Canada Dry, the Jamaican Ginger Ale

Here’s a word relationship that won’t be on S.A.T. tests.

As Schweppes is the top brand for tonic water, Canada Dry is the top brand for ginger ale.

This pre-1960 guide, from the collection of the late attorney Charles P. Pollard, shows a historic, and sellable, image of the brand. It also shows the brand as a product an invention of a devolved empire, the Commonwealth nations of Jamaica and Canada.

The little menu guide shows how to use Canada Dry Ginger Ale in cooking, as well as gives some history. There is no date, but it certainly is pre-1950. The brochure details numerous facts about Canada Dry, including that it is made from Jamaican ginger. It had an interesting illustration of Jamaicans working sorting ginger root.

History of Canada Dry

Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale was founded in 1904 by pharmacist John J. McLaughlin of Oshawa, Ontario. He was the son of the famous carmaker McLaughlin. The brand soon caught on and became a sensation. Today, Canada Dry is part of Dr. Pepper Snapple (NYSE: DPS).

Other facts about Canada Dry of the olden days:

  • Canada Dry was (and still is) used by hospitals as an aid to digestion.
  • It was the accepted beverage of the House of Parliament and the Governor General’s residence in Canada.
  • 14 tests were made on Canada Dry’s flavor
  • Canada Dry was bottled in 12 factories in North America.
  • Canada Dry came in three flavors, including ginger ale, sparkling water and lemon-lime rickey.
  • Canada Dry was sold in three sizes, the “regular” size was 12 oz.
  • The brand was big on getting parents to mix up different things with Canada Dry for the children. Kids drinks with Canada Dry included Peter Piper Punch, Sinbad’s Secret, Maple Velvet (add maple syrup), Carolie Cup (with loganberry juice), Canadian Grenadier (sherbet drink) and Christmas Cup (a cranberry/lemon drink with sugar).
  • Canada Dry was promoted as a cooking ingredient, including being used in salad dressing and in cooking hams.

Do get some for your holiday party this season.

About the Author

  • Garland Pollard is publisher/editor of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website BrandlandUSA.com has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands. He has decades of experience across all media, including newspapers, TV, radio, magazines and the web.

3 Comments

  1. If only Canada Dry would take out the HFCS and replace it with cane sugar. We also like their green tea/ginger ale product which would be *really great* without the corn syrup.

  2. Another treat I remember my mom making when I was a kid was called London Fog. Basically a float, you take vanilla ice cream and add ginger ale. To this day, I sometimes enjoy punch made with ginger ale and pineapple or lime sherbet–yum! This is especially popular at wedding receptions.


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