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Sparkling Drink Systems bids to take the fizz out of Keurig Cold

Sparkling Drinks Systems - Innovation Center is also planning to introduce a carbonated beverage maker sans CO2 cartridges this year.

SDS-IC really wants us to know that it had this idea first. Screenshot taken from the Sparkling Drinks Systems - Innovation Center Web site

Earlier this year Coca-Cola and Keurig announced a partnership for Keurig Cold, a CO2 cartridge-free carbonated drink maker expected in stores later this year. Around the same time, a company called Sparkling Drinks Systems - Innovation Center (SDS-IC) said it has been developing its own at-home carbonated beverage tech since November 2007, one that also doesn't require CO2 cartridges. With backing from Paris-based company Initiative & Finance SDS-IC plans to unveil six products related to DIY carbonated drinks in the second half of 2014.

SDS-IC's home page is emblazoned with the words, "Sorry Coke and Keurig, we got there first!" I'm guessing that SDS-IC was pretty surprised to see well-known brands like Coke and Keurig join forces in the at-home carbonated beverage game. Now, it's trying to come out ahead by planting a flag on the whole carbonated beverage space. But regardless of who developed the tech first, both companies seem to be offering an intriguing alternative to what is currently available in the make-your-own-soda market.

Up until now, SodaStream has been the leader in homemade sodas. They have partnerships with well-known brands like Country Time, Crystal Light, Kool-Aid, and Ocean Spray, but its machines rely on CO2 cartridges to carbonate its drinks. There are a couple of drawbacks to the CO2 cartridge solution. SodaStream's own Web site offers the following warning: "SodaStream carbonators, whether used or full, are considered hazardous material by the US Department of Transportation and are subject to special handling rules. UPS and FedEx will not pick up hazardous material (used carbonators) from residences, nor will they accept them at UPS or FedEx stores or drop-off locations. PLEASE NOTE that this decision has no bearing on your ability to exchange carbonators at any SodaStream CO2 exchange retail locations. And, you can still order spare carbonators delivered to your home." Hm.

So, not only is it a bit of a challenge to get CO2 cartridges, you also have to follow special instructions to handle them. For the benefit of freshly made soda, some folks may not feel incredibly inconvenienced by that. But if SDS-IC and Keurig Cool have figured out a better way, SodaStream may lose a lot of fans. SDS-IC hasn't revealed much about its upcoming products, but it does say that pods will be used to create the carbonation rather than CO2 cartridges. Expect to learn more soon, since the company says it will debut its new drink system at next week's International Home and Housewares show in Chicago.