Crazy D’s, the all-organic, guilt-free soda brand from Scarborough, is going mainstream. First found in Toronto specialty markets such as the Big Carrot and Whole Foods, and in niche eateries like the Copper Branch vegan restaurant, Darren Portelli’s prebiotic craft products are doubling their distribution. They’ve just slipped into 50 of the city’s Metro grocery stores. By the end of May, they’ll also be in 50 Sobeys. “We were in under 100 stores. We’re about to hit 200 stores,” Portelli said last week at the Crazy D lab, a unit he’s rented for two years in a looping, mid-Scarborough industrial street called Barbados Boulevard.
It has been a crazy couple of years for Darren Portelli. The Upper Beaches resident has pivoted from producing movies and TV shows to creating his own soda line — a journey that began as he was dealing with a personal struggle. “I was trying to figure out why my mental health was on a decline versus being steady,” said Portelli, adding he started to do more research on the impact of food on mental wellness.
Knowing about the role of probiotics and beneficial bacteria of the gut has become common knowledge amongst the holistic health community and even in the medical field. Everyone is chatting gut health, and how to replenish the gut with the best probiotic supplements and with the use of some of our favorite foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, kefir, and kimchi. Heck, people are even brewing their own kombucha from home these days using their very own Scoby.