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Manchester, England

A Monument to Vimto

A giant wooden soda bottle pays homage to a distinctly British drink on the very spot where it was invented. 

Regionally sourced soft drinks like New England’s Moxie or the strongly western American RC Cola tend to inspire fanatical devotion and outright disgust in equal measure and England’s Vitmo is no exception, having its own oversize monument on the site of its creation.

The contentious drink was first invented in 1908 by an herbalist who was looking to gain a foothold in the soft drink market that he foresaw as a product of the temperance movement. Originally marketed as a medicinal tonic jauntily known as “Vim Tonic” which was eventually shortened to the current “Vimto.” The drink was made of a mix of fruits and herbs that gave it a distinctly medicinal tang. By 1913 the drink was reclassified as a soft drink beginning a small but loyal commercial following. 

The drink continued to be a popular seller in the British territories but never traveling far from its birthplace, save for a strong customer base in the Arabian Peninsula. Vimto was responsible for a couple of popular marketing mascots during the 1990s but maybe the most lasting legacy to the drink is the wooden “A Monument to Vimto” in Manchester. 

Installed in 1992 the oversize monument consists of a giant Vimto bottle surrounded at its base by outsized versions of some of the fruits and herbs used in the drink’s production, all carved out of sustainable wood. The monument became a popular pilgrimage site, and was refurbished in 2011, giving it a bright new paint job. The monument sits on the spot where Vimto was first manufactured, although now it is on a college campus.