06 April, 2011

Blatant Yet Heartfelt Product Placement For SodaStream USA

Meet my friend, the Penguin. We got together a few months ago over an earnest conversation with my family about the role of Cola Addiction and High Fructose Corn Syrup in my life. You might call it an intervention, but I think I'll stick with earnest conversation. I freely admit that I am powerless over sugary fizzy drinks. I was one of those kids raised by parents who put discount grocery soda in my baby bottle. (It was cheaper than milk and I seemed to like it.) Soda and I, we go way back. Caffeine  was my close friend, aluminum cans littered my life like beer bottles after a frat party. I would talk to my kids about soda like other parents do about beer. "That's for grown-ups, honey. Get away from Mommy's stash." Just like kids everywhere, things for grown ups took on an impossible allure. Soda was the most desired item on the planet.

It was time to quit.

That lasted about three days. Maybe two if we're honest about it. I actually snuck out of the house to buy and drink a soda. Really, it was like that. I started to get defensive. What's wrong with a little sugar? A little carbonation? Who was I hurting? Pepsi Throwback didn't even use HFCS. Meanwhile, I was getting caffeine shakes and stockpiling cans against future shortages. My girlfriend Amy suggested I get a SodaStream because she lost like, a bajillion pounds cutting out commercial soda. Given that I'd rather skip food than soda (and ultimately deny myself neither) this had it's appeal. Instead of raising a generation of fat soda addicts, I could mix juice spritzers for the kids and sell it as soda. This was huge. Penguin and I hooked up.

SodaStream makes a line of flavors, but the organic ones were out of stock and the basic line was Splenda infested. (Hate Splenda. We had a bad night once.) Penguin and I came home to experiment. I discovered that a 1:5 ratio of orange juice to seltzer makes a pretty outstanding Orangina clone. I stuck to carbonated juices for about three weeks before my eye started to wander. Orangina is delicious and all, but what about a nice lemon lime? Perhaps a slightly sweeter taste.... I was off to the world of flavoring syrups. I woke up a few days later with a litter of Torani syrups around me and a new understanding of the Swedish affinity for Lingonberries. Suddenly I realized I was off the caffeine, my garage was ant free and I hadn't hauled the recycling bin out for over a month. That was a lot of consumer waste avoided by keeping a pitcher of cold water on hand for carbonating.

I still wasn't going to come here and let my addiction flag fly, this is a book blog. You're here for the reading. Two things happened. The first was an offer to review a Soda Cookbook. Seriously! A book on how to actually make soda from a pile of sugar and a dream? Count me in! The second was a school fundraiser. With donations down a call had been made to find desirable items for a silent auction. I am all about the kids having toilet paper and crayons, but our taxes don't pay for glue sticks, let alone fresh markers to sniff. With so many of the parents shopping at the Whole Foods or the Greenwise or the Gourmet Good For You markets, why did I find out about SodaStream from a friend in the (insert regional shudder) North? Obviously our market was underserved. (Do you know how much I've heard about Mona Vie and Acai berries? This isn't a market to keep fads to itself.)

Under the "all they can do is say no" theory I sent out tweets and emails. Nora Roberts stepped up. So did Alina B. Klein. The book community is a generous one. Before the hour was up I was feeling pretty good about the first round of solicitation when suddenly both my tweet and my email were answered. SodaStream would be happy to donate a Genesis unit with a dozen or so syrups for the kids to auction off. Not only was SodaStream my new best friend, they also believe in kids having tissues and construction paper and fresh pencils. As I expected, parents from the two schools were unfamiliar with and intrigued by the product. I bid pretty high myself (hey, I need one at my brother's house, don't I?) but I didn't win. I felt bad taking attention away from the truly amazing Angry Birds cake someone crafted, but an Angry Birds cake is for an evening - SodaStream is more of a long term relationship. I offered to review the product at Amazon and both my blogs, which SodaStream said wasn't necessary, but was awesome. Since I think the product and their donation policy is several shades of awesome, I'm breaking my book only policy to talk soda. Ask me anything soda related, I'll answer in crazy obsessive detail.

I hear this product works great with booze too, but I have kids. If I started drinking alcohol I'd never stop.


  1. I think I'm in love...

    And YAH for Soda Stream and the authors for contributing. That's fantastic!

  2. This product is making a major new surge in the American market. I was totally unaware of it. Good timing since it's gotten much harder to buy siphon capsules (more of the War On Recreational Drugs)

  3. Siphon capsules are used to...I suppose one can say the drug producers are inventive?