SodaStream is the name of a brand of home carbonation systems that was invented by Guy Gilbey in 1903. Later versions allowed the addition of concentrates to create carbonated flavored beverages. It was popular in the 1970s and 1980s when there were a number of brand name syrups available, and, after the company merged with Soda-Club in 1998, it was relaunched with an emphasis on healthier drinks.
In the UK (where it was first sold) the SodaStream machine is strongly associated with late-1970s/early-1980s childhood nostalgia.
The SodaStream drinks maker is a device which can force carbon dioxide gas (stored under pressure in a cylinder) into water, making it fizzy. The product includes a machine, a carbon dioxide canister, and one or more reusable beverage bottles (suitable for pressurizing). The bottle filled with water is threaded onto the machine and after a button push, compressed CO2 from the canister is injected which creates sparkling water (known as seltzer too). Varieties of concentrated syrups are available, in order to create regular or diet soft drinks by adding a small amount of concentrate to the water bottle after carbonation. Once a canister is empty, it is returned to a supplier and a new canister is purchased.
By using the appropriate variety of concentrate, different flavours of soft drinkcan be created. Throughout its heydays, various popular brands were available under SodaStream concentrate like Tizer, Sunkist, Fanta,and Irn-Bru.
Milkstream was a variation on the SodaStream for making milkshakes, created by the same company. The ingredients (milk, ice cream and Crusha syrup) were mixed in a tall glass and inserted into the machine, so that the wand extended into the glass to froth up the shake.
The forerunner of the machine, the “Apparatus for aerating liquids”, was created in 1903 by Guy Hugh Gilbey of the London gin distillers, W & A Gilbey Ltd., and was sold to the upper classes (including the royal household). Flavored concentrates such as cherry ciderette and sarsaparilla, were introduced in the 1920s, along with commercial carbonation machines, and the first machine for home carbonation of drinks was produced in 1955. SodaStream was originally sold in the UK first, but later on it spread into other countries too, including New Zealand, Australia and Germany.
SodaStream machines were popular during the 1970s and 1980s in the UK, and are associated with nostalgia for that period. Their slogan, “Get busy with the fizzy”, started as an advertising jingle in 1979 and proved so popular that they added it to their logo. They finally dropped it in 1996 after 17 years.
While commercially successful, there was a general perception that some of the soft drinks produced by the machines were a poor approximation of their commercial counterparts. It is notable that, in addition to the slightly different flavours of the end result, the bubbles produced by SodaStreams are significantly larger and shorter-lived.