The first non-fizzy soft drinks appeared in the 17th century. They were fairly basic and made from water, lemon juice and honey. Lemonade was sold in France in 1676 and was carried on the backs of vendors to sell to thirsty members of the public. Nearly a hundred years later, the first drinkable carbonated water drink was made by Joseph Priestley. Three years later in Sweden, a generating apparatus was invented which carbonated water using chalk and sulfuric acid. This apparatus meant that large amounts of imitation mineral water could be produced.
In 1810 in the US this same method was being used but carbonated drinks didn’t become very popular until 1832 when John Mathews sold his apparatus design to soda fountain owners.A soda fountain is a device that dispenses carbonated drinks and can be found in restaurants and stores. Carbonated mineral water was seen as a healthy choice and chemists added flavoured herbs to the drinks. Soda fountains found in pharmacies are believed to the start of the fizzy drink culture.
Many of the most popular soda drinks around today would have started life as medicinal beverages in a pharmacy. They were said to help cure indigestion, impotence and headaches. Dr Pepper is the oldest surviving soft drink which was first touted as an energy drink and a brain tonic. Originally sold at a drug store in Waco, Texas by pharmacist Charles Alderton in 1885, it was introduced to the nation at the World Fair of 1904.
1886 saw John Pemberton invent Coca-Cola and the urban myth about cocaine is true. For the first seventeen years of it’s production, it did indeed contain cocaine! The drug was removed in 1903 due to the now well known effects of it.
The first patent was issued in 1899 for a glass blowing machine which could lead to the mass production of glass bottles for carbonated drinks. In just a few years the production had increased from 1500 a day to 57000. Automatic vending machines appeared in the 1920’s, dispensing drinks into cups and drinks machines remain extremely popular today. For commercial bottle coolers, visit https://fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/commercial-bottle-coolers/double-door-under-counter-bottle-coolers.
In the US it is estimated that carbonated soft drinks are the most consumed beverage and each person drinks an average of 44.7 gallons a year. That’s big business! So what are the best selling soft drinks in the world today?
- Coca Cola
- Diet Coke
- Mountain Dew
- Dr Pepper
- Diet Pepsi
- Diet Mountain Dew
- Diet Dr Pepper
So have these soft drinks retained any of their health boosting qualities? Some are being marketed as ‘sparkling’ as opposed to fizzy as this implies a healthier option. Drinks are now being sold as caffeine free, no calories and are being laced with vitamins and minerals. However, does this imply that were pretty bad for us before these changes were made? Maybe they are simply being made to appear ‘healthy looking’. Experts do agree though that there is nothing wrong with carbonated soft drinks taken in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
Packed full of sugar, regular soft drinks have been blamed for the rise in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay. Given the calorie and sugar content, maybe we should stick to the diet varieties or alternatively enjoy a cold, refreshing bottle of mineral water or water with lemon for added flavour. What started out as carbonated water with herbs or medicine, has over the years turned into a sugary, fattening sweet treat with questionable health benefits.