Green River soda was introduced to Midwestern drinkers in 1919, just as Congress was passing the 18th Amendment establishing Prohibition. When Prohibition officially went into effect on January 16, 1920, some breweries turned to making nonalcoholic drinks, while others were churning out ice cream. The Schoenhofen Edelweiss Brewing Company of Chicago turned to Green River in late 1919 as a non-alcoholic product. The Schoenhofen Brewery resided in the Pilsen neighborhood at 18th and Canalport. Two of the remaining original 17 buildings can still be found at that location. It was popular as a soda fountain syrup, trailing only Coca-Cola in popularity throughout the Midwest. However, after Prohibition ended in 1933 the Schoenhofen Brewery made Green River a second priority to alcoholic drinks. The Brewery then closed in 1950.
It is frequently marketed as a nostalgia item and can be found in some Chicago area restaurants such as Schoop's Hamburgers, Miller's Pub, Eleven City Dinner, Uncle Harry's Ice Cream Shop (served as a Green River Freeze) Scooby's Red Hots, BOZ Hot Dogs, Trattoria Demi, Smashburger, Pepe's, and all Hackney's locations or more generally in supermarkets during the days leading up to St. Patrick's Day.
The ingredients of the drink currently are: Filtered Carbonated water, Cane sugar, citric acid, natural lime flavors, natural lemon flavors, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, yellow #5, and blue #1. There is also a diet version, without sugar.