“We are going to be exploring Prohibition-era beverage creation right here in Vermont’s Queen City,” Vermont Historical Society executive director Steve Perkins said. “We’re going inside; we’re going to talk to Justin (Bunnell), who’s really been working hard on this facility and has reintroduced Venetian Ginger Ale.”

“More than a hundred years ago, my great-great-grandfather — (Michael C. Dorn,) this guy here — built this place to keep up with the demand for his sodas, which were called Venetian Beverages,” Bunnell said. “They had a whole line of sodas. They had lemon soda, they had root beer, they had sarsaparilla, they had birch beer, strawberry, orange crush.”

“And that was made right here, where we are, on Pine Street,” Perkins noted. “How long were they in business for?”

“They were making Venetian sodas from 1917 ’til about World War II, 1942 or so,” Bunnell replied. “Then the Venetian name went away.”

“You’ve put in a great deal of work — along with, I know, some other people, too — in very recent years to bring it back and revive it,” Mike Hoey said.

“Yeah! So, I grew up — this picture inspired me that we’re standing in front of,” Bunnell added. “This picture was always hanging up in my grandparents’ kitchen. So, in 2017, as a filmmaker — my background is filmmaking — I thought it would be really cool to bring the brand back to life and re-design the packaging. We made a bunch of cool videos, like speakeasy videos; we did some ‘Godfather’ re-enactments! We started bottling the soda as a marketing experiment, but people really liked it!

“Then we launched a Kickstarter (online crowdfunding campaign) and raised money to supplement a bottling line and went from there. I basically want to rebuild what they had built because they were a regional brand; they were all over New England.”

Perkins asked, “Are you using the same recipe?”

“It’s inspired by the original recipe,” Bunnell answered. “We wanted to update it to be very Vermonty; we wanted to make it with all-real stuff. It’s real ginger juice, real lime juice, cane sugar, and we brew it with cinnamon sticks.”

“And it packs quite a punch, too, for anybody that may not have had the chance to try it the last few years,” Hoey said.

“Yeah, it’s very spicy,” Bunnell said. “We get Peruvian ginger.”

“The old bottling plant is absolutely hopping,” Perkins observed. “I mean, this is a wonderful place to visit. Can you talk a bit about what you’ve done with that?”

“It was really Steve Conant’s vision,” Bunnell said. As soon as I did my Kickstarter, he contacted me and he’s like, ‘you’ve gotta come back to this building’. He re-gutted the whole (former) Recycle North (premises). He re-did the concrete, re-painted everything and divvied it up into little rooms. We have Tomgirl Juice, Brio Coffee, Pitchfork Pickle — it’s just like the building’s full of really interesting food things.”

“And not just food things, either,” Hoey noted. “It’s a very impressive, disparate array of tenants that can be found in here now.”

“Oh, yeah — artists, a guy that does license plates, two art galleries, there’s an architect in here,” Bunnell said. “There’s photographers, videographers.”

“This is a way that people can — I’m going to say, you can consume history,” Perkins said. “Literally, consume history with your product…so, how can people consume history through Venetian?”

“Yeah, so we are distributing to about a hundred stores in Vermont and we’re looking to expand,” Bunnell said.