Raspberry soda, the Parsi staple that has become a rare beverage

Raspberry soda has been part of the Parsi culture ever since it was bottled in the 1800s. But despite being on the market for such a long time, a majority of the people in our country don't know about its existence. 


There are a number of reasons why this bottled beverage has become rare now. There were two popular brands that manufactured the beverage. Dukes and Pallonji's were a common sight in Parsi homes and eateries. The Parsi community loved this fruity drink. 

Raspberry soda is found at Parsi gatherings, weddings, birthdays and all festivals. Parsi's love this beverage as they say that it helps them douse the spicy food that is served at functions.

It is a known fact that the Parsi community has grown smaller over the years. And so did the demand for Raspberry soda. Manufacturers, reduced their bottling and soon the Raspberry soda started getting replaced by other fizzy drinks like Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

The largest manufacturer of Raspberry Soda, Dukes, was taken over by Pepsi co. in the '90s and eventually the production of their flavoured soda's stopped. 

 

In today's time, Raspberry soda is only available at old Irani-Parsi cafes across Mumbai and convenience stores that are located near Parsi colonies. In 2011, Pepsico announced that it would bring back the Duke's flavoured sodas that included the Raspberry soda but there were no aggressive campaigns to tell people about the comeback of this Parsi classic.

The iconic Dukes bottle outside their factory in Chembur was a popular landmark in the city. The factory was shut down by Pepsico in 2013 and was eventually sold to a construction company for development. In 2017 the Giant soda bottle and the factory were demolished to make way for a highrise complex. 

 

Places like Sodabottleopenerwala and Britania and Co. have decided to keep the Parsi drink alive and often promote these at their outlets.

 

As of now, Pallonji's raspberry soda is the only bottled option that is found in Mumbai. What was once shipped to Parsi colonies and eateries in large quantities has now become a rare commodity and one has to travel all the way to south Mumbai to get a taste of the refreshing, sweet yet tangy beverage.

WRITTEN BY  - Atharva lobo atharvalobo@gmail.com

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