SOHR: Springfield start-up plans to expand protein beverage company

SOHR Fitness + Nutrition makes protein beverages that are plant-based recovery drinks. (SBG)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A Springfield-based start-up that makes sports drinks is planning to expand operations and move.

It's another soon-to-be graduate of the successful Sprout! Regional Food Hub in downtown Springfield.

We took a closer look at the company that calls itself SOHR (pronounced “soar”).

SOHR is an acronym for Solidarity, Originality, Honesty and Respect - the principles the co-founders stand on.

What they make are protein beverages that are plant-based recovery drinks.

The key ingredient in the drinks may surprise you.

Call it a recipe for business success, a blending of business know-how and a passion for sports.

“Took a look back and you know what do I care about? It's personal fitness and personal health," says co-founder Joey Jaraczewski, who along with Andrew Ek launched SOHR Performance + Nutrition on July 1. They met in the University of Oregon’s MBA program for sustainability.

They decided to make sports recovery drinks made out of Oregon hazelnuts.

“You don't see anything being made with hazelnut milk,” says Jaraczewski. “We're the only one out there that is saying, ‘Look at this product. It tastes delicious.’”

And it’s made with a base of dry ingredients and protein that packs quite a punch.

“It is a complete protein, which means that you actually absorb all of the protein that is in the product,” explains Director of Product Development Cameron Yem, who mixed up a blend called Vanilla Maple during our visit.

They make two other flavors and co-founder Andrew Ek says word is getting out: “We're in five stores in the local Eugene area and we're getting ready to launch into the Portland market with our new service.”

It's the latest success story for the six-year-old business incubator called “Sprout!” All the companies have a slant toward local food production, “And to increase local food consumption in Lane County by one percent,” says Leda Hermecz, owner of 100 Mile Bakery, which is a graduate of the Sprout! Program, having cut the cords in 2015, “and we've been here for two-and-a-half years.”

Hermecz says the bakery is doing well, but it's a feast and famine kind of a business.

These new products and restaurants are helping keep local food, local.

Next month, SOHR Performance + Nutrition moves out of Sprout! and they'll open a larger plant in Cottage Grove with new pasteurized product lines by next March or April.

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