Khalil Gray, a new local business owner, is bringing exotic delicacies from around the world right to Tuscaloosa. His company, Exotico, sells specialty sodas and snacks from places like Japan, Canada and Sweden.

The inspiration behind his brand originally came from an Instagram account, @exoticpop, for The Unique Beverage Boutique. The Houston-based company sells exotic sodas and beverages that are not regularly available in the United States.

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“I came across them on Instagram and thought they were really cool,” Gray said. “I went on their website and saw that you could apply to be a distributor, so I decided to apply.”

Gray now distributes these specialty sodas right here in Tuscaloosa, where his entire business is run from the company’s Facebook page. In March, Gray launched his own brand, Exotico, which branches from The Unique Beverage Boutique.

These specialty drinks are extremely hard to come by. The Unique Beverage Boutique searches high and low for rare and even discontinued soda flavors from different countries. Gray then purchases their finds and sells them to his customer base in Tuscaloosa.

Exotico currently sells five different types of sodas:

  • Crush Cream Soda
  • Canada Dry Vanilla Crème
  • Swedish Fanta Exotic
  • That’s an Awful Lot of Pina Colada
  • YoungBoy Top Pop Strawberry Soda

According to Gray, the two most popular sodas are The Clear Crush Crème Soda and the Swedish Fanta Exotic. While they are not available now, Gray is in the process of acquiring specialty Japanese Doritos and Sour Patch Kids Cereal.

Gray hopes to make everyone in Tuscaloosa feel at home with his new business, no matter where they’re from.

“I know that a lot of people from UA are from a lot of different places,” Gray said.  “I hope they’ll feel a little sense of comfort just having a drink that may come from where they’re from, even if it’s far away.”

In the future, Gray hopes to launch a convenience store where he can sell his sodas, snacks, and even a clothing line that promotes his business.

To stay up to date on the specialty snacks and sodas Exotico has to offer, check out their Facebook page here.

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