When we receive cold calls at DRY Soda Co., we’re sometimes asked if our founder is available and if they can leave him a message or get his email address. We can’t help but giggle a bit. It’s rare to find a female founder at a beverage company, but that’s exactly the situation here. Our founder and CEO, Sharelle Klaus, is a wave maker, a loud laugher, and an adventurer.
What inspired a mom of four kids under the age of seven to enter the ultra competitive beverage industry about a decade ago? Well, a lack of exciting non-alcoholic beverage options, for one. This PacNW native wanted a flavor-forward soda that could compete with a great glass of wine or a premium cocktail. She also wanted something with simple, natural ingredients. So she decided to create it herself, starting in her own kitchen. In 2005, after thousands of taste tests and experiments with extracts, essences, acidity levels, and home carbonators (this was pre Soda Stream!) and with help from a few chefs and friends in F&B, Sharelle launched DRY Sparkling sodas in four flavors, including today’s best selling Lavender.
A clean ingredient panel was always important to Sharelle. She didn’t have chemicals or commercial-grade flavors and sweeteners in her kitchen when she created DRY, so there was never an opportunity for them to enter her recipes. She intentionally varied sweetness and acidity levels so each flavor’s unique characteristics shine through.
DRY initially was offered in some of the US’s most fabulous restaurants (Hello French Laundry!) and then expanded to retail distribution very shortly after that. Over the years, DRY has grown and changed a bit. DRY Sparkling is now available throughout the US and Canada.
“I’m so grateful to the people in the industry that have supported DRY throughout the years, but especially thankful for our devoted fans. I appreciate these people who believe in our new approach to soda – it’s a special person that goes to the store to buy a Lavender or Cucumber DRY.”
Sharelle appears to be doing something right. Parent Map Magazine featured Sharelle in “The Boss of Everyone,” which highlights parents who are also thriving entrepreneurs. She has also been the subject of Huffpost, Forbes, and Imbibe magazine. She also topped Seattle Magazine’s 2015 F&B Essentials List, and won one of Seattle Business Magazine’s CEO of the Year Awards in February, 2018.
This expansion and rapid growth means Sharelle is quite a busy gal, often traveling for work, but also for fun. She has a killer shoe collection and an even more impressive collection of stories from her adventures with chefs and her friends in the food and beverage world. Sharelle is based in Seattle, WA, where she lives with her four kids and her German Shepard, Lennox.