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DRY Soda

A sophisticated non-alcoholic choice

Seattle is a serious food town, and serious food must be paired with serious drink. Lucky for Seattle eaters, it is also a serious wine and beer town. But what is a person to do if one cannot, or does not want, to drink alcohol? Water is certainly always an option, but it is a flavor neutral beverage, whereas the diverse varieties of wine and beer offer many choices for complimentary flavor notes to add to one's meal. And most soft drinks are so sweet they completely overpower many dishes, whether their flavors are delicate or complex. Those sweet soft drinks simply blow out the palate.

Sharelle Kraus, founder and CEO of Seattle's DRY Soda Company, found herself frustrated with her restaurant beverage options while she was pregnant, and decided to do something about it.

"I love pairing wine with food, but while I was pregnant, I couldn't drink wine," said Kraus. "I wanted a non-alcoholic beverage that would accent food. So I created my own."

Kraus created the concept for DRY Soda in January 2005. By August of 2005, she was marketing the first of her products. Her major product launch came in May 2006.

DRY Soda
410 First Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98104
888.DRY.SODA (379.7632)

Check their website to find out where you can buy DRY


"We chose flavors that pair well with food, lowered the sweetness levels, and varied the acidity levels for optimum food pairing," explained Kraus. "We added carbonation to give it champagne-like effervescence."

DRY Soda currently is available in four flavors: lavender, lemongrass, kumquat and rhubarb. These flavors are natural. The plant's essential oils are steam-extracted after a cold pressing of the plant. No flavors created in a lab here. "Cold-pressing yields an oil and water-based product," said Kraus. "The steam process then produces a water-soluble flavor extract known as an essential oil." Besides the primary flavorings, each DRY Soda has only three additional ingredients: purified carbonated water, cane sugar, and phosphoric acid.

DRY Soda is the "first smart, sophisticated drink for those not drinking alcohol," said Kraus. "Soft drinks are a huge market with little innovation for years. Now DRY Soda offers a difference: a refreshing, clean finishing soft drink that is also lower in calories."

Kraus has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. She combined her 1992 degree in political science from Seattle Pacific University with her passion for business upon her graduation, working with various firms doing airport analysis and studying airport privatization. When Kraus had the first of her four children, she found herself exploring online communities available to them, and in 1999 she launched PlanetSquid, Inc., a secure online environment for 10-14 year old children.

Photo: Founder and CEO Sharelle Kraus

DRY Soda is available at many of Seattle's top restaurants and grocers, as well as in the Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Los Vegas, Dallas, Austin and Denver markets. The company works with two co-packers with the infrastructure, expertise and quality standards Kraus demands, she said. With soft drink bottling infrastructure being so capital intensive, DRY Soda's co-packing strategy allows it to use the $3.5 million it has raised from investors to expand its markets instead of spending it on bottling equipment. And with the identification of an East Coast co-packer, Kraus is now expanding into markets there as well. "Sales are strong," said CFO Maureen Fitzpatrick. "We expect 2007 sales to be double those of 2006."

Zachary D. Lyons/March 2008

Zachary D. Lyons is a freelance food and agriculture writer in Seattle. He served seven years as Executive Director of the Washington State Farmers Market Association. He currently serves as Vice President of the Seattle Chapter of Chefs Collaborative and is a certified barbecue judge.

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