ROSEVILLE, CA - The recipe for the Iranian-style soda was passed down from Payam Fardanesh's grandmother.
"It means a lot, the smells, the flavors," Fardanesh said. "It's kind of in remembrance of her."
Fardanesh founded Silk Road Soda to create a drink based on his grandmother's recipe.
"I grew up in Iran until I was 10," Fardenesh explained. "And I remember her kitchen. I remember her actually making this drink."
The Sac State MBA graduate launched Silk Road earlier this year after he sold his software company.
"I had it in my head for about six years and finally got the guts to do it," Fardanesh said.
He worked with a Santa Cruz food lab to perfect the formula and get organic certification. They tweaked his grandma's recipe a bit - cutting back on sugar, adding carbonation and making sure it was preservative free.
"I use apple cider and white vinegar as opposed to citric acid," Fardanesh explained. "We use a pasteurization process that leaves it shelf stable, but removes anything from bottle."
After that, Fardanesh hit the road. He'd took a little black cooler and personally gave his sales pitch around town. Midtown farm to fork restaurant Hock Farm immediately picked it up.
"It was kind of a no brainer," bar manager and managing partner Brad Peters said.
Peters even incorporated the soda into its cocktail menu.
"It has great balance, great flavor," Peters added. "It just works."
Newcastle Produce in Placer County said the cucumber mint has been a top seller.
"That's the best one for us here," Chelsea Federwitz said. "We go through quite a few cases of that one."
Fardanesh recently penned a deal with an Auburn distributer. Now, the sodas are available in 200 stores and restaurants. The quickly growing company is already working on a fourth flavor.
"I really believe it can be a household name," Fardanesh said.
But the best part of Fardanesh's success is knowing that his grandmother would be proud.
"In the Persian culture they pinch cheeks and they smile and they laugh," Fardanesh explained. "I can see her grabbing my cheeks and making them really red like she did a million times and really being thrilled."
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