To this distributor, glass-bottled soda is the real thing


July 03, 2002|By Sara Engram | Sara Engram,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Danny Ginsburg's early fascination with bottle caps led him to some memorable flavor adventures. Now 37, Ginsburg fondly recalls his first taste of birch beer at a general store in upstate New York on a visit to see his grandmother.

Back in Los Angeles, his hometown, sodas came in plastic bottles or aluminum cans, offering nothing like the taste and feel of drinking a good soda from a cold glass bottle on a warm summer day.

Ginsburg had to wait until he had a driver's license and could drive around the countryside before he could find significant numbers of bottle caps. Eventually, he would amass a bottle-cap collection second only to one belonging to two Danish brothers noted in the Guinness World Records.

But should Ginsburg want to double his 5.2 million cap collection, all he would have to do is buy all the sodas his company distributed last year - some 370,000 cases.

The company, Real Soda, was fueled by the discoveries he made on those bottle-top-collecting trips, as well as Ginsburg's conviction that plenty of people were as turned off as he was by the plastic-bottle, mass-market soda scene.

Marketing first to fellow students, friends and to the public at events like street fairs, he found a niche and now has a customer base ranging from movie stars who want to stock the old-fashioned soda machines in their retro " '50s rooms" to retailers who like offbeat brands on their shelves.

Ginsburg scours the country for old or unusual soda brands. Sometimes, he finds that the syrup is available, but nobody is bottling the drink. In that case, he arranges to have the soda bottled and brought back to market through Real Soda.

Most retail outlets for Real Soda are on the West Coast, but East Coast soda buffs can occasionally find them in stores, or they can order online from

Real Soda's mission is to provide the kind of beverage experience that convinced so many earlier generations that good soda is one of life's great taste treats.

If you're tired of the usual soda choices or if you've never experienced the treat of a tasty soda from a glass bottle, Real Soda is eager to help you discover tastes and choices you might remember from a long-ago childhood, along with some new flavors you probably never imagined.

The company sells everything from "handcrafted small and large batch one-of-a-kind sodas" to the kinds of drinks that date back to the late 1800s, when soda was invented. Real Soda sells single bottles, six-packs, cases and mixed orders.

You can get a bottle of Red Hot Ginger Ale by Blenheim's for $1.49, Original Birch Beer by Boylan's for 99 cents, Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray for 99 cents, Cherry-Lime Rickey by WHOOPEE for 99 cents and plenty of others. Whether your tastes run to colas, fruity sodas or birch and ginger beers, Real Soda has it covered.

It's all there because Danny Ginsburg thinks all sodas should come out of cold glass bottles with pry-off caps. The glass should be returnable, he says, and the thicker the glass, the better the insulation.

"There's something nice about a big, thick bottle," he says - a sentiment echoed in the company's motto:

"The best drinks in life come in bottles."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.