Tucson mocktail company owner wins Pepsi grant and mentorship

Published: Jul. 11, 2023 at 10:40 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - After its owner overcame a life-changing diagnosis, a Tucson mocktail company is gaining recognition after winning a grant and mentorship spot from Pepsi.

Rodolfo Aldana is president and CEO of Parch, a mocktail company. Though he is an up-and-coming expert on non-alcoholic beverages, he used to work in the liquor and spirit business for 14 years until he was diagnosed with cancer.

“It is a moment where you have a death sentence basically put in front of you,” said Aldana.

“If you want to survive, you want to do everything for the family you have, you really just want to stay here and do every possible to preserve life.”

To preserve his health as he recovered, Aldana closed the door on drinking alcohol, which opened another door leading to a business opportunity.

Using his experience working with spirits, Aldana created a non-alcoholic cocktail inspired by the Sonoran Desert.

Much of Aldana’s research and development takes place at Mission Garden. Learning new information on the deserts’ biodiversity, Aldana says much of the fruits grown in the Sonoran Desert aren’t used to their full potential.

He wanted to change that.

“Even with a bit of water and a bit of care, you can produce a lot of things. So, we always love to say that Parch is a dry beverage that comes from a dry place,” he said.

Aldana’s success surpassed his expectations after winning a $20,000 grant and 6-month mentorship from PepsiCo through their Greenhouse Accelerator program.

This is the first year the program focuses on Latino-owned businesses, and with the story and success Parch has shown, it’s clear why Aldana was chosen as a finalist.

“We really wanted to understand what the challenges for those owners were,” said Esperanza Teasdale, the vice president of PepsiCo’s Hispanic business unit. “So we built this platform to provide solutions to all of those problems to solve.”

After the mentorship, Aldana and nine other finalists will find out in November if they are the grand winner. The winner is expected to receive an additional $100,000 and a continued working relationship with PepsiCo.

Aldana says he is extremely proud of his success and grateful for his company’s recognition.

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