Charlestown Resident Revolutionizes Soda

February 23, 2012
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Charlestown’s Bill Creelman is the genius behind Spindrift sodas – which are absolutely absent of chemicals and artificial sweeteners.

Dextrose, maltodextrin, aspartame, sucralose…these are some ingredients typically used in artificial sweeteners you consume on a daily basis, whether it be the sugar you put in your morning coffee, or soda. The zero calorie label seems comforting, but it’s really a mask for hidden dangers of overeating and brain cancer that result from these fake sweeteners. To save you from the perilous “diet” sodas is healthy resident Bill Creelman, who prefers to keep it real with his all-natural beverage company, Spindrift Soda.   “I started with another beverage company before called Stirrings and fell in love with product development and simultaneously developed a pretty strong addiction to Diet Coke,” said Creelman. “When I left, I thought of how I could improve soda since they’re all made with syrups or concentrates. Even more modern sodas are still fundamentally based on the original process of highly processed product. We looked at things like Stevia, but I like to understand the label and I’m a little wary of some of those products.”Opting not to torture his body anymore, Creelman spent a year and a half experimenting with freshly squeezed juice, and it was through that process that Spindrift came to fruition.

The company name came from Creelman’s background of working in the fishing industry. “It’s the whitewash of a wave, and that spray is called spindrift. So when I was searching for something that kind of meant fresh and refreshing, I immediately thought of that.”

With a unique name, it’s only fitting that Creelman’s process is equally independent from anything else. Most sodas contain concentrated juice, which is juice that’s cooked for a long period of time, resulting in a syrup-like texture.

“The way I make my product is by squeezing fresh lemons, grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, and other fruits. Then they’re shipped in their natural state,” divulged Creelman. “I think the most unique thing about our product is that we can leave all the pulp in there, store and ship it cold,” he added. A real departure from other sodas, Spindrift is the first soda in America that is derived from fresh juice, which is no easy feat considering only three factories in America are committed to fresh squeezed method.

“I’m trying to pioneer this new, refreshing product. Sorelle’s is an amazing partner, they’ve been really supportive,” Creelman said. He also has accounts with the burrito chain Boloco, Flatbread Pizza in Somerville, Whole Foods, and Flower Bakery.

“At this early stage, it’s really for people who are focusing on fresh and local,” Creelman said. “We’ve gotten a lot of press because it’s such an unusual product. It’s a very difficult product to make, but, in general, people seem pretty excited.”

With his sodas ranging between 90-120 calories a bottle, made with only the purest and freshest of ingredients (purified water, fresh squeezed fruit or berry puree and a splash of cane juice),  Creelman’s audience has the right attitude. And the cost for doing your body good is only $2.29.

So what’s next for the bubbly soda pioneer? “I’m working on a sparkling Spindrift water with a squeeze of lemon or fresh strawberries,” Creelman said. “The soda category is so big between caffeinated and diet, our positioning is in fresh and flavor.”

Creelman tends to drink Spindrift seasonally, a lemonade or grapefruit in the summer, and cranberry or raspberry in the wintertime. “We’re trying to offer different alternatives for different times of year,” he said.

Spindrift has also proven to be a healthy gateway for sugar-hungry kids, even Creelman’s. “My kids are of the age we’re they’re aware of soda and have been asking if they can drink soda, and now the idea is to offer them something more wholesome. I don’t want to give them empty sweeteners,” Creelman said, whose three kids really enjoy the product.

And now residents of other states will be able to enjoy the budding product as well. “We are available in 15 states, so we’re definitely getting out there and exploring the West Coast as well,” said Creelman, whose one-man operation equals long days and limited breaks.

Despite his busy work schedule, Creelman is involved in the community and coaches soccer. “I bump into friends or parents, I’m sort of constantly bumping into people, and a lot of them give me constructive feedback on Spindrift. The community’s been very supportive,” said the 12-year resident.

“Charlestown’s a great place to do business, it’s central, and it’s got a real supportive community. And I think it’s got an industrial aspect that’s probably not as visible because they tend to happen at the far part of town. Charlestown is a good blend of the industrial side and the business side,” he added.

Before gearing up for production, which happens every two to four weeks at a factory in central Massachusetts, Creelman wanted people to know why they shouldn’t turn their back on fresh. “The most important thing is that it’s fresh and it’s very different in that sense. We’re trying to push the boundaries and trying to introduce real things to the soda experience.”