KENOSHA -- Forget the valves and the messy syrup bags, soda fountains are now going high-tech! University of Wisconsin-Parkside is the first Wisconsin school to host this new “fountain of the future.”
Called "Coca-Cola freestyle," it offers more than 100 varieties of flavored sodas, sports drinks and water - including 70 calorie-free, sugar-free options.
Using touch-screen technology, you can choose your beverage, make it caffeine-free and add flavors, like lime, raspberry, vanilla, orange or cherry. The flavors can also mix and match.
“Everything is loaded by cartridges, kind of what you see as an ink cartridge for your printer. The flavors are loaded into the bottom of the machine and it's no longer all of the messy bag in the box that you would see previously,” said Angela Jensen, general manager of Sodexo, a contracted food service.
The fountain has only been up for a few days at the school’s Student Center, and already, it’ become a hit with students.
“It's enjoyable. It's great to have more than a select few options and we have 104 options. My goal is to try to get every option before the year is over,” said senior Dugan Luttenberger.
“When I saw the soda machines, I was like, ‘Ooo fancy!’” said junior Elizabeth Corey. “I love Mellow Yellow peach. It's kind of like a new flavor I've never had before,” said junior Elizabeth Corey.
Right now, you can only find the "Coca-Cola Freestyle" at two other locations in Wisconsin. They are at the Milwaukee and Madison Wing-Stop restaurants.
There are more than 2,100 nationwide in 43 states.