In 1904, after years of experimenting, McLaughlin produced the perfect formula for his Canada Dry Pale Dry Ginger Ale. McLaughlin worked hard to improve the taste of his favorite: McLaughlin's Belfast Style Ginger Ale. McLaughlin's original label contained a map of Canada along with a beaver. Unfortunately, by that time, the beaver was widely recognized as the symbol of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, whose officials asked McLaughlin to remove it from his label. McLaughlin replaced the beaver with his now well-known crown.
Patented in Toronto in 1907, the drink was introduced to the United States by 1907 and later a favorite of Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire, who referred to Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale as "the Champagne of Ginger Ales." Upon McLaughlin's death in 1914, his brother, Sam, took command of the company increasing U. S. sales. The company set up a subsidiary, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Inc. on 38th Street in Manhattan in 1922 and sold the U. S. segment to Parry Dorland Saylor in 1922 for one million dollars.
Corner drug stores--and soda fountains--were the primary outlet for the carbonated beverage industry. McLaughlin got a jump on his competition by developing early mass bottling techniques, serving Canada Dry where people gathered in large masses, such as ballparks and beaches. Indeed, Canada Dry engineered many innovations and practices subsequently adopted as standards throughout the beverage industry.
P. D. Saylor and Associates, who purchased the entire company from the McLaughlin family, had formed Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Incorporated. Popular demand rapidly outgrew the production capacity of the Manhattan plant, sparking a program of national expansion. It was during this growth that the famous "down from Canada came tales of a wonderful beverage" advertising campaign was born.
During Prohibition, the pleasant taste of ginger ale made it a perfect mixer to mask the taste of home brew. Canada Dry's Roaring '20s were a great success--even at 35 cents for a 12-ounce bottle! The 1930s introduced Canada Dry's Sparkling Water, quickly followed by Tonic Water, Collins Mix and other fruit flavored mixers.
Canada Dry's international expansion resulted, in 1936, the first license awarded to a bottler in Lima, Peru for the manufacture and sale of Canada Dry beverages. By 1939, Canada Dry had plants in 14 countries, as far away as New Zealand.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Canada Dry was began advertising on Radio in both Canada and the United States, sponsoring several popular radio shows of the day. One show in particular-The Jack Benny Show--proved to be a major misstep for both the sponsor and the star. Benny's persistent needling of his sponsor during the show, resulted in Canda Dry pulling out of the project. The Jack Benny Show went on to become one of Radio's longest running and most successful Radio Shows of all time.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Canada Dry was the first of the major soda bottling companies to introduce sugar-free drinks (1954) and put soft drink beverages in cans (1953). In 1970, the company removed the outline map of Canada from its label, leaving the longitude and latitude lines.
The 1980s was a time of several ownership changes. First to Del Monte Corporation, then to Dr Pepper, and Norton-Simon, Inc. A final buyer, Cadbury Schweppes, paid $230 million for the organization. In 1986, Canada Dry was acquired by Cadbury Schweppes, plc. of London. Canada Dry continues under the ownership of Plano, Texas-based Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, the largest non-cola soft drink enterprise in North America and the largest subsidiary of Cadbury Schweppes plc.
When ginger ale was first introduced, it was dark in color and considered by many to be far too sweet. John J. McLaughlin wanted to create a ginger ale that was reminiscent of the "dry" and clear sparkling champagnes of France.
Canada Dry Ginger Ale is the most popular of Canada Dry's products, and probably the most well recognized brand of ginger ale in North America.