In the early aughts, Austin Ashley set aside his artisan beer obsession and began experimenting with other craft beverages. He started with small-batch ginger beers, fermented fruit bubblies and quite obviously struck a nerve as demand from friends and family quickly outpaced his hobby-level production. In July of 2012, Austin decided to take the plunge with his wife Hallie, and combine their love of soda with their deep respect for the local food movement and launched Wisco Pop!.
Never satisfied, we're always working on refining our current products and developing new ones. In June of 2016, our sodas became certified organic. We also released our first unsweetened product, organic Lemon Sparkle. The Sparkle line will have two additional flavors added in early 2017.
We're now distributing our organic sodas and Sparkle throughout the midwest and beyond.
Austin’s culinary adventure started in 1998 when he got fired from a landscaping job for doing wheelies in a case loader. He wanted a job that was chill and easy, so he applied at a French restaurant washing dishes. The sou chef talked to him about the local agriculture movement. It had a huge impact on his ideas of food consumption and changed his way of thinking. He moved to Wisconsin in 2000 pursuing many food endeavors such as coffee roasting, cheese making, fermenting, gardening, canning, and brewing soda of all kinds! He lives with his beautiful wife & children. He still washes a lot of dishes.
Hallie has had a long standing love affair with food that comes from the original natural source. Living in Madison in 2003, Hallie would drive two hours to get fresh milk direct from a farm to make her own ice cream and yogurt. She worked with our friends at Kickapoo Coffee Roasters since its conception in 2005. She specialized in bookkeeping, customer service, & office management. She has kept bees, chickens and loves being connected to Viroqua's rural food culture.
True to Zac’s love for local, organic, and healthy foods, his entrepreneurial adventures started 2009 with the founding of HeartBeet Family Farm. In a creative move to develop a new avenue for his abundant produce and to explore his fascination with pizza he successfully launched HomeGrown Pizza, a seed-to-plate, wood-fired pizza catering company in 2012. Driven to improve the sustainable agrarian economy at a more meaningful scale Zac joined Wisco pop in 2013.
Neal dropped into the Driftless area from Brooklyn, NY in the Spring of 2012, just as this whole wacky endeavor was getting off the ground. He's worked in advertising, design, specialty coffee and ran his own bike-pulled coffee cart, which has been featured in the New York Times and Bon Appétit. Neal joined Wisco Pop! full-time in the winter of 2016 and is elated to hang out with his friends all day.