Kofola - Gastro Obscura
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Drinks

Kofola

The sweet-and-sour soda almost disappeared with the collapse of communist rule in then-Czechoslovakia.

During communist rule in what was then Czechoslovakia, beverage companies promoted local (and affordable) alternatives to sodas associated with Western capitalism. Kofola was one such drink.

Flavored with a blend of herbal and fruit extracts, the dark, fizzy brew has a somewhat sweet-and-sour taste. Invented in 1960, Kofola dominated the market during the 1970s and ’80s. But 1989 brought significant upheaval to Czechoslovakia. The nonviolent Velvet Revolution led to the collapse of the communist regime. Four years later, Czechoslovakia would dissolve into two new countries: the Czech Republic (now Czechia) and Slovakia. Along with these political and geographic changes came the reappearance of Western brands. Soon, candy-sweet Coca-Cola and Pepsi edged out the uniquely flavored Kofola, which disappeared from stores.

But Kofola wasn’t finished. A Greek businessman bought the rights to the brand in the mid-1990s and launched a nostalgia-fueled campaign to revive interest in the forgotten soda. His efforts succeeded, and Kofola regained its crown as one of the most popular sodas in Czechia and Slovakia. In addition to the “original” recipe, it now also comes in flavors such as citrus, sugar-free, and sour cherry.

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