Jon Allen can still remember his first Shirley Temple. He sipped the candied concoction at his aunt’s wedding, and soon started asking for the iconic non-alcoholic beverage at every restaurant he went to, hooked on the classic cherry flavor that’s become adults’ approved alternative to their boozy old-fashioned.
His craving followed him to Emerson College, where he participated in an entrepreneurial studies course, dubbed Emerson Entrepreneurial Experience, his junior year. After two semesters of tweaking and refining the business model, Allen won the school’s 2013 E3 Expo, receiving $10,000 in cash and professional services.
With that, Temple Twist made its public debut.
With only 80 calories per serving, Temple Twist “quenches your soda craving without the unnecessary additives.” Kentucky-based Flavorman, the same beverage company behind Jones Soda, helped develop the flavor for what’s now become the first all-natural and organic Shirley Temple. Each drink is bottled in recyclable glass and manufactured in West Virginia by Shenandoah Valley Brand.
To celebrate the impending start of summer, Allen, a newly-minted Emerson alumnus, decided to release a limited amount of original Temple Twist bottles, which are currently being sold exclusively at Lambert’s Marketplace, steps from the Boston Common. More than 100 bottles were sold within the first three days of the product being featured on store shelves — a testament to the work Allen put in during his senior year of college.
“Since June of last summer, we have been testing flavors,” Allen said, adding that he ran focus groups with Emerson students and faculty.
Beyond helping him taste test, the Emerson community has stepped up in other ways to get Temple Twist off the ground. An alum, who currently works at General Mills, created the logo and the college’s student-run digital marketing agency, EMcomm, took Temple Twist on as a client.
“Doing this while I was in school was really awesome,” Allen acknowledged, later referencing a Temple Twist promotional video, which fellow Emerson students starred in and filmed.
“Our brand is really fun,” Allen said. “We wanted to embody that in the video — a fun, young brand” — a brand reminiscent of the spirit of the late 1930’s child star Shirley Temple.
Allen has been sampling at Lambert’s during the lunch hours, and has met parents who have purchased Temple Twist to take home to their children.
“What I’m happiest about is that they love the taste,” Allen said.
After the limited supply runs out, customers can look forward to the 12 ounce Temple Twist bottles that will be released come July. From there, Allen hopes the beverage will start popping up in boutique restaurants and coffee shops around Boston by the fall. Next up, he will be working on locking down a distributor, with the goal of creating a partnership by the beginning of next year.
“We’ve combined an original taste with an organic twist, which is satisfying and refreshing,” Allen said.
If Temple Twist is Jay Leno-approved — Allen met the late-night funny guy during Emerson’s commencement ceremony — who can deny that?
Images via Temple Twist