Soda has long been a big part of our daily lives. Whether you love it or hate it, drink it or don’t, you are definitely familiar with various kooky commercials or soda trends. With apparel, live events and mass sponsorship, it seems that one can’t get away from good ‘ole soda pop. The truth is that the history of this fizzy beverage is quite odd and somewhat scandalous.
Soda was originally sold in pharmacies during the late 19th century as a cure-all for things like indigestion, impotence, anxiety, alcoholism, opium addictions and even scurvy. After the crown cap was developed in 1891 and the automatic glass blowing machine debuted in 1899, prices of soft drinks dropped drastically and were easier to get, which made the carbonated beverage truly flourish. Some of the earliest experimental flavors were dandelions, ginger, lemon, birch bark, coca and kola. Even today, interesting flavors can be found all over the globe. White Fungus Bird’s Nest from Vietnam, Grass Jelly from Malaysia, Black Garlic from Switzerland, Cucumber Soda and Salty Watermelon from Japan and Onion from South Korea are a few examples of what you can find to quench your curious thirst.
You may have noticed that in the United States alone, there are several terms for the fizzy drink. Depending on region, it can be called “pop,” “soda,” “coke” or even simply “soft drinks.” They are classified as soft drinks because alcohol is labeled hard drinks. In England they are called “fizzy drinks” and the Irish actually call them “minerals.” However, the universal term seems to be soda pop. The term “soda” is derived from the common mineral in natural springs, sodium, and “pop” was coined in 1812 in reference to the sound of a carbonated drink being opened.
The first soft drink ever created was in 1767 by a Swedish chemist named Joseph Priestly and German-Swiss jeweler, Jacob Schweppe, fine-tuned the process to create carbonated mineral water. He is considered the “father of soda” and soon after, companies started producing their own flavored versions of what we consider soda pop. These included Dr Pepper, Hire’s Root Beer, Moxie and Vernors Ginger Soda. What is interesting is that Dr Pepper is the only beverage today that isn’t classified as a soda. It is considered a “distinctly flavored drink” which allows it to be sold in both Coke and Pepsi soda fountains or vending machines.
Conversation Ice Breaker Factoid 1: Pepsi-Cola began in 1898 as “Brad’s Drink” after it’s creator, pharmacist Caleb Bradham.
Conversation Ice Breaker Factoid 2: People that worked at soda fountains were called “soda jerks” because of the jerking motion used to pump soda water.
and my personal favorite…
Conversation Ice Breaker Factoid 3: Pepsi’s most popular slogan, “Come Alive With Pepsi”, did not translate well in China. In Chinese it said ” Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From The Grave.”