It’s 9 p.m., and Bekah Elton needs something to wake her up for the hours of studying ahead. Her problem is easily resolved.
“Thank goodness Swig is open at night for me to grab some caffeine for long nights,” Elton said.
Specialty soda shops are trending throughout Utah; maybe it’s because the LDS culture doesn’t favor alcohol. Provo is home to two of these soda joints: Swig and Sodalicious.
Located less than a mile from one another, the two companies’ basis is to create a unique drink by mixing sodas with a variety flavoring syrups. They also sell sugar cookies and other baked treats.
The menus are slightly different at each location, although the basic concept of the product is the same.
Sodalicious has created a list of pre-made drink concoctions that have clever names such as “Just Friends” and “Civil Marriage.” It offers an array of treats such as cookies, rice crispies and popcorn. The establishment also offers hot drinks and Italian ice drinks.
Swig likewise offers a collection of drinks and snacks. Along with a soda and flavor list, it offers bubble teas, hot drinks, smoothies and even shaved ice. Treats include its famous sugar cookies, donuts, cupcakes and more.
Kaitlyn Frandsen, a junior at BYU, has been to both locations. She favors Sodalicious.
“They’re both great places, and both have incredible sugar cookies, but I am drawn to the Sodalicious environment so much more,” she said. “The drink names are silly and memorable. My go-to drinks are the ‘Your Mom’ or the ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You.’ I’m so obsessed.”
Sodalicious is a small, quaint shack where the employees come out to the car window to get the customer’s order. Swig is a larger building with a walk-in option as well as a drive-thru.
Lashea Taylor, an employee at Swig, explained the history and loyalty of the companies’ fans.
“Swig originated first and has been down in Southern Utah for a while,” Taylor said. “It also made its way to Provo as the first drink place of its kind in the Northern Utah area. I think people recognize and respect the Swig brand more because it is more established in this unique market.”
Courtney Goodwin, an employee at Sodalicious, believes the establishment’s customer service sets it apart. “We like to walk out and greet customers at their cars to take their orders in that personal way,” she said. “We have the goal to treat each customer like a part of our Sodalicious family.”
Small aspects of the products differ between establishments in ways people can recognize. The ice is slightly different, the syrups aren’t the same, and different ratios are applied.
Elton, a senior at BYU studying recreation management, has experienced both locations and has set her mind on Sodalicious for a particular reason.
“It all comes down to the ice,” she said. “For some odd reason, the pebble ice at Sodalicious is so much better.”
The intriguing phenomenon of flavored soda-pop will likely stick around the LDS culture to quench thirst or simply to provide a quick pick-me-up.