Soda Sense President Mike Nelson didn’t know just how popular sparkling water would become when one of his business partners, Brandon Lotto, approached him with an idea a few years ago.
Lotto was a big user of home carbonation machines but always had a hard time getting replacement canisters from stores. Searching for a solution, he turned to Nelson, who had spent his career in the mechanical industry, to see if he knew of a way to refill the canisters.
After some trial and error, the two eventually landed on the concept of centralized filling of canisters that ship to people’s homes. The process is simple and requires people to visit the Soda Sense website just once to sign up for the membership exchange. After that, they receive two canisters in the mail, which they then send back for replacements when they’re empty.
“People love it because you’re not getting bombarded (with reminders to order again). It’s an on-demand exchange, so it’s at every customer’s convenience,” Nelson says.
The startup couldn’t have come at a better time. Sparkling water sales grew an estimated 118 percent between 2013 and 2018, and the industry is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 11.8 percent between 2020 and 2027, according to Grandview Research.
That’s good news for Soda Sense, which has grown from two employees at its inception in 2019 to around 30 and recently moved into the former Shopko store location in Seymour. The company also launched its own home carbonation machine, the Soda Sensei, in November and plans to offer its own line of flavorings.
Nelson says Soda Sense offers a winning combination. “Environmental-wise and cost-wise, it’s cheaper for you to do it at home.”
— Jessica Thiel