Green River (soft drink)

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A bottle of Green River

Green River is a bright green, lime-flavored soft drink which originated in Chicago. It was created by the Schoenhofen Edelweiss Brewing Company in 1919, and is currently manufactured by WIT Beverage Company.[1]


The Schoenhofen Brewery in 2007

Green River soda was first introduced in 1919, by the Schoenhofen Edelweiss Brewing Company of Chicago. Prior to 1920, the brewery produced the popular Edelweiss beer. Schoenhofen began manufacturing Green River and other soft drinks in order to survive the Prohibition Era.[2] It was also made by the Sweetwater Brewery in Green River, Wyoming.

It was popular as a soda fountain syrup, trailing only Coca-Cola in popularity throughout the Midwest.[3] After Prohibition ended in 1933, the Schoenhofen Brewery continued to manufacture Green River, while resuming the production of alcoholic beverages. The Brewery closed in 1950.[3]

The Green River brand continued to be produced by other manufacturers after the closing of Schoenhofen Edelweiss. Green River's current manufacturer, WIT Beverage Company, acquired the brand in 2011.[4]

Green River is frequently marketed as a nostalgia item, and its sales increase in March due to the association of the color green with St. Patrick's Day.[5] While not widely commercially available, it can be purchased at some Chicago area restaurants and retailers.[6]

In pop culture[edit]

Green River served with a hamburger and french fries

Early 20th century entertainer Eddie Cantor, while with the Ziegfeld Follies of 1918, penned a jingle for the soft drink entitled "Green River." The ditty was performed by Cantor and the singing duo, Van and Schenck.[7] The refrain was:

For a drink that's fine without a kick,
Try Green River,
It's the only soft drink you should pick,
Try Green River.

The name of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song (and album) Green River was inspired by the drink according to John Fogerty.[8] During an early 1966 performance at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, which became the live album Sinatra at the Sands, Sinatra mentions that Edward Bowes, whom he referred to as a "pompous bum with a bulbous nose", was particularly fond of the drink, and describes Green River as so strong that it would "take the paint off the deck" if you owned a ship, and was "59 cents a gallon, baby".[9]

The drink is shown being poured by the band Smith Westerns in their "Weekend" video.