By Katherine Christoff
A self-proclaimed lover of old history, Vito Gerasole acquired the traditional Natrona Bottling Company almost four years ago in what he calls a “stroke of luck” and a “gift from God.” The seasoned restaurateur — his family owns Shadyside restaurant Girasole — decided to buy the old-fashioned soda bottling company after he visited the plant and fell in love with the entire process. “The creation of the bottles is fun and eye-catching,” says Gerasole. Natrona Bottling Company offers palate-pleasing flavors like cherry, grape, mint julep, and ginger beer, which is its most popular seller. Since taking the reins, Vito has created two new flavors — vanilla cream and almond cream. The company is on an advancing course. “Being such an old company, it really needs coddled,” he says. “I love the hustle and bustle of the restaurant business, but I really enjoy the tender care I can put into Natrona Bottling.” The old-fashioned sodas are sold at Wholey’s, Giant Eagle Market District, Brentwood Distributing, and were just picked up by Burgatory.