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When Were Fizzy Drinks Invented?

When Were Fizzy Drinks Invented?

Fizzy (carbonated) drinks–whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic–have been around since humans learned about the fermentation of foods. Every region on earth has produced some sort of fizzy, fermented drink made with ingredients that were easily accessible to the people of that region. Not surprisingly, every population on earth also figured out how to make alcoholic beverages like beer. In essence, fizzy drinks have been around since before recorded human history.

Fermenting in the Fizziness

In its most simple form, fermentation is the process of breaking down the sugars in foods by keeping them in an anaerobic state (deprived of oxygen). Natural yeasts and bacteria munch the carbohydrates (sugars) in those foods and produce carbon dioxide as a by-product. This is how most traditional alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic fizzy drinks have been made since ancient times. As a side benefit, fermentation not only helped to preserve food when refrigeration was not available, but it also boosts the beneficial bacteria in the gut.

The Evolution of Fizzy Drinks

In modern times, fizzy drinks such as sodas are commercially made by injecting carbon dioxide and flavors into water. Soda originally got its name from the sodium salts used in the earliest carbonated drinks made in the late 1700s, after Joseph Priestley, an Englishman, figured out how to carbonate water in 1767. Fizzy drinks faded in and out of popularity over the decades, but big soda companies really started turning on the spigots in the mid- to late 1800s–companies such as Dr. Pepper, Pepsi-Cola, and Coca-Cola, whose products are still known and enjoyed globally today. Where lacto-fermented sodas–sodas that have fermented in bottles to produce a tangy, slightly sour, and slightly yeasty carbonated drink–do not have a long enough shelf life to be easily sold commercially, major soda producers brew up millions of gallons of shelf-stable fizzy drinks every year.