Is being sober boring or are the options limited? Robyn Simms and Ed Taylor have devoted their business, Square Root Soda, to give consumers a high qualtiy soft drink that doesn’t compromise flavour or experience. Founded in 2012, it has come a long way since being sold on local street markets. Over 3 million bottles have been produced to date and you can find the fizzy pop in around 800 on-trades venues in the UK, Italy, and France.
The freshest soda in all the land?
Have you ever wondered how seasonal fruits are available throughout the year? That’s what the dynamic duo at Square Root Soda thought. CEO Robyn Simms the co-and COO Ed Taylor explain that at Square Root Soda the mission is simple; make high-quality soda that people will love. They do this by only using whole fresh fruits and seasonal ingredients, creating extraordinary drinks with guaranteed quality and zero artificial additives. Unlike many other drink companies, Square Root takes control of production from start to finish. From juicing whole fruit to infusing raw ingredients and bottling up their flavours in-house at their very own East London Soda Works. Every drink is made by them, from fruit to bottle, with no shortcuts, no additives, and no compromises.
Working alongside trusted farmers, the company only buys fruit that is in season. This sometimes means that certain flavours are not available throughout the year, but for Robyn and Ed, this is a small sacrifice to make in order to provide exceptional quality that is good for the consumer, the suppliers, and the planet.
“It never tastes as good when you’re buying out of season beause it’s not natural.”
The Dynamic Duo
As a young female leader, Robyn is no stranger to overcoming hurdles in the business world. Whether it’s taking up space in a bar or finding her voice in a sector dominated by male noise, she knows what it takes to stand her ground and hopes to pave the way for other would-be business leaders like herself.
In the workplace, Robyn always looks to inspire the team to develop what really drives them either into their role at Square Root or into their own project. She is particularly proud to have had several past team members go on to start their own businesses.
Sober for 3 years and counting, Robyn wants to push the boundaries of what people expect a soft drink to be.
“I love experimenting with new flavours and through developing a close relationship with our suppliers, often get access to interesting and new ingredients to work with,” Robyn says.
In particular, Robyn is passionate about creating better choices for other sober people that have the same care and attention that alcholoic beverages recieve. Through this she is raising awareness of sobriety as a lifestyle choice for anyone.
In the last year, Robyn partnered with Millie Gooch of Sober Girl Society to reach out to the sober world online and find out what drinks people actually want to make available to them. The result of the project was an Alcohol-Free Mojito. This product is now the most successful drink that has been launched yet and Robyn couldn’t be more proud.
After graduating from UCL with a degree in Natural Science, Ed started in the drinks industry as an assistant in a microbrewery.
With an eye on the design aesthetic and innovation within the production machinery, Ed is the person whose task it is to drill down into the way the drinks are made at scale and on time to meet Robyn’s growth aspirations. “I’ve always loved making drinks and operating a soda factory obviously comes with its challenges but it’s something I find greatly motivating,” Ed says.
Ed started Square Root out of a desire to see better soft drink alternatives in the pubs and bars. Similar to Robyn, Ed firmly believes that non-drinkers deserve to have a range of drinks to choose from that have as much focus and attention to quality as their alcoholic counterparts. Too often, your choice is a sad glass of tonic water or lime and soda when going up to a bar.
“We’re personally driven to seeing that change!”
Making it work through Covid-19
Covid-19 meant that like many businesses, Square Root had to temporarily close as the team wasn’t able to work in-house. The doors shutting left 200,000 bottles abandonned and soon reaching their sell-by date. Fortunately for the company, they were able to redirect sales to their online store.
“We’re so happy to have already set up an online store so we just immediately put all of our energy behind that.”
The website helped shift the pending bottles and although the page needed some updating and rebranding, customers didn’t have to go too long without their favourite drinks as it was availble to order online.
Breaking into the American marktet
After a successful £1m fundraise, Ed and Robyn moved their Soda Works into a brand new dedicated production facility in February 2019, expanding their bottling capacity 17 times.
With 2.8 million bottles already sold, the business has continued to surpass its expected targets and demand continues to grow for the drinks. In spite of the current coronavirus pandemic, the pair are pushing ahead with ambitions to become the UK’s leading craft soft drinks manufacturer.
By 2022, the company is expected to double its returning gross profits of the last 3 years and hit £1m. How will they achieve this? With expansions into Norway and the USA on the horizon, Ed and Robyn hope to see their beloved soda for sale on “every street!”.