It all started in the most vibrant and eclectic of East London homes. The iconic Passing Clouds nightclub in Dalston – a hub of spoken word, reggae, gypsy swing and everything in between – was the birthplace of, well, Dalston’s.

It was there that founder and previous chef Duncan O’Brien started mashing and blending the first bottles of Dalston’s Cola by hand in a tiny kitchen to sell at the venue as its alternative to mainstream soft drinks.

“My time as a chef really informed both how we built Dalston’s and our approach to how we make drinks,” he says. “You should find the best ingredients you can, pay a lot of attention to sourcing and then present them in the best way possible.”

The company has come a long way since those first days hand-making cola to sell at Passing Clouds and is now stocked in stores, restaurants and pubs in the UK and even further afield.

The line-up

We produce two ranges of craft sodas. Our core range is a modern twist on classic known fizzy drinks only made better. These come packed with real ingredients, contain no junk and have a 1/3rd less sugar than the mainstream.

“We’ve always used less sugar than our competitors, simply because we felt it wasn’t necessary. The food and drink industry in general adds fat, sugar and salt to mask the use of cheap ingredients. If you simply use better quality materials that are less processed, you don’t have to add as much sugar to make your product taste good.”

Earlier in the year we launched a new range of Seltzers with flavours including ‘Real Squeezed Rhubarb’ and ‘Real Squeezed Elderflower’ which we like to call our ‘Light Sodas’ as they don’t contain any sugar, coming in at only 20 calories per can. We’ve made these using real fruit, distilled botanicals (natural flavourings) and British sparkling spring water. They punch great flavour whilst containing a super permissible low amount of calories.


Most recently we saw the launch of our brand new Sparkling water in a can. Single-use plastic is having a huge impact on our environment – According to the Greenpeace charity, ‘Right now an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic – everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbeads end up in our oceans each year. That’s a truck load of rubbish a minute.’

We’re committed to never introducing plastic into our product supply chain. We currently pack our entire drinks range into aluminium cans and cardboard multipacks which are arguably highly recyclable alternatives to single-use plastic bottles and shrink wraps.

Our can manufacturer, Ball Corporation’s sustainability manager points out that “beverage cans are the most recycled beverage container in the world. They are valuable material, easy to collect and sort and in the UK the recycling rate is already at 72%, with the majority of the cans (92%) being recycled either in the UK or Europe! A can recycled can be back on the shelf as a can in as quick as 8 weeks – this is true circular economy!”

The idea of packing sparkling water in a can was the next logical step for our product road map. Dalston’s sparkling water is undeniably the purest drink in our range, which already appeals to sugar-conscious consumers who are looking for a clean list of ingredients in the drinks that they buy.

Ours is soda with soul.