A soft drink (also called pop, soda, coke, soda pop,
fizzy drink, tonic, or carbonated beverage) is a
non-alcoholic beverage that typically contains
carbonated water, a sweetener, and a flavoring agent.
The sweetener may be sugar, high-fructose corn syrup,
or a sugar substitute (in the case of diet drinks). A
soft drink may also contain caffeine or fruit juice.
such as energy drinks, Kool-Aid, and pure juice are
not considered to be soft drinks. Other beverages not
considered to be soft drinks are hot chocolate, hot
tea, coffee, milk, milkshakes, and schorle.
Soft drinks are called "soft" in contrast to "hard
drinks" (alcoholic beverages). Small amounts of
alcohol may be present in a soft drink, but the
alcohol content must be less than 0.5% of the total
volume if the drink is to be considered non-alcoholic.
Widely sold soft drink flavors are cola, lemon-lime,
root beer, orange, grape, vanilla, ginger ale, fruit
punch, and sparkling lemonade.
Soft drinks may be served chilled or at room
temperature. They are rarely heated.
Soft drink production
The first marketed soft drinks (non-carbonated) in the
Western world appeared in the 17th century. They were
made from water and lemon juice sweetened with honey.
In 1676, the Compagnie des Limonadiers of Paris was
granted a monopoly for the sale of lemonade soft
drinks. Vendors carried tanks of lemonade on their
backs and dispensed cups of the soft drink to thirsty
In late 18th century, scientists made important
progress in replicating naturally carbonated mineral
waters. In 1767, Englishman Joseph Priestley first
discovered a method of infusing water with carbon
dioxide to make carbonated water which has 3.4 mg in
the drink when he suspended a bowl of distilled water
above a beer vat at a local brewery in Leeds, England.
His invention of carbonated water, (also known as soda
water), is the major and defining component of most
Priestley found that water treated in this manner had
a pleasant taste, and he offered it to friends as a
refreshing drink. In 1772, Priestley published a paper
entitled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air in which he
describes dripping oil of vitriol (or sulfuric acid as
it is now called) onto chalk to produce carbon dioxide
gas, and encouraging the gas to dissolve into an
agitated bowl of water.
Another Englishman, John Mervin Nooth, improved
Priestley's design and sold his apparatus for
commercial use in pharmacies. Swedish chemist Torbern
Bergman invented a generating apparatus that made
carbonated water from chalk by the use of sulfuric
acid. Bergman's apparatus allowed imitation mineral
water to be produced in large amounts. Swedish chemist
Jöns Jacob Berzelius started to add flavors (spices,
juices and wine) to carbonated water in the late 18th
A variant of soda in the United States called
"phosphate soda" appeared in the late 1870s. It became
one of the most popular soda fountain drinks from 1900
through the 1930s, with the lemon or orange phosphate
being the most basic. The drink consists of 1 US fl oz
(30 ml) fruit syrup, 1/2 teaspoon of phosphoric acid,
and enough carbonated water and ice to fill a glass.
This drink was commonly served in pharmacies.
Soda fountain pioneers
Main article: Soda fountain
waters, usually called "soda water," and the soda
fountain made the biggest splash in the United States.
Beginning in 1806, Yale chemistry professor Benjamin
Silliman sold soda waters in New Haven, Connecticut.
He used a Nooth apparatus to produce his waters.
Businessmen in Philadelphia and New York City also
began selling soda water in the early 19th century. In
the 1830s, John Matthews of New York City and John
Lippincott of Philadelphia began manufacturing soda
fountains. Both men were successful and built large
factories for fabricating fountains.
Soda fountains vs. bottled sodas
The drinking of either natural or artificial mineral
water was considered a healthy practice. The American
pharmacists selling mineral waters began to add herbs
and chemicals to unflavored mineral water. They used
birch bark (see birch beer), dandelion, sarsaparilla,
fruit extracts, and other substances. Flavorings were
also added to improve the taste. Pharmacies with soda
fountains became a popular part of American culture.
Many Americans frequented the soda fountain on a daily
basis. Due to problems in the U.S. glass industry,
bottled drinks were a small portion of the market in
the 19th century. (However, they were known in
England. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, published in
1848, the caddish Huntingdon, recovering from months
of debauchery, wakes at noon and gulps a bottle of
soda-water.) In America, most soft drinks were
dispensed and consumed at a soda fountain, usually in
a drugstore or ice cream parlor. In the early 20th
century, sales of bottled soda increased
exponentially. In the second half of the 20th century,
canned soft drinks became an important share of the
Soft drink bottling industry
Over 1,500 U.S. patents were filed for either a cork,
cap, or lid for the carbonated drink bottle tops
during the early days of the bottling industry.
Carbonated drink bottles are under great pressure from
the gas. Inventors were trying to find the best way to
prevent the carbon dioxide or bubbles from escaping.
In 1892, the "Crown Cork Bottle Seal" was patented by
William Painter, a Baltimore, Maryland machine shop
operator. It was the first very successful method of
keeping the bubbles in the bottle.
Automatic production of glass bottles
In 1899, the first patent was issued for a
glass-blowing machine for the automatic production of
glass bottles. Earlier glass bottles had all been
hand-blown. Four years later, the new bottle-blowing
machine was in operation. It was first operated by the
inventor, Michael Owens, an employee of Libby Glass
Company. Within a few years, glass bottle production
increased from 1,400 bottles a day to about 58,000
bottles a day.
 Home-Paks and vending
During the 1920s, "Home-Paks" were invented. "Home-Paks"
are the familiar six-pack cartons made from cardboard.
Vending machines also began to appear in the 1920s.
Since then, soft drink vending machines have become
increasingly popular. Both hot and cold drinks are
sold in these self-service machines throughout the