Americans drink 13 billion gallons of soft drinks every year. But until the latter half of the 1800s, selection was limited. The usual suspects for soda flavors were cola, orange, grape, root beer, strawberry, and lemon-lime.
Oh, how times have changed! Some of the beverages listed below are still being produced, while others are now only available in the big soda fountain in the sky.
This was a cola product made for "Halloween fans of all ages" by Transylvania Imports. Yes, you can still find it and, no, it isn't blood-flavored. DraCola is an ordinary cola-flavored beverage.
Cherry red with a fruit punch flavor, this discontinued soda featured a different quote from a famous screen siren (such as Mae West) on every bottle. In addition, Aphrodite's suggestive slogan was "Get Some Tonight." This soda came onto the scene in 2002 and only lasted a few years.
3. OK Soda
This soda had a forgettable taste but a legendary marketing campaign. Aimed at the too-cool-for-everything Generation X in the early 1990s, OK Soda purposely employed minimalist art and negative advertising to sell the drink. The Gen Xers didn't buy into the hype or the soda -- which was a pretty run-of-the-mill, cola-flavored beverage -- and OK was soon a thing of the past.
4. Celo Polka Cola
Created by the Sauk City, Wisconsin, Celo Bottling Company, Celo Polka Cola was presented to the world in 1991 to promote polka music and dancing. The jury's still out as to whether or not that worked, but you can order this cola-flavored beverage online and decide for yourself.
5. Whooppee Soda
"The Bottled Joy," a ginger ale-flavored soda, featured the innovative "Tilt-Top Cap." The best thing about this early-20th-century soda was a contest offered by the company. Up to $500 in prizes were awarded to the 24 best letters in which consumers described their "saddest, most injurious or embarrassing experience in taking off the . . . bottle crown cap."
6. Dr. Enuf
Since 1949, the Tri-City Beverage Corporation has been bottling this "vitamin-enriched lemon-lime soft drink" invented by Charles Gordon. Back in the day, Dr. Enuf was said to relieve people's "untold misery" from aches and pains, stomach disturbances, and general malaise. Dr. Enuf is still available from the manufacturer but doesn't appear on most supermarket shelves.
Our list of obscure brands of soda pop continues on the next page with Leninade.
Obscure Soda Pop Brands, 7-17
From Hemp Soda to Pickle Juice "Sport," the remaining items on our list of obscure soda pop brands truly run the gamut.
With slogans like, "A taste worth standing in line for," and "A drink for the masses!" you can guess that there's some humor behind this "Simple Soviet Style Soda." Produced by the Lenin Company, the fruity taste pleased communists and noncommunists alike -- so much so that you can still find it online.
8. Hemp Soda
Ah, the mid-1990s, when alternative music actually meant something and everyone was discovering hemp-based products. This "herbal" soda was produced in 1996 and featured a large hemp leaf on the can. The beverage can still be ordered online from the manufacturer "Designer Food."
9. Nesbitt's Orange Soda
The Nesbitt Orange Soda Company was founded in 1938 in Los Angeles and produced its famous beverage for 40 years. Real orange zest settles to the bottom of this classic orange soda that is still available online and in some stores.
10. Brain Wash Blue
If you have trouble placing the flavor of this soda, don't feel too bad. Jalape-o oil doesn't go into many mainstream beverages, which is perhaps why this small batch soda, courtesy of Skeleteens, hasn't hit it big. If you dare give it a try, it's available online.
11. Tab Clear
If you blinked in 1993, you missed Tab Clear. The Coca-Cola Company tried to hop on the clear-cola bandwagon, (remember Crystal Pepsi?) but less than a year after its introduction, Tab Clear was pulled. Original Tab is still going strong.
12. Flathead Lake Monster
The North American Beverage Company developed this line of boutique sodas and named them for a monster said to live in Flathead Lake, Montana. Flavors include Huckleberry and Wild White Grape, among others. Limited distribution has kept these sodas obscure, though the beverages have a solid fan base.
13. Gay Energy Cola Drink
In the never-ending quest to zero in on and exhaust the consumer habits of a particular demographic, POWER Drinks, S.L. produced this energy drink several years ago. If you find a can of this beverage, you should keep it as a collector's item -- they don't make it anymore.
14. Pickle Juice "Sport"
This soda, conceived by Golden Beverages, Inc., isn't just the same color as pickle juice, it actually tastes like pickle juice, too. Carbonated pickle juice that is. Neither the Original Flavor nor the Sport flavor has sold well, and therefore, Pickle Juice is not easy to find in stores, but it is available online.
The folks at Clearly Canadian were so successful with their flavored sparkling water that they decided to take a risk. Possibly inspired by bubble teas found in Japan, Orbitz drinks featured gelatin balls floating in semi-colloidal, fruit-flavored water. Orbitz resembled a lava lamp and tasted like something you immediately never wanted to taste again.
16. Nuky Rose Soda
This light pink soda from the Florida-based Nuky Corporation smells and tastes like perfume. After all, it's made from rose petals.
17. Abali "Yogurt Original Flavor" Soda
Carbonated dairy products might be obscure to the Western world, but yogurt sodas are very popular in the Middle East, especially in Iran and Afghanistan. Most yogurt sodas are naturally carbonated, due to the magic of fermentation.
Helen Davies, Marjorie Dorfman, Mary Fons, Deborah Hawkins, Martin Hintz, Linnea Lundgren, David Priess, Julia Clark Robinson, Paul Seaburn, Heidi Stevens, and Steve Theunissen