This month, DRY celebrates our 10-year anniversary. There’s a part of me that can’t believe it has already been ten years, but when I think back to those first days, mixing extracts, cane sugar and carbonated water in my own kitchen, (with a baby on my hip and three other kids to entertain!) it certainly feels like ten years. I just sent my first kid off to college last weekend. Decade, indeed.
Ok, so let’s rewind back to 2005. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I love a great glass of wine or a craft cocktail, but when I founded DRY, I believed the world (myself included) deserved a fantastic non-alcoholic drink that could stand proudly beside a gourmet meal. I truly feel a meal is not complete without a beverage. It has the power to transform your dining experience. I’ve been known to decide what I want to drink, then order my meal to fit the beverage, versus the other way around.
With DRY, my goal was to create a beverage that tasted beautiful, with simple ingredients, unexpectedly palate pleasing flavors, and packaging that was not just eye catching, but artistic. Each flavor would pair nicely with different foods, much like a fine wine. It would be dry, as in crisp and clean tasting. It would not be laden with ridiculous amounts of sugar or (shuddering) high fructose corn syrup.
We launched in Seattle with four flavors: Lavender, Lemongrass, Rhubarb and Kumquat. In our first few years, DRY was a rather “boutique” brand, with a few big accounts and lots of small ones. To be quite honest, back then, most people weren’t ready for a Lavender or Lemongrass drink. But a few of you certainly were!
Those fabulous few of you shared DRY with your friends and families and co-workers. You continued to express your love for DRY through holidays, birthdays, and baby showers, at ski resorts, and on summer vacations. You kept us up and running through a recession! You posted our bottles and cans, new flavors and old favorites, on social media.
You cooked meals of many courses paired with DRY. When we had a hard day, you sent us wonderfully positive messages that made us want to thrill you all over again. You were also honest with us and offered (sometimes very) candid feedback. You told us, and still tell us, “I don’t drink soda, but… I love DRY.” You mixed cocktails – boy did you enjoy mixing cocktails! And took lovely photos of them that drove us to drink (DRY, of course). You asked for DRY at your local stores. You visited our tasting room in Seattle and talked to us in person!
And soon, a few of you turned into hundreds of thousands of you. Then millions of you.
We’ve met people who are obsessed with Lavender. Self-professed Rhubarb enthusiasts. Lemongrass lovers and Vanilla Bean aficionados. There’s a group of you for every flavor and we seriously think that’s the coolest. We also want you to know it’s ok to love a second, third, and fourth DRY flavor. In fact, we encourage it. 😉
Speaking of flavor, you may be wondering what’s next for DRY. Well 2015 has already been an exhilarating year for us. We launched new packaging and a new website. (You were all very supportive of that and we appreciate it). We’re growing like crazy – in fact, we’re the fastest growing carbonated beverage in the US. We started selling wine sized “Celebration” bottles in certain regions – something we’ve wanted to do for roughly nine of our ten years in business!
What else are we working on? Well, we can’t tell because that would ruin all the fun. But rest assured, our incredibly hard-working team is committed to continuing to bring you beautiful tasting beverages in flavors fit to please a foodie.
We wholeheartedly want to thank you for your support of DRY over the past decade. I realize I tend to be a bit longwinded, and that if you made it through this rather long message, you must really be a fan!
Sharelle Klaus – Founder and CEO, DRY Soda Co. | @CEODRY