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A Brief History About Canada Dry

Aug 21, 2007
In the soft drink industry there is much competition. But one soft drink, has really stood the test of time, and it isn't a cola. Canada Dry has been around for many years and supports a unique standard in the soft drink industry. Let's take a bried look at Canada Dry, and what its origins entail.

Dry is one of those basic English words that have been around long enough to acquire all sorts of meanings only tangentially related to their primary definition, which in the case of dry pretty much amounts to "not wet."

In a figurative sense, however, dry can mean, among other things, insensitive or unemotional, caustically witty ("dry humor"), barren or unfruitful, miserly, plain, unattractive, dull, stiff or overly formal, or, of course, very thirsty. Dry is even an American slang term applied to those locales that forbid the consumption or sale of alcohol.

A more pleasant sense of dry, dating back to at least 1700, is used among wine connoisseurs to mean "free from sweetness or fruity flavor," which in many wines is a desirable attribute.

Now, fast-forward to Canada in 1904, where Toronto pharmacist and entrepreneur John J. McLaughlin was searching for a winning soft-drink formula to add to his line of bottled soda water. Most ginger ales of the day were syrupy concoctions, dark in color and extremely sweet. McLaughlin was looking for something brighter and lighter, and after many experiments he finally perfected his dream beverage. In 1919 he began exporting it to New York City as Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale, and within a few years established his first American factory in Manhattan. While most carbonated beverages at that time were sold through corner drugstores, McLaughlin pioneered distribution at ball games, beaches, and anywhere people gathered.

By the 1920s, Canada Dry had been acquired by P. D. Saylor and Associates and was on the verge of becoming a nationwide brand in the United States.

Ironically, it was one of the other meanings of the word dry-prohibiting the sale of alcoholthat gave Canada Dry its biggest boost. Canada Dry Ginger Ale turned out to be just right for disguising the often raw taste of home-brewed alcohol and became the mixer of choice during Prohibition. By the 1930s, Canada Dry had added several other varieties to its line and was on its way to global success.

So the next time you are at a cocktail party, and are using Canada Dry in a drink, you'll have some trivia to add to the conversation. Cheers.
About the Author
Angela Abbette writes on a variety of subjects, including food and drink articles similar to the ones found at her favorite article directory.
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