Florida on a Tankful: Sebring Soda and Ice Cream Works

By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2016, 11:14 PM EDT

Craft beer and hand-crafted sandwiches are all the rage these days.

In Highlands County, one man is taking the craft-craze one step further, adding a little pop and fizz.

On the main strip in Sebring awaits a sweet time warp.

"We get people who (say), 'We haven't seen this in 60 years,'" Jeff Kennedy said.

Surrounded by wooden book shelves, Kennedy is in his element. There's no books on the racks, rather 350 bottles of soda.

"Craft soda is similar to craft beer," Kennedy said. "It's small batch, artisan soda that's new to the market."

The owner of the Sebring Soda and Ice Cream Works has a soda for every color of the rainbow.

"They got to pass my taste test," he said of the impressive collection, where each bottle is for sale.

The civil engineer's first dream job didn't pan out.

"I wanted to be a garbage man," Kennedy said with a silent laugh. "Honestly."

What started as a hobby digging in trash dumps, grew to collecting old bottles.

"We would go in with a large excavator and then spend a week digging bottles," he recalled before opening his store a year ago.

Today, Kennedy is happy to make others bubble up with joy.

"It kind of takes you back to a happy place," said Vance Jullian, from Naples. "It takes you back to when I was a kid."

It's ironic, because Jullian doesn't even look old enough to enjoy a craft beer. In his hand, an RC Cola, something he simply couldn't leave without.

"These are smooth-flowing sodas and they have a great taste at the end," Jullian said.

After the last sip, Kennedy has one wish: "We want people to leave with a smile."

Note: Sebring Soda and Ice Cream Works also offers hand-dipped ice cream. The store is closed on Sundays.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly
Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411. And here at home on Channel 999. Or see more of Travel Monthly here, courtesy of NY1, a service of Charter Communications.