If there was a product that I would have bought 10 years ago, but maybe not now, SodaStream would be that product.
Making my own soft drinks sounded like a magical experience back when I drank a lot of pop. Carrying 2-liter bottles is a drag, plus you have to drink it fast enough to not lose the fizz. And I could make smaller amounts, so I wouldn't have to worry about the 2-liter bottles in transit or taking up space in the refrigerator.
The problem then and now is that while you can make your own carbonated water, you need outside help to make your own soft drinks. When the product first came out, I read the label on the syrups: high-fructose corn syrup. Oh well, that wasn't going to work.
In anticipation of the Super Bowl ad, and since I ran across the product in a store, I read the label for the syrups. They were clear that the syrups contained no high-fructose corn syrup. This was a positive sign.
Unfortunately, the regular syrups I saw had sucralose and acesulfame potassium (ace K), both artificial sweeteners. That's right. The regular versions, not diet, contained diet sweeteners. If you don't like diet drinks because of the taste of diet sweeteners, why would you drink them in a regular soda?
So without viable syrups, and no way to purchase, let's say, the Dublin Dr. Pepper syrup, why would I buy a SodaStream?
I reached out to two friends who admitted that they had a SodaStream and asked them what they did for the syrups. Both of them said they use the device for carbonated water. Good for them; bad for me.
For those who drink coffee, you know the joys of adding more coffee to make the brew stronger or using less to make a weaker coffee. When I use the soup mix to make an onion dip, I use half of the yogurt to get a stronger taste.
My late father told the story of being a soda jerk as a teenager in Alabama at a time when you could set the syrup level where you wanted before you added the carbonated water. Wanted a stronger Coca-Cola or a Dr. Pepper, you could make that magic happen.
Soon after, the mixture of syrup and carbonated water was set by the manufacturer and you were stuck with that combination. At least back then, you got sugar in your regular soft drink. Now with more drinks coming in mixtures of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup along with artificial sweeteners, you have less control than ever before.
More than I've wanted a Dublin Dr. Pepper or a time machine is the ability to make my own strength controlled Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, 7UP, and root beer. Making that in a refillable bottle that isn't too big that I could do on my own — that is a fantasy. The good news is that SodaStream can make most of that dream come true. The bad news is that getting the syrup — the syrup I want — is virtually impossible.