For Soda Companies
This section of the site is for soda companies who want to know more about me and this program. It is also for viewers of the show so that they can see how I interact with soda companies, in the interest of full disclosure.
Would you like to send me a sample of your product? Please read this page. In short, most likely, I’d love to try it, as long as the expectations are clear.
My name is Patrick O’Keefe and I host Soda Tasting. I’m a big fan of soda. I also happen to own and operate a network of websites, have managed online communities since 2000, written a couple of books and am a public speaker.
Soda Tasting allows me to put my passions together and this is a really fun project for me. I originally had the idea for the show in 2006, but didn’t have the time or resources to launch it until 2012.
I love walking down the soda aisle. When I travel, it is fun to visit local grocery stores or unique markets to see what I can find that I either have never seen or can’t find near me.
How I Approach Reviewing Soda
Soda is a trivial topic and, while I have fun, I also take it seriously. As I mentioned above, I am a published author and my books have reached a lot of people, which means a lot of reviews of my books. I know what it is like to have your work reviewed and how some people can be unfair and/or cruel. That’s not what I am about.
What I am about is being fair and honest. It takes time and money to develop the products that I review and I believe that when you review something, you have a responsibility to consider it carefully. I discussed this on my “Why Do I Spit The Sodas That I Taste?” episode, which I’ll embed here.
I am guided only by my taste and that is what is reflected on Soda Tasting. What I love, someone else might think is disgusting. What I might dislike, might be someone else’s favorite soda. I might have companies that I am a fan of, but I am always guided by my taste.
It is worth noting that just because I gave something a low rating, that doesn’t mean my review necessarily hurts sales of the product. If I don’t like something, people want to try it to see if they agree with me or if it is “as bad” as I said. If it is a unique flavor, people just want to try it and don’t necessarily care what I think – but if I hadn’t reviewed it, they may not have heard of it. So even bad reviews can be beneficial.
How I Approach the Business of Soda
Part of what excites me about this show is how diverse the soda world is. There are small companies and big companies. Soda is produced in so many ways, with different ingredients and served up in different packaging. Very firmly, I believe in treating everyone the same.
I don’t care if you are small or large. I don’t care if you put your soda in glass or plastic. I don’t care if you use sugar or high fructose corn syrup. I will treat you the same and I am guided only by my taste. I try hard not to fall into the trap that, in my opinion, too many people fall into, which is thinking that just because something is rarer that means that it is better. I don’t care how rare or common it is, I am only guided by my taste.
My Rating Scale
I rate on a scale of 0 to 5 stars, in half star increments. It is an 11 point scale, so another way to think of it is 1 to 11. It’s a fluid scale that allows me flexibility, but generally speaking 0 to 1.5 are sodas that are unpleasant in taste, 2 to 3 are mediocre, 3.5 to 4 are good and 4.5 to 5 are great.
What to Expect if You Send Me a Sample
If I review the product, you can expect that I will be both fair and honest. That doesn’t mean I’ll like your product. In fact, I would suggest that there is a very good chance that I won’t really like it and that it will receive a mediocre or worse rating. Please expect that. I want to like it and hope I do, but I’ll know when I taste it and most sodas I rate tend to be in that 3 or lower camp.
Even if I don’t like your product, I hope that we can maintain a respectful, professional relationship as you never know where our paths might intersect. Maybe we’ll have reason to work together in some other context.
Disclosure of Samples and Other Relationships
When I am sent a sample that I review, I will always disclose to my viewers, at the start of the episode, that you have sent me the product for free. This is not only legally required but it is a good practice that ensures that viewers are properly informed about a conflict of interest. My opinion is still my opinion and that doesn’t change, but viewers must know that you sent me the product, so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to trust my review.
If I am involved with a brand in some other way (for example: they are advertising on this website), and I review their product, I will also do my very best to disclose those relationships up front, as well. These relationships will not impact my rating.
Please Send Me a Sample
With all of that out of the way, I love to receive samples because I love to try new products and because it saves me money. I also like being able to ask a representative at the company a question if I have one.
I ask that you contact me first just so that I can confirm for you that your product is one I’d review, so that you don’t waste any money or time. Some reasons why I might not want to review your product include: I have reviewed it before, it is a diet product (I tend not to review diet products just because I almost never like the way they taste, though I reserve the right to make exceptions) or it is not what is commonly considered to be a soda (for example: Minute Maid Lemonade and Perrier are not sodas, at least not in the context of this show).
Thank you for your time, interest and consideration. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.