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Zidbits – Learn something new everyday! | August 23, 2014

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Why Are Carbonated Beverages Called “Soft Drinks”?

Why Are Carbonated Beverages Called “Soft Drinks”?

A soft drink (also referred to as soda, coke, pop, soda pop, or fizzy drink) is a non-alcoholic beverage that usually contains carbonated water, a sweetener, and flavoring. The sweetener is typically sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or a sugar substitute (as is the case in diet soft drinks). Soft drinks can also contain fruit juice or caffeine.

Why Are They Called Soft Drinks?

The word ‘soft drink’ owes its origin to simple advertising. The makers of artificial (and natural) flavored carbonated beverages were having a difficult time marketing their product nationally thanks to the fact that the name for these beverages varied from region to region and even city to city. For instance, in different parts of the United States and Canada, flavored carbonated beverages can be referred to as pop, and in other parts, soda, in yet other parts there are other names.

Vintage Pepsi Ad

Vintage Pepsi Ad

Internationally, it’s even more difficult. For example, in England soft drinks are called “fizzy drinks” in Ireland they were called “minerals”. So because they couldn’t refer to their product in the generic sense on national (or international) advertisements, the manufactures chose the term “soft drink” to be more or less a universal term for their non-alcoholic carbonated beverages. However, according to study carried out in 2006, research showed that most carbonated soft drinks actually do contain trace amounts of alcohol.

Alcohol In My Coke?

In older methods of injecting the CO2 into the drink, a natural fermentation would occur — similar to how most beer is brewed. This is no longer an issue however, thanks to newer modern methods of fusing the beverage with CO2. Trace amounts of alcohol still remain, though. This is thanks to the fermentation of sugars in a non-sterile environment of the soda. In other types of drinks, additional alcohol can be introduced to a batch because it is used in the preparation of some of the flavor extracts. You may wonder how any of this is legal due to the alcohol content — it should be noted that a container of yogurt of similar volume to that of a carbonated soft drink will contain about 2x the amount of alcohol of a soda drink.

Soda pop coke

Distribution Of Terms Across The Country

Bonus Facts:

  • The first known use of the term ‘pop’ (referring to the beverage) was in 1812 in a letter written by English poet Robert Southey; in the letter he called it ‘pop’, because “pop goes the cork when it is drawn, and pop you would go off too, if you drank too much of it.”
  • Coca-Cola was first invented by a pharmacist to help headaches – and actually contained cocaine.
  • Lost in translation – Pepsi Cola once spent a lot of money on a large advertising campaign in China with the slogan “Come Alive With Pepsi!” between 1963 and 1967. Unfortunately, the translation was just a little bit off and it actually said “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave!

More Reading:
Wikipedia
Alcohol in Soft Drinks?
History of Soft Drinks

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