Where Some of Your Favorite Soft Drinks Were First Poured
The origins of these bubbly drinks may surprise you.
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Salisbury, North Carolina
Based in Salisbury, North Carolina, the Cheerwine Bottling Co. is the oldest continuously family-owned soft drink company in America. The cherry-flavored soda formula was developed in 1917 by L.D. Peeler and today, Cheerwine has reached icon status in the Tar Heel State where the high carbonation and sweet taste pairs well with everything from ice cream to barbecue.
Created by Atlanta pharmacist Dr. John S. Pemberton in 1886, Coca-Cola was originally touted as a cure-all tonic. The iconic script logo known around the world was modeled after the handwriting of Pemberton’s bookkeeper Frank M. Robinson, who is also credited with naming the beverage. Pemberton died just two years after creating what would later become the world’s bestselling sparkling beverage and sold the majority interest to Atlanta businessman Asa G. Candler.
If you’re from the state of Michigan you are probably very familiar with Faygo. In 1907, brothers Ben and Perry Feigenson were recent Russian immigrants to Detroit and started bottling various beverages including soda water. The brothers, who were also trained bakers, began tinkering with creating soft drinks based on their frosting flavors and Faygo was born.
The soft drink industry owes its success to Jacob Schweppe, who in 1783, invented the industrial process to capture and bottle bubbles (carbonation) in Geneva. Schweppe’s Soda Water was endorsed by doctors at the time and sold in pharmacies to treat various illnesses. The drink received a boost in 1836 from King William IV of England, who granted a warrant of appointment, which made Schweppes the official supplier of the UK Royal Family.
Beginning in 1885, Dr Pepper is the oldest of the major brand soft drinks in America and while the origins of the name are unknown, where the drink was first poured is not. Charles Alderton was a pharmacist working at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas, and he set out to create a new carbonated drink. After a lot of trial and error, he landed on a formula that patrons enjoyed and they started calling the drink a "Waco." Alderton would officially name the drink "Dr Pepper" with the period being dropped in the 1950s.
La Crosse, Wisconsin
When you see a can of LaCroix or even hear the name, you might assume the sparkling water brand is from France or maybe even the Caribbean island of St. Croix. The truth though is somewhat less exotic. The sparkling water is from La Crosse, Wisconsin, and the name combines its hometown with the St. Croix river. The drink has become a cult classic due to its unique all-natural flavors and is available across the United States.
We’re all familiar with the citrus flavor of Mountain Dew and even the brand's fun, action-packed commercials, but the origins of the beverage have nothing to do with soda at all. The phrase "mountain dew" was originally used as slang for mountain-brewed moonshine and in 1932, brothers Ally and Barney Hartman created a lemon-lime soda as a whiskey chaser in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda, aka 7Up, was created by Charles Leiper Grigg in St. Louis, Missouri in 1929. Grigg would officially shorten the name to 7Up in 1936 but it remains unclear as to what the name really means. One theory is that the beverage consists of seven ingredients and another suggests that 7Up will cure "mankind’s seven hangovers."
New Bern, North Carolina
Caleb Bradham developed his famous carbonated beverage in New Bern, North Carolina, in 1893 at his drug store on the corner of Middle and Pollock streets. Bradham combined sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg and other natural additives to create what he called, "Brad’s Drink." It wasn’t until 1898 that he changed the name to "Pepsi-Cola" and in 1902, he applied for a trademark and formed the first Pepsi-Cola Company.
Originally developed in West Germany by the Coca-Cola Company under the name Fanta Klare Zitrone, or "Clear Lemon Fanta," Sprite was released in the United States in 1961 to compete with another clear, lemon-lime soft drink called 7Up. Today, Sprite is one of the most popular soft drinks in the world and athletes like NBA star LeBron James often appear in commercials drinking the product.