Tuesday, February 24, 2009

drinks from the chateau

Chateau Dry Soft Drinks
Today's entry is a rewrite/update of one of the earliest posts on this site. Apologies to anyone with long memories.

One of the joys of researching the pieces I write for other sites is stumbling upon pieces of my past that share the page with the topic I'm supposed to be writing about. The latest popped up while digging through stories and ads for the Grand Union/Steinberg's/Miracle Food Mart piece I recently posted on Torontoist.

Proof at last that Chateau cola existed!

My father used to bring cases of Chateau cola home from our local A&P - he really enjoyed guzzling it, probably due to the ultra sugar rush it provided. Chateau was an anachronism, being the only pop I remember that required a can opener to get at the ultra-syrupy liquid inside—let other soft drink makers include frills like tabs or push buttons. Punching holes into the can was appropriate, as the cola had the viscosity of motor oil. This was a small blessing, as it meant I couldn't bring any to school.

The taste was sickly sweet, close to pure syrup. It was the kind of stuff that could give a kid a psychedelic experience, like that episode of The Simpsons where Bart and Millhouse down pure syrup Squishees. There were other flavours that were closer to standard sodas—the ginger ale was watery but OK, while I don't recall what orange and grape were like.

But Dad liked it and it was cheap, so we drank it.

Based on a flip through online Toronto newspaper archives, Chateau Dry was regularly placed on sale by a variety of grocery chains (mostly A&P, IGA and Miracle Food Mart) from 1979 to 1988, usually at $3.99 per case of 24. The brand name did not turn up outside of ads and internet searches haven't turned up a manufacturer or any other information.

Mysteries to be solved another day...

Image excerpted from a Miracle Food Mart ad that appeared in the October 16, 1982 edition of The Globe and Mail - JB

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