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Lovit Soft Drinks from Fitger’s

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I read that Fitger’s made soft drinks during prohibition, but this wooden case I found doesn’t look all that old. Does anyone know when they stopped making soda?

4 Comments

Paul Lundgren

about 4 years ago

There is an abstract on the Maryland Historical Society website that seems to indicate the Crown Cork and Seal Company of Baltimore was still making bottle caps for Fitger's Lovit Orangeade in 1945.

Christian Olsen

about 4 years ago

I believe it was made into the 1950s. Fitger's bottled other carbonated beverages through the 1960s.

Paul Lundgren

about 4 years ago

Lovit from Rex CoThe book Fitger's: The Brewery and its People notes that Lovit was originally a brand of the Rex Company, formerly Duluth Brewing and Malting Company. Fitger's acquired Rex's beverage division, the Sobriety Company, in 1930.

Fitger's had been producing its own soft drinks since 1918, mostly dispensed by the glass at drugstore counters. It was in 1921 that Fitger's, desperate to retain employees during Prohibition, bought Duluth's Purity Candy Company and began selling 10-cent candy bars and selling soft drinks by the six-ounce bottle.

As Clarence "Coopen" Johnson writes in his book:

The soft drinks offered myriad flavors that often changed. In addition to the usual flavors of grape, orange and strawberry, Fitger's bottled Imitation Chocolate Milk Shake, Black Calf, Black Cow, Imitation Cherry Flip, Ginger Ale, Grape High Ball, Lemon Soda, Lime Rickey, Raspberry Punch, Strawberry Fizz and Carbonated Water.
The first success was Extra Dry, which came out in 1924 and was advertised as having "the taste and sparkle of champagne." It was rebranded as Silver Spray in 1925 and became, according to Johnson, "Fitger's most popular and widespread product ever."

Paul Lundgren

about 4 years ago

Then came the Rex acquisition and along with it a big boost in soda production.

From that purchase, the Fitger Company received title to labels such as Minnesota Club Ginger Ale, the Lovit pop line, the Rex and Royal Brew cereal beverages, the Moose label, and other brands, bottles, and equipment. ... In addition, Fitger's came out with three new products -- a citrus drink called "Lindy Julep," a carbonated water called "Kitchi Gammi," and a ginger ale, another carbonated water, and a lime rickey under the brand name "Isle Royale," which was very popular. ... After Prohibition's repeal, Fitger's focused all its attention on beer. The company essentially abandoned Silver Spray, but did not sell the name or formula. Fitger's produced Silver Spray for the local market for about ten more years and thereafter brewed at least one batch of Silver Spray a year to protect their copyright until the mid 1960s.
In the mid-1930s a garage on the Michigan Street level of Fitger's was converted to the Pop Shop, where Lovit and other Fitger's soft drinks were made and bottled. (Fun fact: Fitger's owned the regional franchise for Squirt in the 1930s, but passed on the opportunity to buy the Coca-Cola territory for Duluth, Two Harbors and Cloquet.) Johnson's book vaguely references 1969 as about the time the Pop Shop was closed "without any attempt to sell the Squirt or Lovit franchises."

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