Thursday, December 15, 2011

Join the (Towne) Club!

Towne Club pop isn't dead. Those rumors are greatly exaggerated.

Well, maybe not greatly exaggerated; it's not exactly on every shelf around town.

Or should I have spelled it, towne?

But Towne Club, that distinctly Detroit soft drink, can still be accessed.

Our daughter spotted some at Produce Palace, on Dequindre in Warren.

The bottles aren't the same, bullet thin sized as before. They're 16 oz. now. But it's still Towne Club.

If you're under 30 years of age, you might want to click away. For Towne Club was a staple in the late-1960s, early-to-mid-1970s.

It worked like this.

You bought the pop, in its multitude of varieties, by the case. You could mix and match. The main bottling and distribution center was located on Ryan Road near 1o Mile, if memory serves.

The cases would be purchased and there was a deposit on the case itself---which at the time was a HEAVY wooden thing.

Then you'd bring the empty bottles and the case back, and repeat the process all over again.

Sometime in the 1980s, Towne Club seemed to vanish. Certainly the center on Ryan Road closed. I've not done the research, so there may have been a reason. Regardless, Towne Club pop kind of fell off the radar for quite some time.

Over the past decade, I've seen Towne Club pop up (no pun intended) at select specialty stores; certainly not in any "mainstream" markets like Kroger, Meijer's, etc.


The "new" Towne Club bottle: not as thin as the original


The pop itself wasn't, to me, award-winning, but the varieties were plenty and that was more than you could say about so many of the other soft drinks on the market.

I think what made Towne Club an allure was the process. The whole notion of getting into the car, empty bottles in their cases in tow, and driving to the center to pick out new varieties and bring them back home.

I was a little disappointed when I saw the "new" Towne Club bottle, I must confess. It seems so....fat!

The old bottles could have been fit inside a paper towel roll.

Towne Club pop, I guess, wasn't just a beverage, to so many of us.

It was an experience.

And one that you can still partake in, I'm happy to report.

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