Soda Museums
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Celebrate America’s Iconic Soft Drinks at 7 Unique Museums Across the Country

America has a fascinating beverage history, brimming with iconic drinks that have delighted taste buds for generations. If you’re a fan of soft drinks or simply enjoy exploring unique aspects of American culture, then visiting some of the best drink museums across the country should definitely be on your itinerary.

Here’s a curated list of must-visit drink museums that offer a glimpse into the effervescent world of America’s favorite beverages.

Dr. Pepper Museum-Texas
Dr. Pepper Museum | photo via lenscreek

Dr. Pepper Museum

Waco, Texas

Nestled in the heart of Waco, the Dr. Pepper Museum celebrates the history of America’s oldest major soft drink. This museum is housed in the original 1906 Dr. Pepper bottling plant. Visitors can enjoy three floors of exhibits, a working old-fashioned soda fountain, and a gift shop. Don’t miss the Liquid Laboratory where you can watch demonstrations of how this beloved beverage is made.

Highlights of the Museum:

  • Exhibits: The museum’s exhibits explore the history of Dr. Pepper and the soft drink industry, featuring a wide array of memorabilia from vintage advertising to bottling equipment. Visitors can learn about the unique origins of Dr. Pepper, which was created in 1885 by pharmacist Charles Alderton.
  • Liquid Laboratory: The Liquid Laboratory offers live demonstrations on the production of soda, including the science behind the carbonation and flavoring processes. These interactive presentations provide insight into the chemistry of soft drinks.
  • Soda Fountain: A major highlight is the museum’s authentic old-fashioned soda fountain. Here, visitors can experience what soda fountains were like in the early 20th century and taste Dr. Pepper made according to the original recipe, with cane sugar.
  • Gift Shop: The museum also features a gift shop where visitors can purchase a variety of Dr. Pepper memorabilia, including vintage-style signs, clothing, and collectibles.
  • Events and Education: The Dr. Pepper Museum also hosts educational programs and special events throughout the year, which often include tasting events, temporary exhibits on various aspects of pop culture and the soft drink industry, and workshops.
Pepsi Store North Carolina
Pepsi Store | photo via thewileywolves

Pepsi Store

New Bern, North Carolina

Originally known as “Brad’s Drink,” Pepsi was created in the late 19th century by pharmacist Caleb Bradham. The Pepsi Store in New Bern, housed in the very location where Pepsi was first invented, serves as a nostalgic tribute to this globally recognized soda. The store features historical memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and of course, plenty of Pepsi for tasting.

Highlights of the Pepsi Store:

  • Historic Site: The store is a part of the building where Pepsi was created, making it a historical landmark. Visitors can feel a sense of connection to the origins of one of the world’s most famous soft drinks.
  • Memorabilia and Exhibits: Inside, the store features a museum-like setting with exhibits that detail the history of Pepsi and its evolution. There are numerous pieces of memorabilia, including vintage advertisements, bottles, and other Pepsi-related artifacts that trace the brand’s growth over the years.
  • Interactive Displays: The store includes interactive areas where visitors can learn more about the history of Pepsi through engaging and educational displays. This makes the visit enjoyable and informative for people of all ages.
  • Merchandise: As expected, the Pepsi Store offers a wide range of Pepsi merchandise. This includes everything from branded apparel and accessories to unique collectibles that are not available elsewhere.
  • Tasting Area: Although not a full-fledged soda fountain, the store usually offers samples of Pepsi products, giving visitors a taste of the classic drink as well as some of its newer and regional variations.
World of Coca-Cola-Atlanta
World of Coca-Cola | photo via carlafreire79

World of Coca-Cola

Atlanta, Georgia

The World of Coca-Cola, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is an immersive museum and exhibition dedicated to the globally iconic Coca-Cola brand. This attraction is situated near Centennial Olympic Park, in the heart of downtown Atlanta, and offers a multifaceted experience that appeals to Coca-Cola enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.

Highlights of the World of Coca-Cola:

  • The Lobby: As visitors enter, they are greeted by a large Coca-Cola bottle chandelier and several “Coke bottle” artworks, setting the theme for what’s to come.
  • The Loft: This area houses a variety of historical advertisements, artifacts, and multimedia presentations that trace the brand’s history from its invention in 1886.
  • The Vault of the Secret Formula: Perhaps the most intriguing exhibit, this vault purportedly holds the only copy of the secret formula for Coca-Cola. The exhibit around the vault provides an interactive multimedia experience that dives into the myths and lore surrounding one of the world’s most guarded trade secrets.
  • Bottle Works: This exhibit simulates Coca-Cola’s bottling process on a smaller scale, showing the detailed process of bottling in a factory setting. It provides a behind-the-scenes look at the operational intricacies of bottling Coca-Cola.
  • 4-D Theater: The 4-D theater offers a unique cinematic experience with 3D glasses plus moving seats, which features a short film that takes viewers on a fun and thrilling journey exploring the magic of the secret formula.
  • Taste It!: This is a favorite among visitors where you can sample over 100 different Coca-Cola beverages from around the world. From the popular to the obscure, this tasting experience is a delightful exploration of flavors.
  • Milestones of Refreshment: This exhibit showcases the history of The Coca-Cola Company in an engaging timeline that includes vintage bottles, old vending machines, and other memorabilia.
  • The Coca-Cola Polar Bear: Meet and take photos with the beloved Coca-Cola Polar Bear, offering a fun photo op for families and fans of all ages.
  • Coca-Cola Store: Before exiting, visitors can explore the expansive Coca-Cola Store, which offers a wide range of merchandise including limited edition products, clothing, and other unique branded items.
Moxie Museum-Maine
Moxie Museum | photo via moxiehistory

