The Phantom That Was Rondo Cola
Tracing the Roots of a Product
Starting with the remembrance of the maker of this Hub request, Aya Katz, I contacted Coca-Cola Company and their products division.
After researching my query, Coca-Cola Company send me a message. Greg in the Industry and Consumer Affairs Department reported that Rondo has not been a product of the Coca-Cola Company.
I was referred to the American Beverage Association.
Meanwhile, I found old newspaper clippings about Rondo and the reports of some former drinkers of Rondo Cola and will share all of these with you here.
Rondo - The Thirst Cruncher
Who Made Rondo?
The American Beverage Association (ABA) recognizes the Big Three of carbonated soft drinks as The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Cadbury Schweppes' Americas Beverages. Further, they state that the three produced one Flagship Soda each, in this order Coke, Pepsi, and Dr Pepper the 19th century. No mention is made on their soft drink history page of Rondo.
The ABA as a group is a trade association for non-alcoholic beverage makers and distributors, as well as related industry sectors, since 1919. Their 21st century initiatives include healthy beverages, clean water, and recycling, among others.
November 11, 1978 -- Schweppes Aims Rondo at U.S. Thirsts; Exhaustive Testing
-- The New York Times, column headline. : Business & Finance, Page 29, author Robert D. Hersey, Jr.
As of 11/11/1978, it was reported that Rondo was outselling Coca-Cola in cans in Kansas City. The president of Schweppes, John B. On (?) stated that Schweppes tested the drink the called Rondo for two years and then went "all-out" in marketing the product.
Thus, Schweppes, or Cadbury-Schweppes now, created Rondo Cola. The beverage was sold and marketed beginning in 1978 and into the early to mid 1980s, according to the memories of individuals that enjoyed it. The most recetn report I have found of it on a store shelf in America is 1983 in Denver, Colorado. Barring any future reports to the contrary, it seems Rondo lasted from 1978 through 1983, or about 5 years.
Sample Memories of the Phantom, Rondo:
Military Veteran- We drank so many cans, we built a towering pyramid of empties in our transient barracks quarters...Rondo...perfect compliment to a "San Francisco burrito" of beans, rice, meat, salsa and cheese in a large flour tortilla, all wrapped in foil. [Note: sounds like Chipotle restaurant!]
Adult Male -- "Rondo - The Thirst Crusher" (advertising slogan). It was less carbonated "so you could slam it down fast!" (another slogan). A couple of those, a Marathon bar (candy), and playing Star Castle (video game) in 7-11 is how I spent my 'tween years.
Australia - Rondo is called Solo now. Solo is common in Australia. Some consumers remember Solo as early as 1973 in Australia.
Australia - The US makes Coolah Energy with the slogan "Energy From Down Under" and claims Solo to be the energy drink's inspiration. Coolah Energy is a Dr. Pepper product. It's over $2.00 per can in 2008.
Cartoonist Jeff Swenson - "On the can I see: Cadbury Pty Ltd in Australia, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper/Seven Up." Reference: http://www.swensonfunnies.com/soda_wars/coolahenergy_review.php Retrieved September 9, 2008. [Note: It sounds like all of the Big Three contributed to this one.]
- Rondo was last seen in Denver, Colorado by one gentleman around 1983.
- Light flavored, Citrus soda-I would chug the stuff all day when I was around 11 or 12.
- A male skier in a commercial skiied on grass and then drank a Rondo and crushed the can shouting "Rondo - The Thirst Crusher."
- As kids in Northern Ireland we bought a can of Coke and a can of Fanta Orange and mix them to make Muddy Ducks. OK Soda (from Coca-Cola for a few monts in 1994) is a Muddy Duck. [Note - some think this is also Rondob but rodo was lemon, not orange.]
- Rondo gave away mini-Frisbees with the rondo logo on them.
- One Rondo commercial featured an Asian martial artist practicing staff technique in a stream, chugging a rondo and shouting the Rondo slogan.
- Nuns in a Catholic school objected to the black and yellow Rondo can, because it looked like a beer can.
- One collector has an original 12-oz bottle from Rondo and a Rondo belt buckle he found on EBay.
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