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Beverage Industry Workers

History

The manufacturing of soft drinks in America began in the 1830s. However, the evolution of soft drinks took place over a much longer time period. The forerunners of soft drinks began more than 2,000 years ago when Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine," first suspected that mineral waters could be beneficial to our well-being.

In America, the transition resulted from the discovery of the natural springs in New York. Scientists began studying the tiny bubbles fizzing from these waters—carbon dioxide. They perfected a way to produce artificially carbonated water in the laboratory.

By the 1830s, pharmacists began to add ingredients from plants in an effort to improve the curative properties of soft drinks. Ginger ale, root beer, sarsaparilla, lemon, and strawberry were popular early flavors. The temperance movement, which tried to persuade people not to drink alcoholic beverages, helped create a market for these drinks.

For many years, soft drinks were mixed in local pharmacies, but demand grew for them to be consumed in the home. Methods of bottling carbonated drinks were developed and in 1892 the "crown cap" was invented. It revolutionized the soft drink industry by preventing the escape of carbon dioxide from bottled beverages. Retail outlets began carrying the bottled drinks and the invention of "Hom-Paks," the first six-pack carton, made it more convenient to carry products home.

Today soft drinks of all kinds are readily available in cans and plastic bottles in a wide variety of packaging options.

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