Classic Taste For Contemporary Clients

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Classic Taste For Contemporary Clients



The heritage roots of Muskoka Dry Pale Ginger Ale are still reflected in its unique flavour, but new distribution methods are keeping pace with modern technology, with online ordering and shipping now available.


The vintage beverage almost disappeared for some years; but, thanks to the vision of two entrepreneurs, it reclaimed its place of distinction in the contemporary beverage market, much to the delight of its many fans. Co-owners of Muskoka Springs at the time, Michael Billinghurst and Terry Galbraith revived the century-old recipe for the original Muskoka Dry Pale Ginger Ale in the mid 1990s. The inimitable tang evokes a sense of nostalgia that is redolent of the timeless simple pleasures of lazy summer days in Muskoka. “It is near and dear to us,” says Michael, “and when cottagers come up, they like to buy it for its taste as much as for the memories it brings back.”


The plant on Gravenhurst’s Bay Street began in the late 19th century when Dougald Brown started bottling water from his Artesian Well for the local resorts, to counteract the pollution of the lakes caused by the logging and tanning industries. Packed in wooden crates, the hand-blown glass bottles were delivered by horse-drawn carts to the tourist camps and hotels springing up throughout Muskoka.


Brown’s Beverages expanded its operations as soft drinks gained popularity in the early 20th century. Brown’s formula for Muskoka Dry became a huge success, which led to several other flavours being produced up until the late ‘70s. At this time, Brown’s stopped bottling Coca-Cola and Muskoka Dry, and it was sent offsite to be made. Lost in a sea of 2-litre plastic bottles, Muskoka Dry disappeared in the early ‘80s.


In the early 1990s, Terry and Michael started Muskoka Springs in the same plant as Brown’s Beverages. As they looked into the history of Muskoka Dry and recognized its potential, they decided to revive it. “We brought it back in 1995,” says Michael. “The nostalgia for classic Canadiana is part of its success, and its popularity reaches far beyond Muskoka now.”


The new packaging strikes the right chord. A case of Muskoka Dry comes in six glass bottles, labelled with a retro-style design, with the original recipe. It is sold throughout the Muskoka/Parry Sound area, as well as fine stores throughout southern Ontario. Muskoka Springs now has a new online store, Customers can now get it anywhere and anytime. Industrial-grade, customized shipping boxes, delivered by courier, ensure that the bottles arrive safely.


Client feedback is resoundingly enthusiastic. Chow Hound contributor BP writes, “Muskoka Dry Pale Ginger Ale is one of the best tasting ginger ales I have ever tasted.” The flavour and effervescence are exceptional, and hosts often choose it as a non-alcoholic beverage to serve at parties. Some aficionados savour the Dry Pale with the same respect that avid wine connoisseurs bring to their pastime. When the bottle is uncapped, the cool flavour greets the nostrils, releasing the scent of botanical extracts. The first sip excites the palate, and a long draught satisfies and refreshes. And Muskoka Springs customers will be very happy to learn that the classic Orange Soda is coming back this summer. Time-honoured taste with a twist of contemporary delivery! CCH