3 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Chicago’s Green River Soda

Green River Soda was first introduced to Midwesterners back in 1919. Technically created in Davenport, Iowa, Green River Soda was sold to Schoenhofen Edelweiss Brewing Company of Chicago at the start of Prohibition. Because beer was no longer legally available, people were turning to nonalcoholic beverages called “Near Beers.” Just like Malort, Green River Soda became a Chicago staple as the locals guzzled down the sweet, lime-flavored soda. Here are a few things you might never have known about Green River Soda.

Green River Soda Was the Second Best Selling Soda in the USA

Seventy years ago, Green River Soda was the second most popular soft drink in the USA, with only Coca-Cola selling more bottles during the Prohibition.

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green river soda
Photo Credit: WIT Beverage Company

It Might Have Changed Our Slang

One of the biggest regional debates is whether it is called soda or pop. Anyone who is born and raised in the Windy City and its surrounding areas will likely fervently state that it is pop, and the reason might be because of Green River Soda.

Way back in the day, bottles weren’t capped and, instead, were sealed using a marble. The marble would be put inside the glass bottle and would serve the purpose of stirring the syrup that settled on the bottom. If you wanted to seal the bottle, you would flip it over, and the marble would shift to the neck of the bottle. Thanks to the carbonation of the soda, the marble would stay there. When you wanted to open the bottle, you would swiftly jerk the bottle up. Rumor has it when the marble fell out, and it would make a pop, which is how that slang was created!

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Green River Soda is Still Popular on St. Patrick’s Day

It should come as no surprise, but Green River Soda is still extremely popular around St. Patrick’s Day. In the month before the holiday, this favored lime drink makes roughly 30 percent of its annual sales. Even though the drink is still nonalcoholic, the green color helps the soda to remain popular.

Green River Soda still has a special place in our hearts. It reminds us of a simpler time as we drink the green, lime-flavored pop. While it isn’t always easy to find this vintage drink, you can find it at some Chicago area retailers and restaurants.

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