SodaStream (NASDAQ: SODA ) sure doesn't seem to have any problems making new friends of late.
Back in February, for instance, the at-home carbonation specialist announced a deal with Samsung integrate its products into some of the Korean conglomerate's high-end refrigerators.
Then, in March, SodaStream followed up by unveiling the latest expansions to its flavor repertoire through deals with both Ocean Spray Cranberries and healthy energy-drink maker eBoost.
While those deals were all well and good, you have to admit SodaStream-enabled refrigerator sales weren't exactly the fastest way to accelerate the company's plans for ultimately penetrating at least 10% of the massive United States market. In addition, though the new flavors will serve to make SodaStream's product that much more appealing to the masses, they weren't exactly a game-changing development.
The biggest deal yet
And that, my Foolish friends, is where kitchen appliance king Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR ) comes in.
On Monday, SodaStream and Whirlpool announced a collaborative deal to introduce a KitchenAid-branded home carbonation system to consumers during the fourth quarter this year.
Of course, management from both companies extolled the virtues of the partnership, with Whirlpool CEO David Elliott suggesting consumers around the world will now be able to enjoy SodaStream's "best-in-class technology" combined with KitchenAid's "stylish design signature."
However, the comments from SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum highlighted just how much his company stands to gain from the deal:
Our unique platform will enable KitchenAid to provide its large and loyal consumer base with the many benefits of home carbonation. We look forward to leveraging the combined strengths of our two brands to advance the category and reach an even broader global audience. [Emphasis added.]
Fellow Fool Rick Munarriz already chimed in to point out the fact this looks an awful lot like the partnership Green Mountain Coffee Roasters inked a few years back to introduce Cuisinart-branded single-serve coffee brewers to the world.
More specifically, Green Mountain was not only able to ride a fresh wave of consumer acceptance on the well-established Cuisinart name, but also enjoyed increased K-Cup sales -- the blades to its brewer-razors, if you will -- since then as a direct result. Sure enough, since the Green Mountain partnership was launched back in May, 2010, it has helped Green Mountain investors en route to a more than 240% gain.
Similarly, this weeks' SodaStream-Whirlpool announcement should serve to push even more potential SodaStream customers off the fence and into the paying-consumer field. Better yet, SodaStream could care less whether people use a KitchenAid or SodaStream-branded carbonation machine, so long as they continue to boost its bread-and-butter through recurring syrup and CO2 refill sales.
Foolish final thoughts
And remember, SodaStream's already on a roll as gas refill revenue increased 101% year over year last quarter, while syrup unit sales grew an even more impressive 119%, so it's already apparent consumers are finally beginning to accept at-home carbonation as a viable alternative to traditional soda. In the end, any gains from Whirlpool should simply serve to run up the score.
As a result, despite concerns stemming from the fact that shares of SodaStream have more than doubled over the past year, I'm convinced now's not the time to let go of this promising up-and-coming business.
Tiny bubbles... big returns?
SodaStream's carbonation technology sounds simple, but this razor-and-blade company offers an intriguing opportunity for growth that could very well disrupt the soda industry. The Motley Fool's premium report on SodaStream explains the opportunities as well as the risks in the company. The report comes with a year's worth of updates, so just click here to get started.