This week i managed to catch up with Rocket Pop Stop (who have become part of the team here at DizzyFrinks)Rocket Pop Stop . Frank and Josh have been videoing themselves reviewing sodas since 2012 and they sure know their stuff! Episodes are full of humour, fascinating background info on the drinks and some well thought out commentary. If you are not subscribed yet then get on board!
Tell us a little about yourselves?
For starters I (Josh) am 21 years old, and Frank is 19 years old. We live in St. Charles, IL, which is a suburb outside of Chicago. Only about an hour away.
Neither of us really grew up thinking about what we wanted to do with our lives, but we for sure had a ton of passions. Still do! Frank and I both love photography, Frank is an avid fish guy (you ask that man about any fish, saltwater or freshwater, and I guarantee that he can go on and on about them. He’ll say their scientific name, where they can be found, their personality, their favorite color, EVERYTHING.) I am more of a sports guy between the two of us. I love basketball (NBA mostly) and I also coach high school volleyball. I tend to get wrapped up in the season once it starts and I find myself spending most of my free time focusing on it. Obviously we are both quite obsessive, but I think that is an advantage for us both. We end up wrapping ourselves up in things we love and I think that reflects in our passion for soda.
When did you start?
We started in August of 2012. Back then we had just started making videos, but we did them on a on and off basis. We only did the videos because it was a fun thing to do in our spare time, but we never really had any ambitions about it other than that.
In the beginning of 2014 Frankie and I were hanging out and we suddenly had this idea of this amazing place where people of all ages could come to hangout and try some one of a kind sodas (much like what we had had through our time reviewing soda) and just appreciate all the types and flavors of soda there was out there. We had these vivid ideas of what could be in the shop, but that was all it was. An idea. At the time I (Josh) was working to become a teacher.
Time had passed and we found ourselves thinking about the shop nonstop. One day while I found myself alone, and a light went off in my head. At that moment I called Frankie and we decided that we were going to make this shop a reality.
What made you want to make soda review videos?
Honestly, the idea to review sodas via video was kind of a joke / idea born out of boredom. A friend of ours brought over some “odd” sodas over one day, so we decided that we would “review” them while sitting there. No cameras, no nothing. We thought it was funny, but that was it.
It was maybe a week or so later that Frankie and I were out at Fresh Market and we saw a couple interesting looking sodas. We ended grabbing Frostie’s Root Beer, Bundaberg Root Beer, and two of Fresh Market’s brand soda. We grabbed my computer and we reviewed the sodas on that. Looking back we were really strange (that hasn’t changed) and we avoided making eye contact with the camera. We continued it for a long time because we were really fond of the soda history. We would always spend a good amount of time looking up information on each soda in hopes of finding some interesting facts.
Now that we have been working on making our own shop we want to use our videos not only as a way to appreciate soda, but to also get our name out there.
Best thing about running Rocket Pop Stop?
Frank– I would have to say by far the best of RPS is being able to “Eat, Sleep, and Drink” soda with my good friend. We are always finding new ways to improve our sites, bouncing different ideas around, and in the grand scheme we are trying to accomplish being our own soda brand/store/brewery.
Josh – I would say that the fact that it is something as childish as soda (and I mean that in the most loving way possible) is what I love about it. It is something that everyone around the world can have and in such varying flavors. Everyone has that one flavor that they absolutely love, and that is something I enjoy learning.
What was the drink that got you “into” soda?
Frank– Primarily it was the sodas with the most interesting past, but I would have to say Moxie was the biggest eye opener for me. The mystery behind Augustine Thompson and the astonishing 1885 birth date blew me away. For the people that have had it they are probably thinking I’m crazy because it has a strong, bitter bite and a “unique aftertaste, but to think that people for well over 100 years have been going to it. Its taste and medicinal purpose makes me wanna open another!
Josh – I am going to have to agree with that. Something about Moxie opened my eyes to how amazing the history of the soda could be almost as interesting as the flavor. I got both of us The Moxie Encyclopedia, and it is essentially all about Moxie, and the elaborate history involved in it, and Augustine Thompson. If you haven’t read up on Moxie I would highly advise it!
Frank– I was not to excited for this question because its a lot like picking a favorite child! I would say the drink I get most excited for would have to be Jackson Hole Soda Co. Huckleberry. Its flavor makes be feel like a kid all over again! Stress-free, happy, and relaxed.
Josh – My favorite soda would have to be Sioux City Prickly Pear. The flavor is not only one of a kind, but it is so refreshing, tart, floral . . . I could go on for a good hour on how much I love this soda. If you want something different, I would definitely try that.
Most unusual drink you have ever tried?
Frank– I think I can speak for Josh and I choosing Ramune’s Kimchi (fermented cabbage) I know delicious is not a word that first comes to mind and upon tasting it that was still not the fact, but it seemed like it was some sort of Willy Wonka failed attempted at soda. Looking back we have nightmares of a intense garlic aroma and an even more pungent garlic taste that would kill a vampire if it were within a mile of it, truly a…….Unusual drink
Josh – Ditto. Ditto ditto ditto. It is an odd feeling when you smell something and you are expecting a plate of spicy cabbage, only to find yourself looking down the neck of a Codd bottle. So strange, yet so neat!
Frank – quite simply Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock. Please keep in mind I am a strong lover of floral sodas. But this soda in particular was the one that stood out the most (for the wrong reasons) I’d be curious to know the thought behind the flavor. If I could describe it in a few words I’d say…earthy…dandelions…musty…thick. It took one good mouthful to know that it was a one time purchase for me, which was upsetting being the Fentimens Brand is one of my favorites, not my cup of tea i suppose!
Josh – To date I have yet to have a really good malt soda. We have tried Malta Hateuy and Malta Goya, and I thought they were gag worthy. I have respect for these sodas, but I cannot seem to have more than a sip. I am still searching for one that I can like!
Drink you most want to try?
Frank – well really any soda I haven’t already tried. There are actually two sodas i have been always hoping to stumble upon. Bundaburgs guava and Natural Brews Chia Cola. The are definitely sodas that will undoubtedly enjoy and would love to get my hands on.
Josh – I too have a few I am dying for like Empire Bottling Works Spruce Beer. I read about that in one of the interviews you had done, and it just sounds very interesting. My second one I would love to try is Hires Root Beer. It is a shame that it might never happen because Dr Pepper has essentially phased it out in favor of their own A&W Root Beer, but I would love to one day try it. It is the blueprint flavor to all root beers, and yet it is all gone.
I also want to try some small batch sodas like Bucksnort Black Sheep Root Beer and Brooklyn Soda Works soda, but those are more local.
Where do you see yourselves in 10 years time?
Ideally we see ourselves opening our own soda shop! Our goal throughout this all has always been to open up our own shop where people can come in and have our own gourmet soda, but we also want to people to experience all the other sodas in the world! We want to have a plethora of soda so that people can have their old favorites, and some that they may have never seen before. We see this shop as almost a brewery, where people can come and try some one of a kind drinks, but also get some delicious food. We want to create simple food like pizza and other bar foods (chicken, burgers, ect.) but make them delicious. Ideally we would be using our own fruits and vegetables in our food and drinks. Obviously we are almost too ambitious, but this is what motivates us. We want to shoot for the stars and achieve all that we can.
Soda, pop or fizzy drink or cola?
You’d think we’d say pop since we are “Rocket POP Stop,” but we say soda far more often.
What is your favourite video you have done to date?
Josh – Manhattan Special Vanilla Bean has to be my favorite.
Frank – Probably our “Funny Moments” video. Every single time I watch it I end up laughing. It shows our real personality.