Spindrift: Cranberry Raspberry

History: Remember when you were young and you’d make mom really mad? Remember that motherly rage? The kind of anger you wouldn’t even unleash on prison inmates? Well, Bill Creelman didn’t have a monster mom. But he did have one who did not care for soda. He hardly ever drank it. Bummer, I know. She was more of a farm-to-table gal. Creelman couldn’t enjoy all the little treasures you and I did. That might be why later in life, for six years, he became addicted to Diet Coke. Then with kids of his own, they took notice. Not so healthy, dad. So in 2010, the dude made his own soda… with a twist. It all started in a little studio-sized office in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Creelman felt the market was stagnant. He wanted to make a soda that was healthy enough to impress his mom and delicious enough to satisfy his kids. That’s why Spindrift soda is all about the ingredients, specifically the fresh-pressed juices in every bottle. The company isn’t afraid to spend more as long as what they put inside the bottle is of a higher quality. “That’s what sets Spindrift apart,” says company brand manager, Caitlin Burke. For example, in each bottle of Cranberry Raspberry, there’s 16 raspberries. Even for people who don’t wear plaid or shop exclusively at Whole Foods, that’s eye-raising. According to Burke, Spindrift tries “to remain faithful to the fruit.” They claim to be the first widely distributed soda to use fresh juice as the second main ingredient behind carbonated water. And listen, if you aren’t a soda manufacturer, you’re probably not aware how difficult it is to bottle soda with fresh juice. It’s essentially a chemistry nightmare. In Creelman’s own words, “It turned out to be a disaster…. I ended up spending 5x what I budgeted.” Sounds like every girl I’ve ever dated. Eventually, they got it right. Today the Boston, Massachusetts-based (they moved) company produces seven flavors of soda, if you include their new ginger beer. Even their name was chosen to evoke thoughts of freshness. Creelman used to work down on the docks and sailboats. That fine, refreshing mist you feel when out on the ocean; it’s called Spindrift. That’s a pretty solid pitch, so we decided to put it in our mouths.

Where to get: Spindrift is most popular around the Boston metro and surrounding area. But it’s also distributed nationally. To find the nearest retail location, use the Spindrift store locator. If you’re out of luck there, you can buy it online via Famous Foods.

Nose: Smells exactly like someone put a bowl of blue raspberry jolly ranchers down in front of your nose and then drizzled some raspberry jam on top. Definitely brings back childhood memories. I’ve got the tingles – we’re off to a good start.

Taste: Raspberry; tart carbonation; mellow cranberry; light sugar. Very light and refreshing. As expected with these two fruits, this is more tart than an average fruit soda, but it’s a mild tartness that doesn’t hinder the flavor profile. It actually adds to the taste. The two fruits really do shine through in the soda. Raspberry is upfront, initially sweet and then quickly retracting into a more reserved form. If you’ve ever blended raspberries for a smoothie and tried them before mixing with the other ingredients, that’s what the raspberry flavor in this is like. In short: fresh. As a whole, this is soda with noticeably less sugar. Looking at the label confirms this at only 16 grams a bottle. Normally, most sodas contain somewhere between 30-45 grams. The cranberry lingers on the back of the tongue after the initial raspberry blast. It’s much more subtle, yet noticeable. Raspberry is the flavor you’ll remember from this soda.

Finish: Ground raspberries with no sugar and a lingering tartness that comes from the cranberries.

Rating: As people become more self-aware of what they put in their bodies, the beverage industry continues to shift… or spin. Ahem, sorry. People want fresh ingredients. They want real ingredients. They want less sugar. But they don’t want to compromise flavor. This is a continuous challenge for bottlers to evolve with the times. Spindrift is at the forefront of this new natural movement when it comes to soda. While many new bottlers are popping up with these same aspirations, Spindrift is already doing it on a national level. I don’t often shop at Whole Foods and I’m not sure if they carry Spindrift, but you gotta think these sodas would be like porn to those people. You can taste the fruit in Spindrift’s Cranberry Raspberry soda. Hell, you can see it if you just shake up the bottle. Cranberry Raspberry is highlighted by a fresh, crushed raspberry base with mild tartness and followed up by cranberry with its own variety of tongue tingles. Some may long for more cranberry flavor and others may not love the amount of acidity in this, but we’re talking about two fairly tart fruits. What’d you expect, ya weirdo? I thought this would be more like a spritzer or a fresh fruit-infused sparkling water, but I was wrong. I’ll break it down. It’s tart, but not sour. Light, but has enough sugar to keep you comfortable with calling it a soda. And natural, but not too pompous. This is perfect for the hot summer months out by the pool and crisp enough to compliment a hefty meal. If you’re into good fruit sodas, you’ll enjoy this. If you’re not into fruit, you won’t, and I also wouldn’t recommend vacationing in the tropics. Raspberry is often used as a secondary flavor in soda. It’s nice to see someone pull it off in a staring role.

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