The Origins Of Soft Drinks


They go by many names: soda, pop, fizzy drinks, cola. Let's discover the birthplaces of the world favourite soft drinks.

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Updated 3 years ago

Mill Hill Chapel

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Leeds, United Kingdom • Wishlist • 

It might seem strange that all soft drinks can be traced back to a chapel in Leeds, England. But it was here in 1767 that Joseph Priestley, theologian and chemist became the resident minister. While waiting for the minister’s house to be renovated, he took lodgings in Meadow Lane, close to a brewery. Experimenting with the “fixed air” emitted by the fermenting beer, he found a way to infuse the carbon dioxide into water by suspending a bowl above a vat of beer. He wrote he had a "peculiar satisfaction" while drinking his carbonated water.

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Blida, Algeria • Wishlist • 

Jean-Claude Beton was a businessman from Boufarik, French Algeria. In 1935 his father Léon acquired the recipe for a little known orange drink called Naranjina from a Spanish pharmacist. The Betons improved the recipe adding sparkling water and changing flavourings, and renamed it Orangina. After World War II, the drink became popular around French North Africa, using oranges grown around Boufarik, and later Orangina took off in Metropolitan France and around the world.

  • Boufarik, Algeria

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Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute

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Waco, United States • Wishlist • 

Charles Alderton was a pharmacist from Brooklyn who formulated a new soft drink while working at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. Patrons would originally order a “Waco”, but the owner of the store Wade Morrison supposedly decided to name it Dr. Pepper after his friend Dr Charles Pepper. While the Old Corner Drug store was the victim of the 1953 tornados, a recreation can be seen at the Dr Pepper Museum.

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Birthplace of Pepsi Cola

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Wilmington, United States • Wishlist • 

Caleb Bradham was forced to drop out from the University of Maryland School of Medicine when his father’s business went bankrupt. Returning to his native North Carolina he opened a drugstore in New Bern, NC which also housed a soda fountain. In 1893 he invented a blend of kola nut extract, vanilla, and "rare oils" and called it “Brad’s Drink”. Five years later he came up with a new name, based on the fact he thought his drink helped with digestion like the enzyme pepsin - “Pepsi Cola”.

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12 Marietta St NW

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Atlanta, United States • Wishlist • 

John Pemberton was wounded in the American Civil war and became addicted to morphine, attempted to try to find a substitute. In 1885 he developed a drink called Pemberton's French Wine Coca nerve tonic, but prohibition led to the removal of the alcohol to create "Coca-Cola: The temperance drink”, the first glass of which was sold at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia in 1886. Pemberton claimed it could cure morphine addiction, indigestion, nerve disorders, headaches, and impotence. The pharmacy no longer stands, but a historical marker marks the spot.

  • 12 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA

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UF College of Medicine

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Gainesville, United States • Wishlist • 

In 1965 the University of Florida football coach Ray Graves requested help from his colleagues at the  University of Florida College of Medicine to create a drink which would help his athletes replenish the body fluids they lost during games. A team of scientists blended water, salts, phosphates and lemon juice to create a drink which they named after the team, the Florida Gators. After the team won the 1967 Orange bowl, Gatorade became well known in the sports community.

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Place de Longemalle

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Genève, Switzerland • Wishlist • 

While Priestley had discovered the process of carbonation, it was German-Swiss watchmaker Johann Jacob Schweppe who perfected the process to create bottled carbonated mineral water. He joined forces with a chemist Henri-Albert Gosse who worked at the Place Longemalle in Geneva to create a company called Schweppes in 1783 for creating carbonated mineral water, before moving to London to commercialise the business nine years later.

  • Place de Longemalle, 1204 Genève, Switzerland

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The Bundaberg Barrel

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Brisbane, Australia • Wishlist • 

Take a road trip around Australia and the long stretches of desert highway will occasionally be enlivened by an encounter with one of Australia's so-called big things such as the big banana, big lobster or big pineapple. Should you visit the town of Bundaberg you will encounter the big barrel home to the Bundaberg ginger beer empire. A family owned business set up in 1960 which now exports its fizzy concoctions around the world, the barrel houses a interpretive center.

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Giant Lemon & Paeroa Bottle

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Tauranga, New Zealand • Wishlist • 

The high mineral content in the water around the town of Paeroa in New Zealand has meant that the town has been a source for carbonated water since the early 20th century. it's most famous for being one of the ingredients for the beverage L&P with the L standing for lemon. Not well known outside its native country, it is jokingly advertised as "world-famous in New Zealand". The company was bought out by Coca-Cola and L&P is now made in a bottling plant in Auckland, but if you visit the town of Paeroa you can still see a giant L&P bottle celebrating the town's famous product.

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Applethwaite Farm (Pty) Ltd

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Paarl, South Africa • Wishlist • 

The Elgin valley in Western Cape, South Africa is a lush area of land well known for producing apples. The French-Italian immigrant Edmond Lombardi had the idea to create a new beverage by combining apple juice with carbonated water which he called Appletiser.

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