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The Fascinating History of SodaStream

Old soda bottles

Lately there’s been a lot of buzz about the sleek new home carbonation machines SodaStream has come out with, but how much do you really know about SodaStream?

Odds are you know that it’s an easy, cost-effective way to make soda at home. You’ve probably even heard that SodaStream drinks are a healthier alternative to commercial sodas and that making your own flavors is pretty simple.

But what do you actually know about the SodaStream machine you’re thinking about buying?

It turns out that the SodaStream machine actually has a pretty long history and in some countries—particularly in Sweden—these machines have been popular for decades. Almost 20% of all Swedish homes have a SodaStream machine.

Knowing the history of your SodaStream machine won’t impact how well it works or make it easier to use, but it’s a story worth knowing.

When Did Home Carbonation Start?

Since some mineral water is naturally carbonated, we can assume that people have been drinking fizzy water for about as long as there have been people. People have also been using yeast to carbonate beer and wine for centuries. The first man-made carbonated drink was created by Joseph Priestley in 1767, but it would be many years before carbonation could happen at home.

When you think about SodaStreams you might think about homemade ginger ale, but the first home carbonation machine was actually invented by  Guy Hugh Gilbey of W & A Gilbey Ltd. in 1903 to create a carbonated drink his guests could enjoy with their gin. It was a large and unwieldy machine, mostly installed in state homes. One of the earliest home carbonation machines was installed in Buckingham palace.

Flavoured concentrates, like the ones you use to make soda in your own SodaStream machine, didn’t come around until the 1920’s.

When Carbonation Came to Regular Homes

The first home-carbonation machine that actually fit in a regular home and didn’t cost a fortune was invented in 1955. The SodaStream began in the UK and spread throughout Europe.

During the 70’s and 80’s the SodaStream machine achieved popularity all throughout the industrialized world. Many of today’s adults fondly remember making their own soda at a friend’s house or when visiting relatives. This era also came with a jingle, “Get Busy with the Fizzy” which became so well known it was at one point part of the SodaStream logo. This slogan would be dropped in 1996 only to be restored in 2010.

How SodaStream Developed

Originally the SodaStream was a subsidiary of W & A Gilbey Ltd. Since its creation the company has changed hands many times, at one point even becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Cadbury Schweppes. The company continued to operate as an autonomous corporate body throughout this time.

In 1998 SodaStream was bought out by Soda Club, an Israeli company founded by Peter Wiseburgh in 1991. In 2003 they closed their Peterborough location and moved all manufacturing to Israel, the current home base of all SodaStream operations.

The Recent Years

In 2007 Daniel Birnbaum took over as CEO of SodaStream. He relaunched the brand in many different markets, created new machines and many new flavors, distributing them to 41 countries around the world.

The SodaStream Source line was created in 2012 to be particularly energy efficient as environmental concerns grow more pressing. These machines earned the Good Housekeeping Institute seal of approval in 2013, which helped boost their popularity as people become more concerned about their individual impact on the environment.

As SodaStream regained popularity over the last few years they’ve been purchased by all kinds of homeowners and many mixologists. While mixologists originally loved them because purchasing a SodaStream prevented them from ever running out of soda water, they’ve started doing all kinds of SodaStream experiments. Which means there are now many different recipes for alcoholic beverages created with the help of a SodaStream machine—and even more recipes for non-alcoholic beverages—all within reach of anyone who has an internet connection.

SodaStream also became a publicly traded company during these years, making its first appearance on the Nasdaq stock exchange in 2010. So far it’s done well on the exchange and will likely continue doing so for years to come as more people make the shift to homemade soda.

In 2012 Cuisinart came out with a similar machine, and Hamilton Beach followed suit with their own home carbonation device in 2013. Still, SodaStream remains the most popular—and most trusted—brand of home carbonation devices. That trend isn’t likely to reverse anytime soon.

Conclusion

Home carbonation machines have come a long way since the first one was invented back in 1903. You no longer have to be rich to enjoy homemade soda. You don’t even need to have a lot of counter space, as the new SodaStream machines are sleek and fit pretty much anywhere.

What will the next generation of SodaStreams look like? It’s hard to tell, but one thing’s for sure: these home carbonation machines are here to stay.

3 comments… add one
  • 8675309

    While not entirely aimed at the consumer market the Siemens/coca-cola breakmate is yet another propriety carbonator but alot better then the Keurig kold in terms of syrup costs to consumers

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