The Best Soda from the 70s: A Sip of Nostalgia

What comes to mind, when you think of the 1970s? Watergate? Disco? Shag carpet? Bell bottoms? Psychedelics, maybe? Those are all icons of the decade, to be sure, but for every “special” memory from the dance floor or bedroom floor, there was a soda from the 70s to help celebrate the occasion. Which pop was your favorite?


The soda that started it all, Coca-Cola is still going strong today in its many incarnations. The original Coca-Cola from the 1970s was a more syrupy soda with not as much fizz and taste than we’re used to now (the recipe for Coke changed back in 1985).

Dr. Pepper

The second oldest major soda (after Coke), Dr Pepper can be traced back as far as 1885 in Waco, Texas. Originally called “Waco soda,” the name was changed to “Dr Pepper” in 1891. The soda’s taste is a mixture of cherry, vanilla, and cola flavors (hence the slogan “Just One More”).


The second most popular soda in America after Coke, Pepsi has been around since 1893 with Caleb Bradham as the soda’s creator. The soda was originally called “Brad’s Drink” but was changed to Pepsi-Cola in 1898 when Caleb registered a trademark for his brand of soda.

Mountain Dew

The citrusy flavor that delivered an exhilarating kick, Mountain Dew debuted on store shelves in 1948 (invented in 1940). Originally conceived as a soda brand for the South, Mountain Dew quickly became popular on store shelves across America thanks to its catchy slogan: “It’ll tickle your innards.”


Invented in 1963, Tab was the first soda to use artificial sweeteners and is still sold today. If you wanted a diet soda in the 1970s, Tab was the Cadillac of them all and one of the very few choices. Even though Tab had a supremely bitter taste, people were willing to drink it because of the its low (no!) calories.

Cherry Coke

Introduced by Coca-Cola on April 20th of 1985, Cherry Cola had been around since for but hadn’t previously gained popularity until its reintroduction as a “new” soda flavor. In fact, before its official 1980s debut, the only way to get Cherry Coke was to order it a soda fountain, where the “jerk” would add cherry flavoring to standard coke.

Royal Crown Cola

First introduced in 1893, Royal Crown Cola was the soda of choice for many Americans during the 70s. One reason for that was that RC typically cost much less than Coke or Pepsi. Even though it never quite reach top-tier status, Royal Crown Cola remains a popular third-party choice today.

Diet Rite

Introduced in 1958, Diet Rite soda was Royal Crown’s answer to Tab. For people who didn’t like Tab’s strong flavor or strong price, but who still wanted to drink cola without the calories, Diet Rite was a good choice. Like RC, Diet Rite never really threatened Tab or (later) Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi, but it had plenty of fans, nevertheless.

7 Up

Introduced in 1929, but not marketed as a soda until 1936, the original version of “Up” was actually more like lemon-lime flavored soda water. It wasn’t until 1948 that Up switched to its current formula and became what we now know it for–a citrusy soda with a light flavor perfect for hot days or an almost universally-used stomach-calmer when your world gets a little queasy.


If you’re a fan of soda flavor profiles that are as much like fruit juice as soda, Sunkist is for you. First released in 1979, Sunkist brought the sensation of carbonated orange juice (taste-wise) to the market, and it was pretty much a love-it-or-hate-it proposition.

Nehi Grape Soda

Tracing its roots back to 1924, the name “Nehi” emerged by 1928, and within a few years, soda drinkers everywhere were marveling at the fruit-flavored fizzy drinks the company offered up. Though the offerings have included orange, root beer, peach, and others over the years, nothing says “summer” like a bottle of Nehi grape soda.

(Like Soda from the 70s? Then you might like our article on Soda from the 80s, click here.)

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