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Dec 15, 2017

Distributors called her a “relentless bitch,” but Sharelle Klaus paid little mind to their insecurities. She was too busy building a business. Instead, Klaus, the founder and CEO of DRY Soda, a Seattle-based maker of premium carbonated soft drinks, wore the slur as a badge of honor. Standing at the forefront of the emerging craft soda segment since the launch of DRY in 2005, Klaus acknowledges that she is indeed relentless — and deeply passionate about her vision to deliver better soda to American consumers. “I have an expectation, and it has to get done,” she said in an interview included in this episode of Taste Radio. “In beverage, you’ve got to get that product on the shelf. It has to be executed correctly. I do demand a lot from everybody -- you just have to.” Beginning with DRY’s early days as a regional startup through its rise to a nationally distributed brand, Klaus shared war stories from the journey and revealed the one lesson she believes entrepreneurs need to learn if they intend to be successful. This episode also includes a lively chat with Russell Barnett, CMO of My/Mo, a fast-growing brand of mochi ice cream sweeping through freezers aisles across the U.S. Don’t miss Barnett’s explanation of why “marketing is never right; [just] varying degrees of wrong.” We also caught up with Max Baumann and BJ McCaslin, co-founders of Bear Squeeze, a brand of ketogenic meal shakes that triumphed in BevNET Live’s New Beverage Showdown 14. Rounding out the episode is the latest edition of Elevator Talk featuring Tugger Balcom, the founder of Sports Juice, a brand of organic, cold-pressed juices designed for athletes. Show notes: 1:09: Get a Life(style): All of the folks interviewed in this episode represent brands with a lifestyle component and engage with consumers beyond their core focus or function. The hosts discuss what makes for an effective lifestyle brand and how companies can best articulate their messaging. 6:27: Interview: Sharelle Klaus, Founder/CEO, Dry Soda -- In this interview, recorded from the Taste Radio studio at BevNET Live Winter 2017, Klaus shared her vision for the culinary-inspired soda brand and the impetus for its launch. She also discussed how she’s persevered through her dozen years in the beverage business and why she implores entrepreneurs to “not be afraid to look stupid.” 29:56: Interview: Russell Barnett, CMO, My/Mo -- In this interview with Project NOSH editor Carol Ortenberg, Barnett discussed the rapid emergence of My/Mo and why keeping the brand “weird and quirky... presents a really great opportunity for an experiential moment.” Barnett also shares lessons learned from his two decades as a marketing exec, which has included roles with Mike’s Hard Lemonade, PopChips and KeVita. 48:52: Interview: Max Baumann & BJ McCaslin, Co-Founders, Bear Squeeze -- Baumann and McCaslin joined us on the mics shortly after claiming the crown of New Beverage Showdown 14 and taking home the competition’s $10,000 prize. The pair discussed the company’s business strategy and McCaslin remarked on his second Showdown win, the first being with Coco Cafe in 2011. 59:53: Elevator Talk: Tugger Balcom, Founder, Sports Juice -- A semifinalist in New Beverage Showdown 14, we caught up with Balcom in Los Angeles a few weeks back when he joined us for this edition of Elevator Talk. Brands in this episode: Rockstar, Red Bull, Dry Soda, My/Mo, Bear Squeeze, Mixwell, Sports Juice For sponsorship opportunities, feedback and suggestions, contact