70s, 80s, 90s, Blog, Food, It Came from Canada — July 28, 2017 10:56 am

Pop Shoppe Memories

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Growing up in Ontario, weekends in the 80s were highlighted by a trip to the Pop Shoppe– a store full of pop (or soda) in stubby glass bottles, aisle upon aisle of flavors. You couldn’t dream of a place like this nowadays, which is likely why the Pop Shoppe wasn’t around much in the 90s and early 2000s.

NHL player Eddie Shack even served as a spokesman for the brand back in the day.

Pop Shoppe was an alternative to shelling out the cash for Pepsi and Coke. You’d truck your bottles home in red plastic crates and bring back the empties for refills. It was a little introduction to recycling, although most basements were just full of dusty forgotten bottles.


Each week, we’d go in and pick out our flavors (they had 26 flavors to choose from) my favorites being Lime Ricky and Black Cherry. I didn’t even mind their Grape Pop, until I mixed it with milk for some unknown reason, which ended up turning me off grape flavorings entirely. To go with my pop, I was also allowed to pick out a small bag of Hostess chips from one of the aisle end caps.

When supermarkets began selling their own lines of bargain beverages, the Pop Shoppe’s popularity plummeted and before we knew it, they were gone. But as we’ve all learned (I see you Ecto Cooler, Crystal Pepsi, Surge, Sharkleberry Fin Kool-Aid, Clearly Canadian, and Zima), just because something from your childhood is gone, doesn’t mean it won’t come back.

In 2004, the company started bottling again, so while the Pop Shoppe store doesn’t exist anymore you can find them at grocery stores and even some restaurants. Nothing beats pop from a glass bottle… except for one thing:

For the summer season, the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) is selling Pop Shoppe Hard Cream Soda and… wait for it… Pop Shoppe Lime Ricky Hard Soda! Now all we need is some Black Cherry Hard Soda. Hint. Hint.

Luckily for you, I purchased these and now have a combination buzz/sugar rush going on, so here’s a little look into what these bad boys taste like.

The Pop Shoppe’s Hard Sodas clock in at an impressive 7% ABV, while similar products are on the lower end of the 4-6% range. This is also a vodka beverage, something I’m learning hits me harder than other drinks but here we are.

Pop Shoppe Lime Ricky Hard Soda

As I mentioned, Lime Ricky was one of my favorite Pop Shoppe varieties, so of course I needed to grab a few of these babies.

Whenever I mention Lime Ricky, I’m immediately asked: “What is Lime Ricky?” Which is when I realize that I don’t really know. I just say it’s a lime soda. According to the Internet:

“A refreshing mix of lime juice, fruit or sugar syrup, and seltzer, the lime rickey owes its origin to its alcoholic forefather.”

So, yeah, I guess a lime soda. Stop over-thinking things, just enjoy your Lime Ricky. And that’s exactly what I did. The Pop Shoppe Lime Ricky Hard Soda was refreshing and easily drinkable. Very easily drinkable. The alcohol is nearly undetectable in taste, in fact it actually tastes a lot like what I remember Lime Ricky tasting like (minus the slight hint of alcohol). The borderline neon green hue reminds me of Slimer, and anything that reminds me of Slimer is a-okay in my books. If I were fancier, I’d salt-rim a proper glass and make a ghetto margarita. A++, Pop Shoppe.

Pop Shoppe Hard Cream Soda

As you can see, this is a pink cream soda. It’s really sweet and it hit me a lot harder than the Lime Ricky did. The hyper sweetness mixed with the alcohol makes this a bit cough syrup-y. I’d recommend sticking to just one of these, don’t go in for a second on the same night.

I’m told this does taste just like the original Pop Shoppe version, minus the alcohol, but I didn’t really go for the Pop Shoppe cream soda back in the day so can’t say for sure.

If this one turns out a bit too sweet for your liking, but you still want to get your Hard Cream Soda on, I’d recommend picking up some Crazy Uncle Hard Cream Soda for Grown Ups. It’s a white cream soda and tastes more like white freezies. A smoother, slightly less alcoholic beverage (5% instead of 7%).

Now all we need are some Hostess chips to munch on. On second thought, maybe hold the chips.

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