Moxie Museum

Union, Maine

The Moxie Museum, housed within the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage in Union, Maine, is dedicated to celebrating Moxie, one of the oldest soft drinks in the United States. Moxie was originally patented as a medicinal concoction in 1885 by Dr. Augustin Thompson and later popularized as a distinctive soft drink known for its unique bittersweet flavor, which comes from gentian root extract.

Highlights of the Moxie Museum:

  • Moxie Memorabilia: The museum features an extensive collection of Moxie memorabilia, including vintage advertising, original bottles, and various promotional items that highlight the drink’s long history and cultural significance.
  • Interactive Exhibits: Visitors can interact with exhibits that explain the origins of Moxie, its development as a commercial beverage, and its quirky marketing strategies over the decades, which helped the brand maintain a cult following.
  • Moxie’s Vintage Vehicles: Among the most notable exhibits are the vintage Moxie delivery trucks and a horse-drawn Moxie delivery wagon, which give insights into the historical distribution and marketing of the drink.
  • The Moxie Horsemobile: One of the more unusual pieces is the Moxie Horsemobile, a car with a life-size model horse attached, which was used for promotional purposes in the early 20th century.
  • Annual Moxie Festival: While not part of the museum itself, the town of Lisbon, Maine, close to Union, hosts the annual Moxie Festival every July. The festival includes parades, car shows, and plenty of Moxie tasting, celebrating the legacy and ongoing appeal of this unique beverage.

Kool-Aid Exhibit at Hastings Museum

Hastings, Nebraska

The Kool-Aid Exhibit in Hastings Museum commemorates the invention of Kool-Aid in this very town by Edwin Perkins in 1927. The exhibit is a colorful journey through the history of this fun drink, complete with original marketing and merchandise that will stir up some sweet childhood memories.

Highlights of the Kool-Aid Exhibit:

  • Historical Artifacts: The exhibit features a variety of artifacts related to the history of Kool-Aid, including original marketing materials, packaging, and memorabilia. These pieces help tell the story of how Kool-Aid grew from a local invention into a national phenomenon.
  • Interactive Displays: Visitors can interact with various displays that explain the science behind the drink, including how Kool-Aid is made and how its marketing strategies have evolved over the years. The exhibit is educational and engaging for all ages, providing insights into the brand’s impact on popular culture.
  • Edwin Perkins’ Original Equipment: One of the key attractions is the original equipment used by Edwin Perkins to create Kool-Aid. This includes tools and machines from the early days of its production, offering a tangible link to the drink’s humble beginnings.
  • Annual Kool-Aid Days Festival: While not part of the exhibit itself, the city of Hastings celebrates Kool-Aid with an annual festival known as Kool-Aid Days. This event features games, activities, and endless Kool-Aid, drawing visitors and fans from across the country to celebrate the drink’s heritage.
  • Gift Shop: The museum’s gift shop offers a range of Kool-Aid-themed merchandise, from vintage-style memorabilia to modern paraphernalia, allowing visitors to take a piece of the colorful history home with them.
The Soda Museum-Missouri
The Soda Museum | photo via thesodamuseum

The Soda Museum & Main Street Arcade

St. Charles, Missouri

For those who can’t get enough of fizzy delights, The Soda Museum, on the upper level of the Main Street Arcade, offers an array of exhibits related to various soda brands through the decades. Located in the Midwest, this museum offers a cozy, nostalgic experience with a collection that includes vintage ads, bottles, and machines.

World’s Largest Sweet Tea-South Carolina
World’s Largest Sweet Tea | photo via k1kwg

World’s Largest Sweet Tea

Summerville, South Carolina

While not a museum, the World’s Largest Sweet Tea in Summerville, South Carolina, deserves a mention for its monumental tribute to the South’s favorite refreshment. The giant sweet tea glass stands over 15 feet tall and can hold up to 2,524 gallons of sweet tea. It’s a fun photo opportunity and a testament to the cultural significance of sweet tea in the Southern United States.

Sip & Savor the Best of America’s Soft Drinks

Each of these destinations offers a unique slice of Americana and a refreshing look at the soft drinks that have become a part of American life. Whether you’re a soda enthusiast or just looking for an offbeat travel experience, these drink museums promise a delightful journey through history, culture, and the art of beverage making.