When Sharelle Klaus, a mother with a craving for interesting nonalcoholic beverages, decided to launch DRY Soda from her Seattle living room, she didn’t want for ambition. “I made it my goal to redefine an industry, one unique flavor at a time,” she says of her venture, which uses only four, all-natural ingredients to produce a line of less-sweet sodas at just 45-70 calories a bottle. To get the message out, she decided to take her show on the road—literally—and she found just the right vehicle in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
“We’ve used our Sprinter as a central component of our Savor the Flavor Tasting Tour, which we developed to build brand awareness and introduce new customers to DRY,” she says. “The Sprinter has been an invaluable grassroots tool that has helped us get our brand out of the stores and into the community in order to engage with DRY fans, old and new.”
“The Sprinter projects an image of forward thinking, leadership, and innovation, and those qualities are definitely aligned with our business goals.”
Only Sprinter had what DRY Soda needed
To transform its 2010 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Model 2500 Cargo Van with 144-inch wheelbase into the DRY Soda Tasting Truck, the company did a full graphics wrap and added an awning and solar panels to the exterior. Inside, it installed a pop-out sampling bar for tastings, with a lighted backdrop, customized shelving to store cases of soda, and a heater and fans (powered by the solar panels) to keep the “DRYver” team comfortable.
“We initially looked at funky delivery trucks in the vein of the food truck movement, but we realized that nothing could measure up to the Sprinter in terms of upkeep, fuel efficiency, and customization opportunities,” Klaus says. “We’ve crisscrossed the country several times during the past year, fully loaded with cases of soda, pop-up tents, and other equipment, and we have been amazed at how comfortable the trips have been.”
DRY Soda gave away more than 20,000 samples in 12 cities at 71 community events and neighborhood stops last year, and the 2012 Savor the Flavor Tasting Tour will visit Portland, Oregon; Southern California; and Colorado. “The DRY brand is approachable, modern, and crisp,” Klaus says. “Our goal is to directly connect with our consumers through a variety of avenues—at events, in stores, via social media—and the Sprinter is the junction of all of those.”