lemonade affictionado !

Buration - popular Russian soda.
  Read the discussion on BevNet forums: everything about soft drinks

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My current view on carbonated drinks.

Do not drink carbonated drinks. The CO2 gas that is dissolved in the water, though it creates a nice feeling when you drink, also kills all the bacterial flora in your stomach. Carbon Oxygen is good as a preservative, but it does not distinguish between good or bad macro-organisms. You don't have any control, once it is inside of your body. It is a known fact, but it strucked me only recently, while reading a book on the technologies of soft-drink manufacturing... l

Please, let me know, if you ever come across any internal Coke or Pepsi document that has some studyings of CO2 effect on humans...

Soft Drink's components.

"Tarhun" was a popular soft-drink in Russia/Soviet Union. A few know that the taste of it is based on the taste of tarragon (estragon) Here is some more information about it. I am going to make my own soft-drinks using essential oils as a flavoring and without any artificial ingredients. I'll post here the results. I already purchased a pound of tarragon essential oil for that matter. I would be happy do discuss the technological and any other aspects of soft-drink production and consumption...

Every image below is linked to a page full of labels !

Historical information.








Labels 8

Labels 9




      I started collecting lemonade labels back in 1975-76 And this collecto-mania lasted for a decade. I crisscrossed the whole Soviet Union, which occupied 1/6 of the world territory at the time, in search of new labels... No, of course not. I don't want to lie to you or pretend to be a VIC (very important collector).

      Most of my collection came from the railroad yards. Trains carry people, people are usually thirsty and drink a lot of liquids - lemonade the most available of them. They leave empty bottles behind. Railway conductors collect them and sell to recyclers. They pile the boxes full of empty bottles somewhere close to railway depots and stations. The "removal" technique is simple - using an edge of a coin, I scrapped the paper label from a bottle. It jams the paper, but doesn't break it. The razor blade would do the job better, but who carries blades in the pocket every day ?

      The second best source of labels were my summer travels with parents to the blessed shores of Crimea peninsula. It took us about 3 days to reach beaches of the Black sea (from Leningrad) and the road (we were travelling by car) demands a lot of refueling, watering and pissing stops. If I am not mistaken, my first label came from a small city of Slonim in Belarus:

                   My first label.

     There is nothing special about it, but somehow it struck the cord... I collected Soviet post stamps also, but you need to pay for the stamps and the philately is a regulated hobby (catalogues, societies, etc.). Lemonade labels were <and still is> new, wild and unexplored territory. "Lemonade" is just a Russian common word for a soft-drink or soda.

The main parts/inscriptions of the Soviet/Russian label are:

"Anatomy" of the label

Anatomy of the label

Drink Name:  Usually a soft drink was called "Lemonade" or "Drink" or "Bubbled water" followed by the original name "Zubrenok" in this case (Zubr is Russian Bizon and zubrenok is a bizon's calf)
Manufacturer:  Usually the bottling plant is a manufacturer. And the logo shown is of the bottling plant itself. That bottling plant belongs to the regional association of farmers' cooperatives.
Price (without a bottle):  Standard price for half liter bottle of lemonade was about 10 kopecks (1 kopeck is 1/100 of a rouble). The bottle costed 12 kopecks more. The bottle price was raised to 20 kopecks in the beginning of 80s.
Volume:  Half liter was the most popular and the only size available. Later (beginning of 80s) 0,33 liter bottles were introduced.
State standard:  Everything was controlled by state standards. That was one of the benefits of the state controlled economical system. If it is sub-standard - "no go".
Date when bottled:  Date was either stamped on a label or there was a cut corresponding to the date printed on a label. This label was stamped at this bottling plant, another plant would mark it by cutting.
Best before:  7 days (after being bottled) was a normal expiration time. No preservatives were added. The taste and "environmental" quality were excellent.
Bottling plant:  Lemonade bottling plants were everywhere, in every city over 5,000 people. In Gatchina (one of Leningrad suburbs), where I lived with my parents, it was located in a small building close to my father's work. Once, I found a bunch of old labels in a nearby's building basement...
Printing plant:  Printing plants were centralized. There were two plants in Leningrad which were printing labels for 1/4 of the whole country.

Last mogicians.

     Unfortunately, the days of the great lemonades are coming to an end. The "moloh" of the bottling industries conquered Russia with their 2 liter plastic bottles, conservants and preservatives which give years of "shelf life" to a carbonated water sweetened with a corn sirup, colored with a E737 and parfumed with a drop of concentrated substance. But the price is right ! Rule coca-cola !


     (Actually, first conquerer was Pepsi-Cola . Thanks to a barter deal - pepsi-cola powder in exchange for Stolychnaya vodka. There was a plenty of Pepsi concentrate and many bottling plants were bottling Pepsi in the Soviet Union since 1980)

Navigational information.

      Here is only a half of my collection. The second half consists of rectangular shaped labels. I will add them later, as the time permits. Use the thumbnails on the left to navigate through the collection. Every label leads to a page containing from 12 to 15 different labels, click on thumbnails to open an enlarged (4x) image.

    send me a note if you have any questions

More labels
on Page 2 !

link to Soviet memorabilia and collectibles: pins, watches, etc. visit the rest of the site to see pins, posters, watches and more... link to Soviet memorabilia and collectibles: pins, watches, etc.