Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Green River

The post about Angelo's prompted a discussion of pop and, specifically, Green River:

Pat McFarlane

I was filled with nostalgia when I saw pop listed on the beverage line. Soda will always be pop to me. Speaking of drinks does anyone remember a small drugstore on Lewis St. near McDonald Dairy that had a fountain drink called a Green River. I think the owner lived above the store.

Mary said...

I'm not familiar with the drugstore you mentioned, but I loved Green Rivers. I used to get them at Underhill's on Flushing Road. I've never seen them anywhere else.

Here's the Green River story, courtesy of The Soda Depot:

"Green River soda was introduced to Midwestern drinkers in 1919, just as Congress was passing the 18th Amendment establishing Prohibition. When Prohibition officially went into affect on January 16, 1920, some breweries turned to making a nonalcoholic drink call Near Beer, while others were churning out ice cream. The Schoenhofen Edelweiss Brewing Company of Chicago turned to Green River. The soda was poured into old beer bottles and sold in the market. It was an immediate hit. The soft drink was so popular that Al Jolson recorded a song written about Green River.

"By the end of Prohibition on December 5, 1933, Green River trailed only Coke in fountain sales throughout the Midwest. However, after Prohibition the brewery made Green River a second priority and sales dropped. In 1950 the brewery went broke and closed in 1950.

"In 1992 after a raft of owners, the 73 year old brand was alive only in Seattle. Now Green River is on the rise again. Clover Club Bottling Co., Inc. an 85 year old company, with partners, Ed Kennelly and Joe Troy, bought the brand and are expanding its bottler network. The company has its own trucks, distributing in (4) counties around Chicagoland, and has distributors in (4) states at present. This year Kennelly and Troy, both of whom have 30 + years in the soft drink industry, hope to sign (20) additional distributors and double their distribution. Green River is available in 2 Liters, 1 Liter, 20 oz, cans, 12 oz bottles and postmix. A diet version is also available.

"So why is Green River coming back now? According to Kennelly, 'There is no other flavor like it on the market, and it has visual appeal with its bright green color. The brand takes people back to a pleasant time in their life, in the 1950's and 1960's — a time of corner soda fountains and drive-in movies. At first only the old timers were buying, but now everyone is. We get (50 to 60) calls a week from all over the Country from people looking to buy Green River.'"


  1. huh... you learn something new everyday... great reporting, Gordie. :)

  2. Well, I wouldn't exactly call this reporting, but it was certainly energetic googling, followed by deft cutting and pasting.

    But I'm with you on learning something new. I'd never even heard of Green River, and at one time it was second only to Coke.

  3. I never heard of Green River either, but I'm sure my parents would know of it. What I do remember is getting a kind of grape pop that came in a small and more slender bottle. I want to call it a "grape knee-hi," but I think I may be mixing that up with the drink of choice Radar reminisces about on old M*A*S*H* episodes. It wasn't one of the big names like Faygo, either. Even when I was small it was a rarity, though in the more remote places where I'd stumble across it my dad would always comment on it from his youth. It wasn't Grape Crush either. Anybody have a suggestion?

  4. redgirl,
    how about Nu-Grape ??

    green river doesn't ring a bell, but....i do remember the Soda Pop Shoppe....there was one on Ballenger just north of Courana and it was a small store with nothing but pop, all colors and flavors stacked up in long neck glass(of course) bottles. you could mix and match and it was sold by the case of 24 bottles. This was no ordinary shop it was a Shoppe.

    Also M&S seemed to be another popular regional favorite.

    I can remember one of my buddies buying a couple of cans of Zing a non alcholic beer from Westside Mkt. we thought we could start our training with Zing....yeah right.

  5. Remember M&M flavors? Anybody? I remember a house (I think they were distributors) that used to hand out that pop on Halloween but we had to drink it right there on their porch so they could collect the bottles. It was in a neighborhood near Anderson Elementary. Seneca? Winona? Do you know how hard it is for a little girl to guzzle down a pop while anticipating candy from the other houses on the block?

