The Clearly Canadian Crowdfunded Comeback Is Not Going Well
The soda is not in the mail
Over two years ago, on March 18, 2015, Clearly Canadian—the flavored sparkling water brand that was a staple of ‘90s culture—announced it was going back into production. The journey back wasn’t easy: After acquiring the defunct brand, venture capitalist Robert R Kahn spent over a year running a crowdsourcing campaign asking fans to put their money where their nostalgia was and pre-order cases of the soda. Once 25,000 cases were sold, he would have enough capital to bring the beverage back to life, he promised. But though Clearly Canadian lovers held up their end of the bargain, the sparkling water company has not: Many orders have still not shipped, and customers left with nothing but nostalgia for their money are not pleased.
Despite a website that reads “NOW AVAILABLE!” and encourages customers to “order now,” as Consumerist continues to report (kudos to the site for diligently staying on top of this fiasco), the diehard fans who actually ponied up the dough to help see the brand revived continue to ask about unfilled orders. In February of last year, the Clearly Canadian team pleaded with everyone to “Please keep positive.” By July, the company had kicked the can (or in this case, the bottles) down the road until “August through September.” Needless to say, patience is wearing thin for those who haven’t chosen to give up hope entirely.
“Any chance you will ever send me the Clearly Canadian I paid for nearly 2 years ago?” one angry customer posted on Clearly Canadian’s Facebook page just yesterday. “This is unacceptable! I’m extremely disappointed in your company. A company I backed so that you could get your product out!” Astonishingly, someone at the brand saw it fit to include in their reply, “You backed a grassroots community - we are still not much of a ‘company,’” as if incorrectly parsing words would make the situation any better. For the record, the Clearly Canadian website clearly states, “Copyright 2017 © Clearly Food & Beverage Company, Ltd.”
In another mind-boggling Facebook response from last week, a customer who says he placed his order in July 2014 and was charged in September 2015 was told by someone from Clearly Canadian, “we have not shipped anything since early Jan - - next batch hopefully coming soon - freezing weather is now over- and trying to circle up the $$$ to finish this off.” Doesn’t everyone know that the entire country of Canada shuts down during February? That’s a fact, right?
Pushed for an actual explanation on what’s going on, Clearly Canadian told Consumerist, “Our delay in shipping the remaining orders is entirely due to our low cash on hand which itself is directly a result of the November 2015 Vancouver plant shutdown that set us back one full year.” The company spokesperson continued, “We are hopeful to have all remaining product shipped the moment we have the available financing to do so—and don’t expect it to be all that much longer.”
It’s worth noting that, yes, some people have gotten their cases shipped to them, so though I’m sure it’s hard for customers to keep their hopes up, all isn’t necessarily lost yet: Clearly Canadian may well still fulfill its promise to backers. Still, this whole ordeal has certainly sullied the reputation of the brand, which might be the saddest part of all. That untarnished nostalgia was the best thing the soda had going for it.
This story originally appeared on Foodandwine.com.