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In Tamil Nadu, the very mention of soft – or cool – drinks brings back to mind goli soda. Time was when goli soda was served to guests at home as a token of honour.
Post-Independence, the industry expanded. But after the advent of the foreign soft drinks companies in the local market, the goli soda industry started falling on bad days.
Now the goli soda industry has got a new lease of life, producing all over the State various types of goli soda, and stepping proudly into its 100th year of existence.
The habit of drinking fruit-mixed beverages dates back to England where the people in the 1500s used to have lemon juice mixed with water and sweeteners. In Paris, lemon juice mixed with honey and water was a favourite
In fact, cool beverages are part and parcel of food all over the world. There are two types of cool beverage: One made out of fruit and another artificially aerated.
The habit of taking fruit-mixed beverages dates back to England where the people in the 1500s used to take lemon juice mixed with water and sweeteners. In Paris, lemon juice mixed with honey and water was a favourite.
A history of fizz
In 1767, a cool beverage aerated with carbon-di-oxide was manufactured for the first time in the world. It was Joseph Priestley who invented the carbonation process. This turned into soda over time.
The aerated ginger beer started selling in the 1800s. Goli soda gained momentum in England in the 1870s, with people going for it passionately. This beverage reached every nook and corner of the world.
Back in Tamil Nadu, indigenous companies such as Kaleeswari, along with multinational businesses, have carved out a niche in the golisoda market.
Coca-Cola, started in 1886, produces 150 types of cool beverages. On a global scale, companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Nestle, Sandori, Dr Pepper, Snapple, Denon, Green, Redbull, Asahi and so on rule the roost in the soft drinks market.
In India Jayanthi Beverages, Shri Brahm Shakti Prince Beverages, Hajooi and Sons and so on are in the soft drinks trade. Though foreign soft drinks are popular, demand for goli soda remains strong.
It was Kannusamy Mudaliar who launched the manufacture and sale of goli soda in 1924 and supplied goli soda to all petty shops in the then North and South Arcot districts. The bus passengers travelling across the Chennai-Bengaluru highway used to relish goli sodas en route, popularising the beverage
Vellore pops the bottle
For the first time in Tamil Nadu, it was in Vellore that goli soda was manufactured. Since the Arcot region is highly tropical, people opted for it to beat the heat. The production of goli soda was carried on as a cottage industry.
It was Kannusamy Mudaliar who launched the manufacture and sale of goli soda, importing soda bottles from Germany. His company is said to have begun the goli soda industry in 1924 and supplied the bottles to petty shops in the then North and South Arcot regions. Bus passengers on the Chennai-Bengaluru highway would relish goli sodas en route.
The Kannan Soda Company has put on display a vintage goli sodas bottle engraved with ‘Made in Germany’ used for the first time back in the day. The company, which nowadays sells various soft drinks such as Blueberry Cola, goli sodas with lemon and orange flavours and so on, has stepped into the centenary year.
The proprietors of the company said, “Kannusamy Mudaliar launched the soda company with an eye on the local market. As the area was teeming with a floating population, the sale of goli sola touched a new high. After Independence, the industry expanded. But after the advent of the foreign cool drinks companies, the goli soda industry fell on bad days.”
They went on to say that when the jallikattu agitation was at its peak in 2017 all over the State, people began giving more importance to native things and supported indigenous soft drinks, giving us hope. “At present we procure bottles from Uttar Pradesh and fill them with soda,” they said.
Now the golisoda industry has got a new lease of life, making available all over the State various types of the fizzy drink.
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