History of Canada Dry Ginger Ale

It all started with ginger beer, which originated in England in the 1800s. Eventually the popularity spread across the pond and Americans were also enjoying this refreshing beverage. John McLaughlin (1866-1914), a Canadian pharmacist, invented the modern Canada Dry version of Ginger Ale in 1907.

John James McLaughlin, was an 1885 graduate, with a gold medal, of the University of Toronto College of Pharmacy. He was trained as both a pharmacist and a chemist. Like so many pharmacists of the late 19th and the early 20th century.

McLaughlin was interested in flavored soda waters. McLaughlin began making his own soda drink recipes and created McLaughlin Belfast Style Ginger Ale in 1890.He experimented with various mixtures that were added to his carbonated soda water made from a mixture of baking soda, vinegar and water.

His early flavors were cream soda, ginger beer, sarsaparilla and lemon sour. McLaughlin’s company also made and imported mineral waters, carbonated beverages, syrups, creams, cordials, extracts, fountain fruits, ice-cream machinery, and soda fountain supplies.

After years of experimenting, McLaughlin perfected his formula for Canada Dry in 1904. After visiting Europe to study its beverage industry, on September 27th 1890 McLaughlin established J.J. McLaughlin Limited Manufacturing Chemists in Toronto.The company manufactured and sold soda fountain products and equipment to drugstores in Ontario and western Canada, including lines of distilled waters and fruit juices.

Despite competition – there were about 12 producers in the city in 1891 – the business grew enough to warrant a move to larger premises, at Queen and Victoria streets.

In 1900 he produced a beverage that was dark in color with a strong ginger flavor and called it “

McLaughlin Belfast Style Ginger Ale.”

In 1905: Jack McLaughlin changed the name for the last time and began to market his pale and dry ginger ale as “Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale.” It gained popularity very quickly and McLaughlin had to open a plant in Manhattan to provide for his customers in New York. Thus beginning the massive expansion of his company.

To facilitate expansion, McLaughlin opened shops to manufacture the metal, wooden, and marble equipment needed to carbonate, blend, and serve soft drinks in drugstores, restaurants, and department stores and to make other soda parlour essentials such as ice-cream. Canada Dry was sold to P.D. Saylor and Associates in December 1923 for $1 million. Merged into the newly formed Norton Simon Inc. in 1968, it was sold to the Dr Pepper Company in 1982.
History of Canada Dry Ginger Ale

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