Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cherikee Red Soda

Vintage can from Cotton Club era – currently on Ebay
While writing about local soft drinks during the last few weeks, I mentioned Cherikee Red – a pop that I remember from my youth, mainly because of its distinctive can and the unique spelling of its name.

Vintage cans
It wasn't a pop that we drank very often. Mom was much more likely to buy Pepsi, Vernors or whatever root beer (Hires, A&W) was on sale. But since Cherikee Red was produced by the Cotton Club Bottling Company in Cleveland back then, it was probably available locally at a good price, so Mom must have picked some up once in a while, along with the other assorted Cotton Club flavors like 50/50.

Recently, I was surprised to see Cherikee Red on the shelves at one of the ubiquitous mom-and-pop convenient stores in Cleveland. I hadn't seen or thought about the brand for decades, but there it was – with the same Indian chief on the can (although he was no longer printed in full color). It's no longer made by Cotton Club either.
The current can design

So why I am writing about this? Because apparently the brand has been rediscovered and is now wildly popular in Pennsylvania. They can't keep it on the shelves – customers come in and buy all they can.

You could probably make a bundle buying up the stuff and selling it to Pennsylvanians – at least until the novelty wears off.

Here's the story.

Anyway, it's amazing that the brand has bounced around from company to company and is still popular. It tastes the same too, if you're curious. (I just drank a can of it.)

Now, inevitably, some Native Americans aren't very happy about the soda pop brand. They point out that the misspelling of the word 'Cherokee' doesn't make it any less racist. They also note that the plains style warbonnet worn by the can's mascot was never worn by Cherokees.

It just goes to show you that what may evoke warm feelings of nostalgia and childhood to one person may trigger painful pangs of racism to another.

I never liked Cherikee Red all that much anyway despite the great can design. (But I am looking forward to the can of 50/50 that I bought at that same "Kwik-E-Mart" in Cleveland!)


-Alan D Hopewell said...

Me, I preferred Swiss Creme Soda ("Dot isht gut!")

Sydney said...

I grew up in Western PA and this isn't a recent development. It's been popular since at least the 90s.

Mark former driver at Cotton Club said...

They used to use Cleveland Indians ball players to do local commercials to promote the soda pop