Between pregnancies and nursing, mother of four Sharelle Klaus was not craving just any kind of non-traditional soda. She wanted to find natural, healthier options, so she turned to her kitchen. In 2005, she began experimenting with and educating herself on beverage flavors, creating thousands of samples and consulting with local chefs to create an alternative soft drink. Klaus said she boiled basic ingredients to obtain their extracts and purchased a home carbonation system, creating different variations of cuisine-inspired flavors. Later that year, DRY Soda Company was born.
Headquartered in Seattle’s Pioneer Square District, DRY Soda Tasting Room and Company Store sells low sugar and all-natural soda. Klaus said she named the company DRY because it refers to wine meaning less sweet to describe her drink’s low sugar content. Each bottle contains between 45 to 70 calories, 11 to 19 grams of sugar and is comprised of four ingredients — purified water, pure cane sugar, a small amount of phosphoric acid and natural, mostly organic, flavors.
“I love that DRY is making an impact on people’s food choices and changing the way we think about soda,” Klaus said.
DRY Soda is available in a variety of light, delicate flavors, including lavender, lemongrass, blood orange and rhubarb. Seattle restaurant Crush Chef Jason Wilson inspired the flavor ideas for juniper berry, vanilla bean and cucumber. Klaus said her favorite flavor is wild lime, the newest addition released earlier this month.
“[Wild lime] is a fresh take on a typical lemon-lime soda,” Klaus said. “We really believe that this flavor continues our quest for a soda revolution, cutting out the high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and colors from the American diet. Keep it simple and delicious.”
Currently, Klaus is in the Southeast with Urban Outfitters’ new “Store on Tour” to launch the new flavor. As part of her tour, Klaus has stopped in Minneapolis, Minn., Scottsdale, Ariz. and Portland, Ore.
Similar to a winery, DRY has a tasting room that allows customers to sample all eight flavors. DRY Soda can be paired with different meals and mixed with different alcoholic beverages.
“I’ve always been a foodie, home chef and interested in wine and food pairings,” Klaus said. “There is a bit of magic in a great combination. When I was creating DRY, I wanted to find a little bit of that magic in a non-alcoholic option.”
Her beverages first appeared in Seattle restaurants and were eventually sold for retail. DRY sponsors events that support locally produced foods as well as partners with chefs, restaurants and cafes that use local ingredients. DRY Soda encourages others to buy local and hosts DRY Gives Back events in the Seattle-area and Portland. DRY Gives Back is a community support initiative, showcasing the work of independent farmers and food producers in the Northwest. Klaus said she is hoping to expand the commitment to a national level.
“When I started DRY, I knew that I wanted to have an avenue to give back to the communities that have supported DRY, which is why we support going local,” Klaus said. “It was the local chefs and organizations that first made DRY a success. We try to use local and sustainable ingredients.”
DRY Soda has earned recognition and multiple awards from HOW Magazine, Communication Arts Magazine and Seattle Show among others. To be a successful woman in business, Klaus advises others to be have a love and passion for what they do, which for Klaus meant staying awake late at night working on DRY while her children were asleep.
“The only way to continue day after day, and keep driving toward your goals, is to know that it’s something you care deeply for and have the faith that it is going to make a difference,” Klaus said. “I’m able to be creative, impactful and inspiring to my daughters and other female entrepreneurs.”
All DRY Soda flavors are available in DRY’s Tasting Room and Company Store, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, boutiques throughout the United States and Canada. Locations can be found on the DRY Soda Company website.
DRY Soda recommends pairing the following food and beverages with its most popular flavors:
Wild Lime — Asian-inspired foods, fish tacos, avocado and coconut; Tequila, cachaca, white rum, vodka and triple sec
Lavender — Cheese courses, pork roast duck, desserts and chocolate; vanilla vodka, gin and hazelnut liqueur
Vanilla Bean — Roast chicken, summer salads, white fish, fresh fruit and panna cotta; Vodka, spiced rum, coffee liqueur cognac
Blood Orange — Greek-inspired foods, scallops, spicy greens, oil-cured olives and ceviche; Citron vodka, tequila, rum and triple sec
DRY Soda Company
410 First Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98104
Ph. 206-652-2345 or 888-379-7632
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Monday to Friday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.