company will further fuel that growth."
In addition to Sprecher Craft Sodas, the brewery also owns Claire Baie Specialty Beverages and Black Bear Soda.
Green River is a 102-year-old lime soda that was launched during the onset of Prohibition by Schoenhofen Edelweiss Brewing Company located in Pilsen, Chicago. Schoenhofen also had a Milwaukee presence in those days, with tied houses (notably the Edelweiss Cafe on Water Street) and a distribution center and offices in Harbor View, just east of Walker's Point.
This soda reported inspired the Creedence Clearwater Revival song and album title of the same name.
WBC Chicago-Style Craft Sodas were born at Goose Island's Clybourn Avenue brewpub in 1988 and its sodas – including Root Beer, Spicy Ginger and Vanilla Cream, among others – are caffeine-free and made with real sugar.
Oak Creek Barrel Aged Root Beers also includes a Blonde Barrel-aged Root Beer made with brown sugar.
Caruso’s Italian-Style Craft Sodas have been made using family recipes since 1961.
WIT will continue to operate, but will focus on what Jim Akers VP of Sales and Marketing for the company calls, “its primary business which is customizing, developing and producing Owned Brand beverages for leading retailers across the U.S.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.