Entrepreneurship success after Blake

I find Eva Duckler ’14 behind the counter of Verdant Tea in Minneapolis. The comfortable, modern space opens up to shelves of loose-leaf tea and tea-making accessories. Duckler has been working at this local shop for eight months, and the drink hub now serves as a platform for selling what has become Tree Fort Soda.

Last spring, Duckler chose a full fourth quarter senior program to work towards creating the perfect root beer. Today, that same root beer is sold at Lakewinds Co-op, Seward Co-op, Linden Hills Co-op, served on tap at Verdant Tea, and currently has plans for future expansion.

The Duckler family has become a name tied to entrepreneurship at Blake. Eva’s older brother, David Duckler ’08, founded Verdant Tea. Her Father is an entrepreneurs while her mother is an artist. Duckler mentions that while her parents are supportive, “they always were like ‘don’t ever go into business! It’s the worst thing ever!’ But we’re deviants so we did it anyway.”

Duckler’s entrepreneurial spirit was tested this spring when her root beer brewing project quickly took off into Tree Fort Soda. She was faced with the decision between focusing on her newfound business or going to school. “That was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. I’m so set up from Blake to just keep going to school, but I knew that I had to choose either my business or going to school and I really wanted to do both.”

Duckler’s decision to take a gap year has led to a considerable amount of expansion for her business. She mentions that “there is a lot of interest, so it is just a matter of being able to make enough product for [those interested].” In the near future, Duckler will be moving her brewing process to a warehouse in Minneapolis, which will allow her to further expand her company by adding larger tanks for brewing and mechanical bottling machines.

Duckler is also prepared for what is to come a year from now. “I’m going to stick out the year and then next August I‘ll hire someone else to do what I’m doing and I’ll just work on the administrative side from afar.”

As Duckler continues to balance school and soda, look out for Tree Fort products on local shelves, stop into Verdant and have a taste, or seek out the soda. It truly is a brand worth buying.

For more information on Duckler’s root beer, visit www.treefortsoda.com.

To taste it, go to:

Verdant Tea-2111 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Lakewinds Co-op-17515 Minnetonka Blvd, Minnetonka, MN 55345

Seward Co-op-2823 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406

Linden Hills Co-op-3814 Sunnyside Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55410

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