Did you know that Hanover once had its own soft drink company!
Massachusetts used to have dozens of soft drink manufacturers. The Hanover Club Beverage Company manufactured soft drinks during the 1950s and 1960s. The Company was located at 1206 Hanover Street in West Hanover. It was owned and operated by the Degutis family. Production of Hanover Club Beverage stopped in 1968. An attempt to create a Cranberry Cola in 1974 was ultimately unsuccessful.
Soft Drink Manufacturing
Throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries, there were hundreds of soft drink manufactures around the country. Their products were made from carbonated water, sugar, and a wide variety of flavorings to create familiar soft drinks likes root beer, sarsaparilla, ginger ale, and many types of colas. Moxie was introduced in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1876 and is still available throughout New England and Simpson Spring of nearby Easton, Massachusetts, still produces craft sodas after nearly 130 years in business. Most soft drink companies were small and locally owned prior to the mid-20th Century The two largest soft drink companies, Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola, both started in the 1880s and 1890s. Most of the hundreds of small soft drink manufacturers have either been acquired by larger companies like Pepsi or Coke, or went out of business long ago.
Soft Drink Flavors
Spruce beer, sarsaparilla, and birch beer are some of the older flavors that today are fairly uncommon. One of the more famous of the traditional soft drinks is Moxie, which has a strong flavor and distinctive after taste from it use of gentian root. Other ingredients used for flavoring were cola nuts, tree bark, limes, lemons, various roots, berries, and ginger. The Hanover Club Beverage lists “carbonated water, sugar, certified flavors, and finest extracts,” as the ingredients.
United States Patent #0755723 was issued in 1960 for a trademark for Cranberry Cola to the Hanover Beverage Company. It took more than ten years of work before the drink was finally available in 1974. This was an attempt to capitalize on a unused flavor for soft drinks and the local-grown cranberries. The drink was not successful.
What do you call it?
Soft drinks are called by different names in different parts of the United States. Here are some:
Soda—familiar throughout the country
Pop—mostly used in the Mid-West
Coke—mostly used in the Southern states
Tonic—only used in Eastern New England
In New England, “tonic” traditionally referred to any kind of carbonated beverage, like root beer or ginger ale. Its use is being replaced by the more nationally-common term “soda.” Use of the term tonic dates from the 19th century when syrups were added to carbonated water at pharmacy counters and were often labelled and distributed as “nerve tonic,” recalling its original medicinal use.