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Soft drink

Soft drinks
A soft drink is a drink that contains no (or very little) alcohol, as opposed to a hard drink, which does contain alcohol. In general, the term is used only for cold beverages. The term originally referred to carbonated drinks.

In North America, "soft drink" commonly refers to cold, non-alcoholic beverages. Carbonated beverages are regionally known in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and most of Canada as "pop". In Quebec they are called soft drinks. In the Northeast, parts of the South (near Florida) and Midwest (near St. Louis), and California, they are known as "soda". In Atlanta, Georgia and some other parts of the South, they are generically called "coke". (Atlanta is home to the Coca-Cola Corporation). Elsewhere they are called "soda pop". See The Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy for maps and geographical trends.

Soft drinks are commonly sold in stores in bottles and cans. They are also sold in restaurants and bars as fountain drinks made from packaged syrup. In the U.S. and other countries, vending machine sales earn a significant amount of money for the producers and distributors. Most famous name-brand soft drinks are produced and bottled by local or regional independent bottling companies. These companies license the name and are usually sold the main ingredients (syrup) made by the main manufacturing plants of the trademark holders. For example, unless you live in Georgia or nearby, a can of Coke® will likely be from a facility near the point-of-purchase. In the past, most Cola and other soft drinks were sweetened with ordinary sugar (sucrose), but to save on production costs, most companies have turned to the more economical corn syrup as a sweetener in the United States. In some countries outside the United States, sugar is still used.

Diet sodas are sweetened with chemicals that are perceived as sweet by most people yet contain no calories or nutritional value, such as aspartame, and saccarine.

Competition in the industry among soft drink producers is widely referred to as the cola wars.

In German, soft drinks are known as Limo short for Limonade, the German word for lemonade, but in America lemonade is an uncarbonated beverage, generally not considered a soft drink.

In Swedish, soft drinks are called läsk which comes from läskande drycker (roughly - refreshing drinks) and denotes carbonated non-alcoholic soft drinks. The word lemonad has more or less the same use as the English word lemonade, but belongs to a slightly higher level of style than läsk.

In Australia and New Zealand, "soft drink" almost always refers to carbonated beverages. "Lemonade" can refer to "lemon drink", but most of the time means clear soft drink (i.e. Sprite, 7-Up, etc.)

In the United Kingdom the term originally applied to carbonated drinks ("pop") and non-carbonated drinks made from concentrates ("squash"), although it now commonly refers to any drink that does not contain alcohol. To further confuse matters, alcopops are often called "alcoholic soft drinks".

In Scotland, soft drinks are commonly known as "ginger", presumably referring to an early "soft drink", ginger beer.

Some famous soft drinks (by country):

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