Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Karneisha Christian-Stewart.
This Black-owned Lemonade Is The Secret Ingredient To End Of Summer Kickbacks
What began as a fundraiser for her kid’s school has blossomed into one of the most popular beverages on the West Coast. Created by Karneisha Christian-Stewart, Pucker Up Lemonade Company is the modern-day lemonade stand making a huge mark in Compton.
The business launched 11 years ago and opened a brick-and-mortar in 2019. Now, travelers from across the country are making a stop in Compton for a cup of goodness.
“I’ve never in 11 years said our lemonade was the best lemonade,” Christian-Stewart said. “I don’t have to because our customers say it.”
With 100 delicious, unique flavors, Pucker Up is bringing flair back to the beverage industry. A brand rooted in family and nostalgia, this lemonade is the secret ingredient to all of your end-of-summer kickbacks this year.
The Secret Ingredient Is Family
Christian-Stewart is no stranger to a good glass of lemonade.
Growing up in a family of eight, she watched her parents work day in and day out to support their six children. Whether it was working as full-time employees or carving out extra time for side hustles, her mother and father valued a good work ethic.
Her dad owned a lawn and tree care service and some evenings he would bring home bags of lemons from the trees he’d cut down. Christian-Stewart would wash those lemons clean and all the kids would gather around to wait on their father to whip up the best lemonade they’d ever had.
“Nobody was going to the store and buying Minute Maid and Simply,” she said. “You’re going to make yourself some lemonade or some Koolaid and call it a day because we’ve got a lot of mouths to drink.”
It was sweet, so much so she’d sometimes dilute her’s with water. But his recipe was genius. Each ingredient was measured to perfection and stirred into a whirlwind before their eyes. Christian-Stewart grew up drinking her father’s lemonade and, after selling it during the school’s fundraiser, decided to share it with the world. While the actual secret ingredient in Pucker Up Lemonade is unknown, it is family at its core that is the foundation of this inspiring brand.
One Hundred Flavors
View this post on Instagram
Unlike most lemonade brands, Pucker Up has 100 flavors of lemonade for customers to choose from. It all started with the classic flavor, but as Christian-Stewart discovered new flavor profiles and innovations, she began to experiment with other options.
“Every ABC under the alphabet, we have a flavor,” she said.
From agave and blood orange to cucumber and dragon fruit, Pucker Up has a little bit of everything for every type of lemonade-lover. Christian-Stewart says having 100 flavors was the end result of constant creativity from her team. Along with a multitude of suggestions from customers, these 100 regular and sugar-free flavors are the culmination of over a decade of lemonade innovation.
“This was a business that was kind of turning passion into profit,” she said. “Our roots are in fundraising. So we never set out to have 100 flavors, it just happened that way.”
Pucker Up serves lemonade, iced tea, and “teamonade”, which comes in a special Peach Cobbler flavor. Out of all the flavors, Christian-Stewart says their Lavender Lemonade is the crowd favorite. She describes it as “what pretty taste like” and says it’s the perfect beverage for calmly getting through LA traffic.
“Lavender brings relaxation, tranquility, and calmness and it does that same thing in lemonade,” she said.
With so much variety, flavor, and creativity, Pucker Up Lemonade has become a go-to brand in California. They’ve mastered brand recognition on the West Coast and people drive from miles away for a cup of their favorite flavor. Whether they know what they want or they get a different flavor every time, Pucker Up is serving folks near and far exactly what their tastebuds desire.
“We’re always trying to listen to the customers and give what they want,” she said.
A Glass of Nostalgia
View this post on Instagram
Pucker Up Lemonade is nostalgia in a glass. Founded on family and inspired by the culture, drinking this beverage takes customers back to a simpler time. Before the frantic realities of adulthood shook everyone up, a cool glass of lemonade on the front porch of your relative’s home was all that mattered.
“We purposefully try to create a nostalgic feel with the beverage and the taste,” she said.
When they’re not serving lemonade in Compton, the Pucker Up staff is busy curating large-scale events and beverage stations for companies like Amazon and Google. The brand is also expanding. They are launching Pucker Up Lemonade Truck soon so customers can get their delicious drinks and food items while out in traffic. Christian-Stewart says the company plans on being known across the country and also getting its products into big-box retail locations.
When Christian-Stewart took over the lease for the company’s brick-and-mortar location, she only had $15 in her pocket. Eleven years later, her wildest dreams have become a reality. Catering to the palettes of those young and old, Pucker Up Lemonade Company is the refreshing wave the industry has been waiting for.