What Are Some Interesting Historical Facts About the American Bottler Vernor's?


Quick Answer

Vernor's Ginger Ale, the oldest ginger ale brand still in production as of 2015, was originally created in 1866 by James Vernor, a pharmacist from Detroit, Michigan. According to company legend, the soft drink originated from a blend of medicinal tonic of vanilla and spices and ginger developed before the Civil War; however, the soft drink didn't appear commercially until 1880. The company trademarked the name in 1911.

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Full Answer

Originally, James Vernor sold his ginger ale solely through Vernor's drug stores, but by the time of his death in 1926, the soft drink was bottled and distributed through a plant in Detroit. In 1940, a shop opened that allowed customers to watch the production of Vernor's drink.

The company remained in the Vernor family hands following James Vernor's death under the leadership of his sons. Investment groups purchased the company from the Vernor family in 1966. Since then, four companies have owned the beverage rights, including American Consumer Products, United Brands, A&W Beverages and current owner Cadbury Schweppes.

According to the original recipe, the ginger ale concoction aged for four years in wood barrels before being ready for consumption; however, the current recipe calls for a three-year wood barrel aging process. SeriousEats.com ranked Vernor's No. 1 in a 2011 blind taste test of 13 major ginger ales.

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