I’ll Drink To That

BY IVOR JONES & FRIENDS

Still in summer, our mind goes back to earlier times. Recently, during a time that my mind went wondering, as it sometimes does, I started to recall that the soft drinks that were available back in the 1950s and 60s seemed to have more flavour than those of today. Whether that is correct or not, who can say.

Back in those halcyon days there was a greater variety in brands and flavours. The only national brands available were those made by either Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Schweppes and the Australian owned Cottee’s, although there were somewhere in the vicinity of some 600 soft drink manufacturers across Australia. These ranged from small bottlers in suburban areas and country towns to slightly larger concerns covering regions of a state or perhaps one or two states.

Locally, one of the largest soft drink companies was Summons & Graham whose logo adorned many stores in the western suburbs with “S & G – the drink that made Parramatta famous”. This company was later acquired by Schweppes and renamed SwinG and instead of being sold through corner stores it was sold by way of home delivery. Schweppes went on to acquire other soft drink companies such as “Osborne’s” and “Sharpe’s” and merged them into the SwinG home delivery service. Another company that I believe had local connections was “Sawtell’s” that I understand operated from Northmead for a while. Dale’s was another large specialist home delivery service that was based at Cabramatta..

Coca-Cola operated a few other brands including Fanta nationally. During the late 1960s and 70s Coca-Cola swallowed up other companies, including Shelley’s in NSW, Kirk’s in Queensland and Ecks in NSW and Victoria.

But now to the tastes of some of the drinks that were available in the 1950s and 60s. Cottee’s had a range of different flavours which included “Tango”, “Coola”, “Passiona” etc. whilst some of these names have been retained the taste and appearance of them seems to me to have altered. The “Tango” that I recall was a deeper colour to the Orange of today and the taste was richer. I would say the same about “Coola” which was a lime based drink and what was once Cottee’s biggest seller, “Passiona”, also seems to have altered. Cottee’s no longer exist as soft drink company, the former brands having undergone ownership changes over the years. “Golden Circle” naturally produced a pineapple flavoured soft drink.

Also a favourite of many was Mynor’s “G.i” brand of a lime based drink. Mynor was acquired and merged into the Shelley’s business that became part of the Coca-Cola empire. G.i was a dark green colour with a rich lime like taste. Another company that became part of Shelley’s was “Zyp” which had a distinctive pop or screw cap on their glass bottles.

There were brands that specialised in certain ranges or flavours, Australian Sparking Ales also known as “ASA” produced a soft drink called “Horehound” which is a brewed soft drink. Then there are also those companies that still produce, or once produced, Ginger Beer such as “Stone’s”. As I have now mentioned brewed soft drinks, just to close off the subject who can remember “Blue Bow” brand soft drinks that were produced by the brewer Tooth’s? This brand was acquired by Schweppes back in the 1960s.

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