Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sarsaparilla Rides Into Lorain – July 1959

I've written a few times on this blog (most recently here) about Wild West Sarsaparilla, Lorain's popular hometown soft drink which was distributed by World Trade, Inc. beginning in 1967.

But, surprisingly, sarsaparilla was produced in Lorain even before that – as part of Lorain's 125th anniversary celebration.

The article below – written by well-known Lorainite Jack LaVriha – explains it all. It appeared in the July 9, 1959 Lorain Journal – 54 years ago today.


'One Sarsaparilla, Pardner'
Famed Old-Time Soft Drink To Slake Celebration Thirst

By Jack LaVriha

The famous soft drink of old days, sarsaparilla, will be available to quench the thirst of thousands who are expected to attend the city's 125th anniversary celebration July 17-25.

Two enterprising officials of the T. J. Bottling Co., 304 12th St., James Kallis, president, and Anthony Palumbo, vice-president, spent almost three months of research to locate the owners of the patent on the recipe for sarsaparilla so that the drink could be bottled here in connection with the celebration.

"We have purchased the privilege of making sarsaparilla in Lorain – the same drink which is still famed at Dodge City, Kan." said Kallis.

About 700 cases of the drink of the old Wild West already have been bottled and more will be produced if the demand warrants it.

Rev. George Burdikoff, pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church sampled the first bottle of sarsaparilla available in Lorain in many years at the bottling works Wednesday.

"It's refreshing and different," said Rev. Burdikoff. "It will give the anniversary celebrants an old-time drink which will fit in with the occasion."

Sarsaparilla tastes like a fresh root beer with sassafras added, according to Kallis.

"It's a drink that isn't too tart and tangy, but refreshing and smooth," he added.

Just like in the western movies on television, Lorainites and visitors will have the opportunity during the city's birthday celebration to order up a sarsaparilla.

IT'S SARSAPARILLA – Rev. George Burdikoff, seated in center, pastor of 
SS. Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church, samples a bottle of sarsaparilla, 
a famous old-time soft drink which is being produced here in connection with the 
city's 125th anniversary celebration, while looking on approvingly are some 
Keystone Kops, from left, Lt. Ray Gearing, Lt. Hank Kenzik, Chief Tony Motto
and Sgt. Cliff Whittaker. Standing behind Rev. Burdikoff is Elmo Leonard, 
bottling plant foreman.

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