October 18, 2021
We sent out our first newsletter on the weekend to let you all know what exactly we hope to achieve with Softer Drink. We're putting it here for posterity for any of you who missed out.
In the future we'll use the blog to for all our deep thoughts and we'll keep the newsletter a bit more perfunctory, shall we say? So opt in or out as you please, and watch this space for more of our Thoughts About Drinks.
Thanks for being with us as we kick off this channel of communication between we, Softer Specialty Drink Corp. aka Softer Drink, and you out there with curiosity enough for what we're up to to sign up for this newsletter.
We promise to keep it news focused going forward - we'd like this to be a newsletter in the traditional sense, updates between penpals and not just a flyer full of sales and promotions - so to start off, allow us to digress. Ultimately our intention is only to advance new opportunities for filling up your cup. Our cup. The collective cup. The basin of beverage in which we as a community bob and sink and swim.
Since we're among friends, we'd love to take this opportunity to fill you in on where we've been and where we're going. If you've been following along from the beginning, you may have wondered what's going on with an online store with first just one, then just two products.
You, keen drinker, may have noticed that there has been a flood to the market (the market being Instagram, the internet, “the United States”) of beautifully branded beverages in the last few years. Drinks promising all kinds of benefits, physical and emotional, drinks promising to be different from their predecessors in hundreds of different ways. Colourful cans are gracing the shelves of curated general stores and non-alcoholic bottle shops across the continent - but only some of them are making their way to us, over here in British Columbia.
While we’ve been watching the river of packaged products flow ever onwards, we’ve been lost in thought, asking ourselves, which of these entrants to the market is doing something special, and which are simply riding this amorphous drinks wave in a mask of pretty packaging?
Our observations led us to Casamara Club - the self-assured leisure sodas from Detroit. We love their easy-going invitation to leisure without alcohol, and commitment to balancing real flavours made from real plants. Making drinks out of real ingredients in a market that favours mass production and lab-engineered flavours is an exercise in swimming upstream. Plus they just straight up taste amazing.
We are thrilled to be able to sell these drinks - but part of the deal means we are also the BC wholesalers and distributors. So, our first few months of activity have been consumed with warehousing (inventory goes where??), distribution and logistics (oh, I guess we DO need a car), and getting these first drinks in front of a lot more faces than just our immediate neighbours.
Then came KUURA, a Melbourne-based company sourcing, blending and pressing small runs of tea, mostly of the pu er style, from Yunnan in China. Melbourne was where we were, drinking it all in, when the pandemic kicked off. We came home with a daily tea habit, and it’s been meaningful on many levels - there’s another too long story there, which elsewhere we hope to convey. We hope we can share the joy these enigmatic and comforting teas have given us with curious drinkers like you.
This whole “bringing drinks to BC that aren’t already here” project has been gratifying - so much so, heck, we just might do it again - but at last we're ready to turn our attention to where we've always intended for it to be: building out a bonafide actual store, like the kind that sells way more than just what they happen to have a dedicated warehouse full of. Ha ha!
Seeking realness in our drinking is as much a part of the movements in food and wine towards traceable farm ingredients, seasonality and sustainability. Whether we're looking to the future or casting our inquiries backwards, the underlying thread is always that A Better World is Possible.
Drinks are of course more than an ingredient with a process applied to it. They’re made by people, in political environments, and arrive to us in different ways, across different distances, through intermediaries. The increased consideration of this context in the worlds of coffee and wine, for example, inspires us to apply this level of care towards any drink we come across.
We've been swimming in it for a few months now, and with wholesale going steady (thank you Casamara Club connoisseurs of BC), we are branching out and flowing towards our final form: From wholesale we go retail, from retail we go real life store, from there we have visions of making and serving our own creations as cavistes and concocters of as yet unimagined co-mixtures…
But that's a further shore. For now, we simply assemble together a sturdy collection of what's really good, what's set to drive you wild and provide alternatives you didn't think you needed. And one day perhaps, we'll seat you at a linen-covered two-top, fold a crisped serviette for your lap, and feed you a five course tasting menu of beverage.
Catch us online with new inventory rolling out weekly, catch us in your driveway with a cargo van full of six packs and singles, keep an eye out for pop-ups all over. Without alcohol, nothing can stop us. Regulatorily we can do what we want and damn it, we will.
Check it out as it emerges and we hope to cheers you for real, real soon.
Jonathan and Andrea, Softer Drink
PS: This email is not Do Not Reply. Do Reply! We'd love to hear from you. What are you drinking, what would you rather be drinking, how does it make you *feel*?? Stay strong, stay hydrated, we're in this together. A better world is possible, and in the future, so are shorter newsletters.
March 18, 2022