Vernors Ginger Ale was created in Detroit in 1866, by pharmacist James Vernor. It is the oldest brand in the United States and was originally sold only in soda fountains. Vernors is sweet and its hue comes from caramel and it is very highly carbonated. It is Detroit’s drink and is used as an ingredient in cuisine, such as a sweet glaze for onion ring batter, turkey and other meats and fish. Adding vanilla ice cream to Vernors Ginger Ale is known as Boston Cooler and closely resembles a milkshake.
My personal collection includes several Vernors items such as two advertising “PAM” thermometers and sealed display cans. The cans are from 1962 when Vernor first introduced Vernors 1-calorie, which has since become known as Diet Vernors. The brand was sold a few times. Firstly to United Brands, then A&W Beverages, followed by the sale to Cadbury, Schweppes, and is currently owned by Keurig, Dr. Pepper of Plano, Texas. The brand celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016. Artifacts and advertising signage were displayed at a local Detroit museum.
One advertising thermometer depicts the famous gnome mascot of the brand known as “Woody” which surfaced during the very early 1900’s. Vernors could be consumed cold or hot and slogans included, “Drink hot in cold weather” and “Drink cold in hot weather”. Both these slogans are clearly visible in each advertising thermometer provided.
The original display cans are in pristine condition with no colour loss, unblemished graphics and are known as a three piece can. The name is derived from three distinct components that make up the can itself including the main cylindrical soldered barrel, bottom and top with removable finger pull tabs.
Due to COVID-19, Canadian Vernors Ginger Ale production has been temporarily halted at the Mississauga facility which took effect on the 9th of May 2020. ln Canada, Vernors is sold only in Ontario and the highest concentration of sales and consumption is in Windsor and Essex County areas, which ironically is the last region to enter Stage 3. Maybe, it’s the Vernors.
Images courtesy of: Armando Terra