Who Invented Canada Dry Ginger Ale


Canada Dry has been producing ginger ale and other sodas for nearly a century and it also creates mixers for drinks as well. Their products are sold all around the world and the brand is today owned by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. The “Dry” in the brand name refers to the fact that this ginger ale isn’t as sweet as the others you can find today, kind of like how you’d purchase a wine that was dry. We all have John McLaughlin to thank for this beverage – it was his idea to create a pale ginger ale that wasn’t very sweet and call it dry.

Who Was John McLaughlin?

McLaughlin was the oldest son of a father who created carriages and motor cars for a living. He was a pharmacist and chemist by trade and he had a passion for soda. His passion was so great, in fact, that he opened up a small plant near Toronto so that he could make carbonated water. It was nearly a decade later, however, before the Canada Dry ginger ale was introduced, with it first making its appearance in 1904.

The beverage was an instant success. In less than 3 years, this ginger ale had become one of the official drinks of the country. For the next 12 years, the popularity of the beverage continued to grow and those in the United States started demanding access to Canada Dry as well. In 1919, the first shipments of soda were sent to New York and the popularity for the drink was so high that another plant to make the beverage was built.

The Prohibition Era Guaranteed the Products Success

When alcohol was banned in the United States, Canada Dry became one of the most popular products available because its flavor could hide the taste of homemade moonshine. You’d often find people asking for a soda so that they could have a drink and the “soda” was often Canada Dry and their preferred beverage. McLaughlin didn’t get to see all of this success, however, because he passed away shortly after seeing the product shipments to New York. The company was purchased from the family in 1923 and made a public company.

Over the years, there have been a number of different Canada Dry products that have come to the market, from club soda to pink ginger ale, all based on the original McLaughlin formula. Some of the variations were quite successful and you can still find them on store shelves to this day. Others were an immediate failure. One of the unique aspects of this brand, however, is that there are specific variations based on the location of the product. Pineapple, dry orange and cream sodas, grapefruit, and even peach are all available for only specific markets.

John McLaughlin would be proud to know that his love for soda had spread all the way around the world with his Canada Dry brand. The next time you’re in a store that sells this product, go ahead and pick one up. Enjoy the flavor of the ginger without the added sweetness that many sodas have. You’ll have McLaughlin to thank for that moment of joy.

Prohibition Effects