In the 1950’s a ‘Soda-Jerk’ was (and still is) a respectable job, similar to what coffee barristers are today – Soda Press Co. was started by a Soda-Jerk called Cameron Comeril. Frustrated with inferior mass market cordials and syrups, Cam formed a collective of smart and restless minds to fix this, applying the best of modern and old fashioned techniques.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“Soda Press launched in 2014 and was built on the pure frustration that the market was dominated by low quality and excessively sugary syrups. That essentially drove people from the category. I’d always had a passion for food and organics. I’d spent 16 years taking other people’s brands to market so I was thinking ‘if you don’t do it now you never will’. I traded in a career in advertising and built Soda Press from scratch. The business is on track, but it’s been a ton of hard work to get here.”
What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market? (Are they gluten free? Do they utilise unique or new ingredients or techniques? Are they the only one of its kind?)
“We’ve worked hard to create healthier, more premium syrups. They’re free of anything artificial and range from 80-96% organic. We are in the final stages of our organic certification for the entire range too. We sit at around 40% less sugar (on average) than tradition syrups, cordials, and soft drinks. The range caters to a wide spectrum age groups, tastes and applications. They dial up a bygone era of earnest intent to develop flavour-forward variants yet they are not in the least polarising. We are about to launch a Cola which is pretty exciting, it’s going to be quite special. We finished a wee while back the world’s first clear organic tonic syrup that uses real Cinchona bark for quinine sustainably sourced from the Congo and is 60% less in sugar than traditional tonic.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“We’ve just come out of an intensive three-year planning phase with a very talented team to assist us with the likes of Andrew Waddell (ex-Red Bull marketing director) and what we have coming up is pretty exciting. This includes expansion into International market, moving into food service with post mix and other tap systems, and bringing out a range of carbonated drinks. We’re now looking for a couple of new positions to fill to make this all happen.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
“We have around 150 customers in New Zealand and they range from premium homeware and kitchenware stores through to specialty food stores. We’re also expanding our offering into premium foodservice outlets with our 4L and 10L formats for postmix and free pour tap solutions that allows in-house craft organic soda to be served for just 60 cents a serve and as such moves the profit from $1 to $5 a serve. Not to mention all the extra fridge and stock space, plus the hassle that comes with stacking and getting rid of unsightly bottles – and you’re giving the planet a break too! Being low sugar and organic, many people who would normally just drink water now consider soda with their meal.”
“So we have partnered new company who are about to roll out a range of tap and post mix options without all the hooks. The market has been screaming for this for some time now. It’s a significant game changer, as we’re essentially taking on Coca Cola and the other stalwarts with their post mix market domination.”