Back in the 1960s, there were no sports drinks, no energy drinks. But as the nation rocked with change, from dead presidents to munching hippies to racial tensions, we did have a burgeoning form of ice-cold refreshment — soda pop! Indeed, this list of soda from the 60s reads like a role call of extras in the drama that was that defined the tumultuous decade.
Introduced in 1886, Coca-Cola is the most well-known soda in the world, and one of the most recognizable products of any sort. It was sweetened with sugar (or fructose) until 1950, when Coca Cola began to switch from cane sugar to corn syrup due to the government subsidizing corn production.
Coke has battled Pepsi for decades for supremacy in the soda market.
Pepsi was introduced in 1895 by soda fountain operator Caleb Bradham. It is the second-most valuable soda brand, and has been a favorite of many celebrities over the years … or at least has paid enough to win their endorsements! Maybe most famous among those was Michael Jackson’s hair, which was infamously burst into flames during filming of a Pepsi commercial.
A&W Root Beer
A&W Root Beer debuted in 1919 and is one of the oldest soda brands in America. The company started out as a humble root beer stand, but became an international brand thanks to its signature frosty mug with the word “bar” on it (in case you forgot where you parked!).
At the soda fountain, root beer is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and has an intense roasted malt flavor. It’s one to sip slowly and savor!
Officially called “America’s Original Red Pop,” Moxie is most often associated as something that tastes like medicine. Moxie soda contains caffeine and was once advertised as a “nerve tonic.”
Originally developed in the 1940s by Tennessee beverage company PepsiCo, Mountain Dew soda is known for its citrus taste. The drink got its name from being marketed to mountain folk who spent their days on the job or out riding freight trains.
Introduced in the 1880s, Dr. Pepper soda originated in Texas before becoming a national drink. Since then, it has become one of the most popular sodas to enjoy because it tastes as though you’re drinking soda and eating fruit at the same time!
Royal Crown Cola
Royal Crown soda was first produced in 1905. Dubbed RC for short, one of the early primary appeals to this upstart was a lower price point then Coca-Cola syrup for drugstores and soda fountains, and Royal Crown remains a cheaper alternative to the big two — Coke and Pepsi — well over 100 years later.
Originally developed by chemist Neil C. Ward, Orange Crush soda was introduced in 1911 and had become a soda fountain staple by the 1960s. Though the original version included actual orange pulp (added in after the soda was made), the modern rendition is pure orange-sugar sticky goodness.
Introduced in 1963, Tab is the quintessential 1960s soda. It is a diet cola drink made by Coca-Cola, one of the first zero-calorie colas to hit the market. Sweetened with saccharin, Tab was notable for its harsh, bitter flavor and strong carbonation.
Looking to take a bite out of Pepsi’s market for Dr. Pepper, Coke introduced Chime soda in 1964. With a flavor that did indeed try to mimic Dr. Pepper’s, Chime was not an immediate hit but paved the way for the introduction of Mr. Pibb (originally called Peppo) in 1972.
This Pepsi product was marketed as “club soda with a twist of lemon.” Considering that Coke already had Sprite, maybe this was Pepsi’s way of trying to eat into the lemon-lime side of the soda market that also featured 7 Up. Although the can was artistic and even refreshing in its own right, Evervess had a fairly short life. As consolation, Pepsi bought 7 Up in 1986 before taking the brand through a series of mergers and spinoffs starting a couple years later.
(Like Soda from the 60s? Then you might like our article on Soda from the 90s, click here.)
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