663: Fizz by Tristan Donovan

by Gerard


663.62: Donovan, Tristan. Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2013. 230 pp. ISBN 978-1-61374-722-3.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 660: Chemical engineering and related technologies
  • 663: Beverage technology
  • 663.6: Nonalcoholic beverages
  • 663.62: Carbonated and mineralized beverages

Ever since Jean Jacob Schweppe started charging a nominal fee for his sparkling mineral water in the 1780s, the paying public has never been able to get enough soda. Mix together a flavoring agent and some carbonated water and you have yourself a tasty (and potentially profitable) treat. In the beginning, sodas were marketed as cure-alls for whatever ailed you. In Fizz, Tristan Donovan compiles a well-written history of the creation, marketing, and consumption of sodas. Starting with Joseph Priestley’s experiments with adding carbon dioxide to water and ending with the complex science behind Red Bull, we get the full range of soda and soda-esque beverages throughout history. There are the classic Pemberton’s Coca-Cola versus Thomson’s Moxie versus Bradham’s Pepsi wars, and the ascension of sodas during both Prohibition and the World Wars, but Donovan goes deeper to look at soda’s impact on global trade, domestic food laws, and the social landscape. There’s also a fair amount on the almost-constant corporate espionage between Coke and Pepsi. The bibliography is decent and thorough, the writing fluid, and the story mildly compelling. A good and interesting read.