  6. Sorry, don't know the mystery grape drink. But I remember getting grape crush out of the vending machine at the old Flint Tennis club. The vending machine was the kind with the door where you pulled out the bottle. I loved grape crush. :)

  7. The grape "pop" might have been M&S which stood for Michigan Supreme. Does anyone out there remember the Foodlane Stores in the south end?

  8. Actually, there was Towne Club... I may have spelled it wrong, but they were out of Detroit.

  9. yeah, right M&S, not M&M. Thanks for updating my memory.

  10. I remember the Soda Pop Shoppe! Don't recall the grape soda in question, though. Er, I mean the grape pop ... There was a garden shoppe on the corner of Court & Dort (I still think of it as the garden "shop-ee").

    On another totally unrelated note except it's also about liquid beverages ... are there any Starbucks stores in Flint?

  11. yeah, soda pop shoppe, by Blonden's paint store if memory serves. not too far from the 5 and dime across corunna. Dr. Sigafus was right up there, too. And of course Bill Duke's Barbershop on down towards Zimmerman. Saw a very nasty suicide next door one year. I sure don't remember Green River Maples Collision still on Corunna? They were next door to us at Cusenza's Villa Capri...

  12. oh dear. I meant to say either "liquids" or "beverages," not both!

    Anyway, there also was some kind of store there that sold supplies for making wine at home. My boyfriend worked there. Or was that the same place as the soda pop shoppe? I seem to remember a lot of soda pop in there ... also a pet store, where we bought my one and only dog.

    Hey, and that grocery store on the corner of Ballenger and Corunna, which was the only place I could find Faygo Rock & Rye.

    Sometimes I think I find Flint more interesting than here, where I live! Thanks, Gordie.

  13. The Soda Pop Shoppe sold beverages made by the Owosso Bottling Works in Owosso. The plant is long gone as is the old Buckler Beverage plant on Lapeer Road where a Coca-Cola distribution warehouse is now adjacent to the bottling plant.

  14. Yes, Maples is still there.

  15. How about a peach Nehi? There was also a Nehi Grape.

  16. Thanks JL. Debby Maples was a Cutie, and I had a crush on her in jr. high, Zimmerman. Wasn't the grocery at Ballenger and Corunna, a Hammady's? or were they on down towards Zimmerman? I remember Your pet store Gillian, think I bought feeder fish from them. On the south side of Corunna, there was Amon's Hardware(with the 1st jackalope I ever saw), the Meat Market, which always smelled like sawdust and fresh beef. it was a huge treat when Dad would buy us a case of soda from the Soda Pop Shoppe, and we had to RETURN THE BOTTLES! a startling new concept at the time, kinda. there were deposit refunds on some bottles, but not all, if memory serves. Let's see...Mr. Beauchamp, who taught at Zimmerman also, had a hardware store halfway between Zimmerman and Amon Bros. store, and I bought a churchkey there, to protect myself when Southwestern was having trouble in the early '70's. If Teen Club wasn't happening(was it ever?), me and the rest of the "Black Crows" as Mom called us, would hang out at Clancy Park. We all wore Navy peacoats back then, with black jeans and black pocket tshirts, bought from that new store, KMart on Miller Rd. Herman Jackson, who played bass for Grand Funk for a bit, stamped groceries there. man, Gordy, this blog is dredging up some hairy memories for me!

  17. Just found the Expat site this morning and am having fun reading everything! I moved from Flint to Grand Blanc (home of WTAC)in my youth and remember riding my Schwinn out to the station, wandering in and being given free records, probably just to get me out the door!

    And Grumkin, I am still a member of the Flint Tennis Club, which has changed very little although the old pop machine is gone.

    I'll be back, and am sending the link to my sister!

  18. The drugstore mentioned in the opening comments probably was McInnes' Drug Store on the corner of Lewis and Broadway. McInnes' had a soda fountain. It was across Broadway from my doctor's office, Dr Bateman. There was a theatre on Broadway just behind the drug store, but I can't remember the theatre name. There was also a dentist office right there, Dr Goode. I could almost name each business along Lewis, rode bikes around there all the time in the 60's, but now wouldn't feel safe in that neighborhood.

  19. I just found Green River at VG's on Corunna & Linden Rds. Tastes just the way I remember it did.


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