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Nostalgic Delights: Old Fashioned Soda Brands You Can Still Buy Today

Old Fashioned Soda Brands You Can Still Buy Today

With its fizzy bubbles and refreshing taste, soda has been a popular beverage in the United States for centuries. While some of the well-known soda brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi dominate the market, there are several old-fashioned soda brands that have managed to maintain a loyal following. These lesser-known brands offer a sense of nostalgia and a unique taste that appeals to consumers looking for something different from the mainstream options. In this article, we will explore some of the old-fashioned soda brands you can still buy today, each with its own fascinating history and loyal customer base.

Moxie – The Original Soft Drink

Moxie holds the title of being the first commercially distributed soft drink in the U.S. It burst onto the scene in 1876, a full decade before Coca-Cola and 22 years before Pepsi-Cola entered the market. Despite its initial success, Moxie’s popularity began to decline during the Great Depression. However, the caramel-colored beverage can still be found on supermarket shelves and is even revered in some regions of the U.S. For example, Maine’s annual Moxie Festival has been entertaining soda enthusiasts since 1982.
Moxie had humble beginnings as a medicinal tonic marketed as Moxie Nerve Food, a panacea for various ailments. Unlike many modern sodas, Moxie had an herbal and slightly bitter taste derived from ingredients such as gentian root. In 1884, carbonated water was added to the mix, transforming Moxie into a soft drink. While the soda has undergone some changes over the years, such as the replacement of sugar with high fructose syrup and the removal of sassafras, Moxie has retained its distinctive flavor and continues to delight fans of old-fashioned soda.

RC – A cola with a rich history

In 1905, pharmacist Claud A. Hatcher revolutionized the soda industry by creating RC soda, short for Royal Crown. The first RC creation was Royal Crown Ginger Ale, which made its debut in the Hatcher family’s grocery store in Columbus, Georgia. This ginger ale was so successful that it led Hatcher to form Union Bottling Works and introduce another popular drink called Chero-Cola, a cherry-flavored soda.
However, a legal dispute with Coca-Cola forced RC to shorten the name of its best-selling product from Chero-Cola to Chero in 1923. The court later ruled that the term “cola” was not exclusively owned by Coca-Cola, paving the way for Royal Crown to evolve into Royal Crown Cola, or the iconic RC Cola we know today.
RC Cola has carved out a niche with a loyal following. Its rich history and unique flavor continue to attract beverage enthusiasts who appreciate the taste of old-fashioned cola.

Cheerwine – a cherry-flavored delight

Don’t let its boozy name fool you, Cheerwine is completely alcohol-free. Developed in 1917, Cheerwine is “the oldest continuous soft drink in the same family. This carbonated beverage was created in response to the sugar shortage of the early 20th century, using cherry flavoring to sweeten the soda without adding excessive sugar.
Cheerwine quickly gained popularity and overtook its predecessor, Mint Cola, in sales. It became so successful that the company changed its name to Cheerwine Bottling Co. Today, Cheerwine is known for its sweet taste and is often hailed as the perfect accompaniment to barbecue.
While Cheerwine may be more readily available in the Southeastern United States, its unique flavor and long history make it a favorite among old-fashioned soda lovers.

Stewart’s – From Local Soda Fountains to Bottled Delights

Stewart’s is a brand that may surprise many. Although Stewart’s root beer was invented in the early 20th century, it wasn’t commercially bottled until 1990. Nevertheless, Stewart’s gained popularity through local soda fountains and a chain of Stewart’s Drive-Ins. Over time, the brand expanded its line of sodas to include a variety of flavors such as grape, orange and cream, black cherry, cherry and cream, and key lime. More recently, Stewart’s has even introduced alcoholic versions of its soft drinks called Stewart’s Spiked.
The story of Stewart’s begins in 1924 when Frank Stewart, a schoolteacher, developed a root beer recipe to supplement his meager income. Initially sold at a root beer stand in Mansfield, Ohio, Stewart’s eventually established franchises throughout the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. The brand’s iconic root beer float with vanilla ice cream remains a popular menu item at Stewart’s Drive-Ins. The legacy of this iconic beverage is celebrated each year on National Stewart’s Root Beer Day.
Stewart’s commitment to quality and expanding flavor offerings has allowed them to thrive as an old-fashioned soda brand. Whether you’re sipping on their classic root beer or trying one of their unique flavor offerings, Stewart’s delivers a taste that harkens back to the soda fountain era.

Dr. Brown’s – A Taste of New York

Dr. Brown’s is a brand of soda that originated in New York City in the late 1800s. It was founded by a pharmacist named Dr. Brown, who created a line of flavored sodas with unique and distinctive tastes. The brand’s most famous creation is Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray, a celery-flavored soda that has become a staple in New York delis and Jewish cuisine.
Dr. Brown’s line of sodas also includes flavors such as cream soda, black cherry, root beer and ginger ale, each with its own loyal following. The brand has become synonymous with the New York deli experience, and a visit to a traditional Jewish deli is not complete without enjoying a Dr. Brown’s soda with your meal.
With its rich history and variety of flavors, Dr. Brown’s continues to be a favorite among soda lovers who appreciate the brand’s commitment to quality and unique taste.

Bottom line

While the soda market is dominated by well-known brands, there is something special about old-fashioned soda brands that have stood the test of time. These brands offer a taste of nostalgia and a connection to the past, appealing to consumers who crave something different from the mainstream options.
From Moxie’s herbal and bitter flavor to RC’s rich history and distinctive taste, each of these old-fashioned soda brands has its own story to tell. Whether you’re sipping on Cheerwine’s cherry-infused delight or enjoying a Stewart’s root beer float, these brands will transport you back to a time when soda was a treat to be savored.
So the next time you’re looking for a fizzy blast from the past, give one of these old-fashioned soda brands a try. You might just discover a new favorite that captures the essence of a bygone era while quenching your thirst for a refreshing beverage. Here’s to the enduring charm of old-fashioned sodas!


Where can I find old fashioned soda brands?

Old-fashioned soda brands can be found in a variety of places, including supermarkets, specialty beverage stores, online retailers, and sometimes even local soda shops or soda fountains.

Are old-fashioned soda brands more expensive than mainstream soda brands?

The price of old-fashioned soda brands can vary depending on factors such as brand popularity, production methods and ingredients used. While some may be priced similarly to mainstream sodas, others may have a higher price point due to their unique flavors, limited availability, or artisanal production processes.

Can I order old fashioned soda brands online?

Yes, many old-fashioned soda brands have online platforms where you can order their products and have them delivered to your door. This is a convenient option, especially if you don’t have access to local stores that carry these brands.

Do old-fashioned soda brands use natural ingredients?

It depends on the brand and its specific formulation. Some old-fashioned soda brands prioritize the use of natural ingredients and may advertise their commitment to using real cane sugar, natural flavors, and no artificial additives. However, it’s always a good idea to check the label or the brand’s website for detailed information about their ingredients.

Can I find old-fashioned soda brands in different flavors?

Yes, old-fashioned soda brands often offer a range of flavors beyond traditional cola. You can find flavors like root beer, ginger ale, cream soda, cherry, grape, and more. Each brand may have its own unique flavor offerings that cater to different tastes and preferences.

Are old-fashioned soda brands suitable for people with dietary restrictions?

Some old-fashioned soda brands offer options to meet specific dietary needs. For example, you may find brands that offer sugar-free or diet versions of their sodas. In addition, some brands may be gluten-free or use natural sweeteners instead of high-fructose corn syrup. It’s important to check the labels or contact the brand directly for specific information about dietary restrictions.

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