Who’s That Lady? DRY CEO and Founder, Sharelle Klaus

When we receive cold calls at DRY, we’re sometimes asked if they can speak to our founder and if they can leave him a message or get his email address. We can’t help but giggle a bit. It’s rare to find a female founder at a beverage company, but that’s exactly the situation here at DRY. Our founder and CEO, Sharelle Klaus, is a devoted mother, a wave maker, a loud laugher and an adventurer. 

What inspired a mom of four kids under the age of seven to enter the ultra competitive beverage  industry in 2005? Well, a lack of sophisticated non-alcoholic options, for one. This PacNW native wanted a flavor-forward beverage that could compete with a great glass of wine or a premium cocktail, so she decided to create it herself, starting in her own kitchen. In 2005, after several experiments with home carbonators, extracts, syrups, and brix levels, and with help from a few chefs and friends in F&B, Sharelle launched DRY in flavors that were both nostalgic and supremely interesting: Lavender, Lemongrass, Rhubarb and Kumquat.

Why those flavors, Sharelle?

“Oh, I love talking about flavors. I was really stuck on pairing chocolate with Lavender – and always loved the Lavender that grew in my back yard growing up – so that one was an instant favorite for me. Rhubarb is a complex flavor with lots of layers, like a great red wine. It can really stand up to a nice cut of red meat or barbecue. Lemongrass just paired really well with the asian-inspired cuisine that is so prevalent in Seattle and has this wonderful crisp taste. And with kumquat – I knew the bright citrus would be versatile, yet intriguing.”

A clean ingredient panel was always important to Sharelle. She didn’t have complicated ingredients in her kitchen when she created DRY, so there was never an opportunity for them to enter her recipes. She intentionally varied sweetness and acidity levels so each flavors’ unique characteristics shine through.

DRY initially was offered in some of the nation’s finest restaurants and then expanded to retail distribution very shortly after that. Over the years, DRY has grown and changed a bit. DRY Sparkling is now available throughout North America.

“I’m so grateful to the people in the industry that have supported DRY throughout the years, but especially thankful for our devoted fans. I appreciate these people who believe in something so different and unique – it’s a special person that goes to the store to buy a Lavender or Rhubarb DRY.”

Sharelle appears to be doing something right. This month, Parent Map Magazine featured Sharelle in a piece titled, “The Boss of Everyone,” which highlights parents who are also thriving entrepreneurs. She also tops Seattle Magazine’s 2015 F&B Essentials List, which debuted on news stands a few weeks ago.

This expansion and rapid growth means Sharelle is quite a busy gal, often traveling for work, but also for fun. She has a killer shoe collection and an even more impressive collection of stories from her adventures with chefs and her friends in the F&B world. Sharelle is based in Seattle, WA, where she lives with her four kids and her German Shepard, Lennox.