Photo Credit: @mumnettoronto
JUST craft soda first caught our attention as a delicious soda that came in some of the most unique flavour combinations we had ever seen. That and the fact that they're made in Ontario using real, quality ingredients, meant they were perfect for Two Islands Weekend! Last summer we had the privilege of partnering with them for the first time and campers were in love! With flavours like Pear & Vanilla, Lemon & Lemongrass, Peach Habanero, Apple Ginger, and Tangerine Rhubarb, it's easy to see why. So needless to say, we're pretty excited they're back again for this year's TIW!
Hands down, best soda. So if you don't know, now you know.
Firstly, tell us about yourself.
My name is Matt Cherkas and my actual job title is a bit tough to nail down. Our company has two employees - myself and the CEO John Mceachern. On any given day I could be handling marketing, sales, delivery, demos, social media, inventory, vehicle repair or whatever else needs doing. I'm open to suggestions on a title the encompasses that scope of responsibility!
Photo Credit: Shareba Abdul
Where did JUST start out?
JUST has been on the market for almost 2 years. While John was negotiating with bigger fish in the grocery sector our distribution started out small from the back of the delivery van here in the GTA. My background in the restaurant industry was a great segue into sales at some top restaurants in Toronto. It's really exciting to be listed at great places like Momofuku Noodle Bar and Patois. We get to mix work with pleasure now when we stop in for a meal.
This year has been especially great for our grocery sales. We are now available in Sobeys across Ontario and The Martimes as well as Loblaws. We also grew to 200+ independent grocers listing us across Canada and large Petro-Canada stations as well
Did you ever go to summer camp as a kid?
Actually, both John and I spent many formative summers at Camp Onondaga in Minden, Ontario. I was personally there as both a camper and a counsellor for 10 years in total.
Why did JUST want to be part of Two Islands Weekend?
Summer camp was such a big part of growing up for me. I had a lot of firsts at Camp Onondaga and I left there with a host of great memories. Basically I love camp! So when we had the opportunity to get involved with a camp as fun as TIW it was a no-brainer.
What would people be surprised to know about JUST?
Most people think of sodas as sugar bombs that will coat your palate. Our sodas are actually made with 60% fruit juice and all natural ingredients. This results in a clean, refreshing product we are proud of. Our flavours are pretty unconventional as well - Peach & Habanero, Tangerine & Rhubarb, Lemon & Lemongrass, Pear & Vanilla, and Apple & Ginger aren't your typical cola with cherry smushed in it.
Are there any charities that JUST is involved in?
Our favourite charity event is The Stop's Nightmarket! Restaurants, farmers, chefs, artists and producers like us all donate their time, effort and product to raise money for The Stop at this amazing event every summer. Not only does the event support an incredible organization but it's the most fun we have all summer.
Are there any JUST hacks or recipes you recommend?
For the 19+ crowd, the sodas make great shandies! Pair one 50/50 with your favourite light beer. You can add ice for even more of a refresher.
"Partner Up" is an opportunity for our campers to get to know some of the amazing people behind the brands who partner with Two Islands Weekend. We try to find the best Canadian companies (big and small) to be part of our weekend to enhance the experience for all our campers. These features are not paid for or requested by our sponsors, we just really like them! Please consider supporting these great Canadian businesses outside of camp.
Here's where to find JUST craft soda when you're not at camp:
Where to buy:
Love JUST craft soda? Let us know in the comments!