HARTFORD, Conn. – If you like a crisp white with chicken or fish, a hearty full-bodied red with beef, or perhaps something fruitier with dessert, Rob Metz has some suggestions, and none includes alcohol.

That’s because Metz is the owner, flavor developer and occasional bottle washer at Avery Beverages, one of Connecticut’s oldest soda producers.

You could also call him a soda sommelier.

“Maybe a lime rickey, a black cherry and an orange cream,” mused Metz, who bought the business 13 years ago. “Our lime rickey is made with less sugar, so it’s dry and tart. The black cherry can stand up to a burger. And our orange cream tastes like a Creamsicle, so it’s a great way to finish off a meal.”

The company, which opened in 1904 in New Britain, Conn., still makes its products the old-fashioned way. No aluminum cans.

So does Hosmer Mountain Soda in Willimantic, Conn., which opened in 1912, and Foxon Park in East Haven, Conn., which opened in 1922.

Sodas at these vintage companies are handcrafted in small batches using methods and recipes from generations ago and sold in glass bottles packed into wooden crates. For most, the biggest concession to modern times is the addition of diet varieties.

“Our equipment is state-of-the-art 1950s,” Metz said.

Avery’s product line includes 40 flavors — many of which, like sarsaparilla, have been around since the company opened for business in 1904. And while they may be selling soda — about 15,000 cases each year — what they’re really bottling is nostalgia.

Top sellers are two of the oldest flavors — red cream soda and white birch beer. Avery sodas are sold at the bottling facility, a red barn on Corbin Avenue, and in little mom-and-pop stores. There’s no supermarket presence.

Marketing, on the other hand, is more new millennium. Avery has a Facebook page with more than 3,000 followers.

At “Make Your Own Soda” parties, kids create their own carbonated concoctions. A line of “Totally Gross Sodas” — Toxic Slime, Bug Barf, Monster Mucus and several other equally “sodagusting” offerings appeals to the 6- to 20-year-old demographic.

Limited-run flavors, such as So Long Osama (blood orange) and Barack O’Berry, reflect current events.

Carbonated drinks are a multi-billion-dollar industry in the U.S., but things are tough in the independent fizz biz. Supermarket shelf space is dominated by Coke and PepsiCo lines of bottled water, vitamin drinks, juices, teas and carbonated beverages.

Metz says the locavore trend and the public’s taste for boutique foods has helped keep small-label sales from going flat.

Willimantic’s Hosmer is marking its 100th anniversary this summer. (The company actually started in 1912, but Bill Potvin, who owns the business with his brothers, isn’t waiting.)

“When you’re in a business like ours, you don’t put off celebrations,” he said. “We hope we’ll be here next year, but you never know.”

The slogan for the festivities echoes Potvin’s cautious outlook: “Founded the year the Titanic went down, but we’re still afloat.”

Foxon Park Beverages, which opened in East Haven nearly 90 years ago, sells about 100,000 cases of soda each year.

Fans find the company’s white birch, root beer, orange, cream and 14 other flavors — including “gassosa,” an Italian lemon-flavored drink — in supermarkets and in coolers at pizzerias and other restaurants across the state.

“I always thought ‘gassosa’ was one of the funniest soda names,” professional foodie Jane Stern said. “But like Moxie and Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray, these sodas have a great history and unique flavors.”

Stern said a renaissance of boutique sodas has emerged over the last several years, similar to the growing popularity of beer micro-breweries.

“These soda makers almost all use cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, and quite frankly, the products taste better,” Stern said. “It’s like the difference between Mexican coke, which is made with sugar, and American Coke, which is not. Nobody drinks American Coke if they can get the Mexican version.”

“We’ve been using sugar in our formulas for almost 90 years, and now it’s trendy,” Jay Brancati said, general manager at Foxon Park.

“Soda made with cane sugar is very popular these days, and not too many companies use it. Our customers swear they can taste the difference,” Metz said. “We’re told our flavor is cleaner and a little sweeter than those made with high-fructose corn syrup.”

At each of these vintage Connecticut soda companies, production is up, since summer is high season for soda sales.

“All of those picnics and family get-togethers,” Potvin said. “People get sick of Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite. They love the variety and the nostalgia of the old-fashioned drinks.”