Jones Soda and the Seattle Seahwaks

Some may see this as a little story, but I’m not one of them.

Every few years, major contracts are hammered out that state which companies can provide food or beverages at major events throughout the country. Everything from hockey games to state fairs negotiate and sell rights to companies to have their products sold at these events. It should surprise no one that representatives from Coca-Cola and Pepsi are almost always involved, and it’s almost impossible to find any sodas other than one represented by these two companies being sold at concert venues, sporting arenas or even major high schools.

So when the Seattle Seahawks announced yesterday that neither Coke nor Pepsi will be sold at their stadium, it’s a big deal, especially for a higher profile team in a very high profile sports league. In their place comes relative newcomer and Seattle institution Jones Soda (the folks who sell the Turkey Flavor sodas around the holidays).

Jones is not new to event sponsorship, having been part of the skater culture for the past several years and being the “official soda” of several events. But getting a part of the NFL pie puts them onto a new level.

But the reason I really like this deal is that it may be a step back to food regionalism. Seeing Coke and Pepsi, as well as Budweiser, Starbucks, McDonalds, et al, being sold throughout the country homogenizes our culture. I don’t think that this is a good thing.

I’m of the belief that having regional diversity in our national marketplace is a very good thing. My thinking may be a bit “pie in the sky” but regional diversity can be a way of promoting civic pride. All you need to do is get a person from Kansas City and a person from Texas to talk about barbecue to understand that. Heck, thick about what Rolling Rock Beer meant to the folks in Western Pennsylvania before Anheuser-Busch bought them out.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, dreaming my Utopian dreams. Congratulations to Jones Soda, for pulling off a major coup.

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