When Sharelle Klaus became a mom of four within seven years, she — like many busy moms — stopped drinking alcohol altogether.
"I began feeling very left out when going to events and dinner parties and missed pairing my favorite dishes with wines and cocktails. I thought to myself, this is crazy that there is no sophisticated option for people when they are not drinking alcohol. So, I changed my young daughter's homeschooling curriculum to "How to start a business," and begin mixing up the first recipe for DRY in my kitchen and taking them to design and PR meetings," said Klaus.
That's how Seattle-based DRY Soda Co. was born. It quickly became a family affair.
"There were tons of ways to include my children in the process and experiences that came along with growing DRY," said Klaus. "Whether it was shipping boxes together, taste-testing new flavors, traveling the world, meeting chefs and rappers, I always found a way to incorporate my family from the beginning. My children grew up with DRY, and each of them actually worked for the brand during their high school years."
Klaus leaned on her background in both high-tech and consulting with public works projects.
"It was incredible to see how quickly the Seattle restaurant community picked up on the importance of elevated, non-alcoholic beverages. Every single restaurant I pitched to in the first few months brought DRY in."
Nearly two decades later, DRY Soda Co. is a Seattle staple. Klaus says DRY was created specifically to pair with a meal.
"I wanted to use culinary-inspired flavors. We started with Lavender, Lemongrass, Kumquat and Rhubarb. Over the years, we have added lots of flavors, both seasonally and permanently. In creating these new recipes, I am inspired by my travels and often reference the amazing meals I have had all around the world."
Most recently, Klaus is excited about the new Botanical Bubbly Reserve line, which was created as an even more elevated wine and champagne alternative.
"The Botanical Bubbly Lavender flavor is one of my daily go-to drinks. But recently, I’ve been really loving our new Spicy Pear in the Reserve line."
Embracing a sober lifestyle is gaining in popularity, something Klaus fully embraces.
"We are working every day to make the zero-proof lifestyle viable," said Klaus. "I am thrilled about this movement toward inclusive culture of social drinking. I’ve been talking about this for about 17 years now, and it’s exciting to finally see it being widely accepted and embraced by more people than ever before."
In addition to CEO, Klaus has added author to her title with her new book, The Guide to Zero-Proof Cocktails.
"When COVID hit, we were gearing up for our national Zero-Proof Tour, so we wanted to find a way to still support the mission of Social Drinking for All amidst a pandemic. As we bounced ideas around with the team, we came up with creating the guide – not just with amazing recipes, but also the foundations to create your own zero-proof cocktails. I love experimenting at the bar, creating fun, new drinks, and this book gave us an opportunity to share my love for it with customers old and new."
"DRY Soda Co. has been a labor of love and I’m so proud of how far the brand has come and the whole non-alcoholic beverage category has developed!"
Klaus is from the PNW and when she’s not busy working, travel is a must, "I love to travel and do long, extended road trips. My dream is to overland the Pan-American Highway from Alaska to the tip of Argentina. I’m also building a home in Costa Rica, where I look forward to learning to surf and doing lots of gardening and cooking."
Kate Neidigh is a freelance writer for Seattle Refined. Follow more of her work here.
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