Help with soda fountain setup for a non profit

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crossbarx

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I run a non profit summer camp for at risk youth. For the last several years, we have had an old fashioned soda fountain that has soda jerk handles that make CO2 water and then we had syrup we mixed into the drinks. The campers loved being able to pick and choose all types of sodas. Sadly, we had the original owner of the fountain take back the unit. We are no constructing a snack shack for the kids where they can order snacks and drinks during their rec time. I am need to have some type of unit that makes carbonated water and possibly cola. We are really tight on our budget and really limited in knowledge in this area. Any advice or direction you folks can provide would be really appreciated!

Tim Miller
Executive Director
Cross Bar X Youth Ranch
www.crossbarx.org
 

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Well, not a handmade soda guy, but if I understand you correctly, you are talking about making fizzy water, right? Pour out the fizzy water and let the kids mix in their own syrup?

You could set up a series of kegs filled with water hooked up to CO2 tanks, carbonating the water. That's not necessarily inexpensive, though. Others will probably have better ideas to share. I just wanted to bump this thread a little bit, to see if we could get you a possible solution or two.
 
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You need to get the word out to the corporate world and service and other organizations. Optimist clubs in Canada are youth directed. Shrine clubs often do good deeds. Lions clubs are famous for youth support. You need a well written letter with a proposed budget and send it out. How about your businesses or factories in your area? People like me donate countless hours to groups like you. I build things at a Cancer Camp for kids. People like to attach their support to specific projects. Keep up the great work and let us know how you make out. A restaurant supplier might be your saving grace on this one! There is always a spare machine in storage somewhere! Let's get this man serving some special syrups again. There has to be a solution here.
 

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Are you looking for a similar setup to what you had? Where were the syrups made/purchased? I'd be glad to help with information where I can.

I would agree that there may be some local businesses that may be willing to donate, and that would be the best place to look. Barring any donations can you give us a ballpark figure as to your budget? Are you willing to do some building, or you just want a purchased unit?

The setup in my Twitter background pic is just a kegging setup from Midwest Supplies (which was about $200 w/CO2 tank when I bought it), syrup bottles and pumps from Prairie Moon, (about $20 with shipping for 5) and that's it. Pump syrups into a cup (though the pumps are small, so it takes about 20 squirts for a 16oz cup), add carbonated water from the keg. (Though it would work better if I had longer than a 5ft beverage line).

 
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crossbarx

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I would like a similar system, but am open to other options. We bought our syrup concentrate from prairie moon and mixed it in house. I am not familiar with the keg system. How does it work? Will it last long if we are making 30 8 oz. glasses a day? Thanks for the help!
 

thatjonguy

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I would like a similar system, but am open to other options. We bought our syrup concentrate from prairie moon and mixed it in house. I am not familiar with the keg system. How does it work? Will it last long if we are making 30 8 oz. glasses a day? Thanks for the help!
Get with a Coke/Pepsi/Regional soda distributor. They should be able to get you an inline carbonator.

It uses tap water and CO2 which is mixed (carbonated) at time of dispense. No messing with kegs. Just a CO2 tank and a water line.
 
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crossbarx

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I have talked to both Coke and Pepsi. Was quoted well north of 2k for a basic system to make soda water. That is way out of the budget. Can someone walk me through the keg system? Will it be an efficient way to make soda water? I need to be able to make around 300-400 ounces of soda a day.
 

thatjonguy

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I have talked to both Coke and Pepsi. Was quoted well north of 2k for a basic system to make soda water. That is way out of the budget. Can someone walk me through the keg system? Will it be an efficient way to make soda water? I need to be able to make around 300-400 ounces of soda a day.
That is a bunch of crap for a non-profit, especially if you will be getting CO2 and other items from them. Like if you run a camp store with juice, water, soda, sports drinks, etc.

Basically you have the shake method to do that much a day.

Put cold water in a 5 gallon ball or pin lock keg, leaving some head space.

Hook up CO2 at 30-ish psi until it stops hissing.

Disconnect gas side.

SHAKE.

Repeat until gas stops hissing when reconnected.

If you want to go the set it and forget it method, you are going to need a lot of cold space, kegs and gas side supplies. For this method you add cold water to a keg with some head space. Hook it up at the desired pressure and leave it for a week or two.
 
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crossbarx

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A few questions:

What's the shelf life of a forced keg carbonation type setup? After mixing it, do you just keep it in a fridge and run a line to a faucet?

On that system in the previous post, what is the best way to keep that cold plate cold? Can I just keep it in a fridge and run the lines through it?
 

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A few questions:

What's the shelf life of a forced keg carbonation type setup? After mixing it, do you just keep it in a fridge and run a line to a faucet?

On that system in the previous post, what is the best way to keep that cold plate cold? Can I just keep it in a fridge and run the lines through it?
The shelf life on carbonated water in theory would be the same as bottled water as long as the sanitation is maintained.

The cold plate would best be used in a tub of ice. CO2 dissolves more readily in the liquid as temperature drops towards 32F/0C.
 
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crossbarx

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Thanks for all the great info. If my source water is 35 degrees coming in. Do I still need to chill it via a cold plate?
 

thatjonguy

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Thanks for all the great info. If my source water is 35 degrees coming in. Do I still need to chill it via a cold plate?
If it is always 35°F you should be ok to go straight to the carbonation pump. A cold plate is used to chill it rapidly from room temp to close to 32°F.

That being said, if you are not getting the level of carbonation that you want with tap water, you might need to run it through the cold plate. Since it is already pretty cold, the ice use should be minimal.
 
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