Friday, December 16, 2011

The Duke Rises

Proof that Indian soft drinks are better than any other
 Dukes is the 100+ year old soft drink brand, perhaps best known for its club soda and lemonade flavor. Ginger and Raspberry were their other well known flavors. I think Mangola was also a Dukes product and far superior to Frooti (shite) and Slice, perhaps Tango was also their brand but i could be wrong.

Image Courtesy : Parsi Khabar

Very easy to sport by their distinctive spiral ridged bottles, which lined up in their array of colors, looked like the remnants of an acid trip. Dukes survived for a long time up until Pepsico bought them out and narrowed down the product line, pushing their crappy products against indigenous goodies (Coca Cola tried to strangle Thums Up as well but couldn't do it)

While Pallonji's and Rogers continued to be available locally, at Parsi weddings and Irani joints, Dukes slowly became invisible (i am a sworn capitalist but some of these MNC's have more muscle than brains)  Personally, my office is located near an old Dukes distirbutor and one of my memories as a kid was to walk by there look wide eyed at the crates of different flavors of Dukes stacked up to the ceiling.

Later, somewhere in the mid 90s post the Pepsi takeover, my grandfather was in talks to buy out a Dukes factory located at Lamington Road, i got a chance to walk across the plant, it wasn't huge or anything and it was sad to see everything given to decay and rust. I was quite excited about him buying it but it was not to be, in any case it would have turned into a building and he definitely was not going to become a soft drinks purveyor.

Liquid psychedelia anyone?

So, imagine my excitement when i heard that Pepsi was relaunching Dukes and throwing in a Masala Soda as well for good measure. Perhaps Pepsi is atoning for well.. Pepsi. Although the news broke in November, only the PET bottles were seen here and there, until finally i walked down to the dealer and life sort of came a full circle (in this context) and i ordered a crate. No Raspberry yet but have been promised i can pick em up by Saturday.

240 INR for the crate, not a bad deal. Haven't had any yet, washed the bottles in water and put them in the fridge, will wait until the raspberry's are here. Now that Dukes is back.. next ought to be the  most nostalgic bevvie brand of them all...

The Zing Thing Gold Spot (Coca Cola.. are you listening)


Aaftabj said...

Tango was a Duke's brand. And Pepsico transitioned Mangola into Slice, via a step by step change in the labeling. Sadly, they also watered it down and made it with a weaker mango formula. It is no longer Duke's Mangola from the 90's.

Gaurav said...

Hi Aaftab,

Tango was also mango wasn't it? or was it Mango with something else? Wonder why they had Mangola and Tango.. or maybe Tango was replaced by Mangola?

Slice is just sludge. I think we really did have a great selection of drinks up until Coke & Gang showed up..

The knife said...

and gold spot jungle book crowns too

Anonymous said...

Who and where is this dealer ?!?! I have been desperately looking for Duke's Ginger and Masala Soda, without any luck

Gaurav said...

this was in Lamington Road near my office. where are you based ?

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