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About Vernors: Our Nations oldest ginger soda, Vernors Ginger Ale, was created over 130 years ago. Many soft drinks take an understandable pride in their histories, but they all must bow to Vernors.
In the middle 1800’s a golden colored ginger ale was being imported from Belfast, Ireland and was quite popular in the United States (ginger ale would become the nations most popular soft drink for about seventy years). At nineteen-year-old, James Vernor began experimenting with ginger ale recipes. After 4 years he discovered just the right selection of secret ingredients to create Vernor’s Ginger Ale.
Mr. Vernor would offered his golden ginger ale to drug stores soda fountain patrons for the next thirty years (all good drug stores had a soda fountain). Vernor's Ginger Ale was not an overnight success. It would not be until 1896 that there was enough business to open a small plant. Mr. Vernor, along with his nineteen-year-old son, James Vernor II, (the companies only employee) blended, aged, bottled, and distributed Vernor's Ginger Ale. Vernors extract at the time was aged in oak cask for four years before it was ever used to produce the soft drink. This process of aging in oak continued until 1980's. During Prohibition golden ginger ales sales fell dramatically because of its association with liquor. Vernors fortunately was able to survive. From there Vernors would grow to the point of Vernors becoming synonymous with ginger ale.
J. Vernor Davis (James Vernor’s nephew) ran the company until the 1950’s before attracting a group of investors who purchased Vernors in 1966. It did not fair very well. Vernors was eventually sold to American Consumer Products in 1971, then to United Brands in 1979 who ended bottling operations at the Detroit plant in 1985. In 1987 they would sell Vernors to A & W Brands. A & W itself was bought by Dr Pepper/Cadbury in 1993, and in 1996, Dr Pepper merged with 7Up.
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