Back in the day, I used to love Ferrara Pan Candies.
Lemonheads, my favorite, had a classic, timeless quality that’s lasted until today, when all the brand’s candies follow their example with names like Cherry Heads, Orange Heads and the like. Sure—you’ll get a Jawbreaker or Atomic Fireball in the mix, but for the most part they stick to the formula. In my day, however, Ferrara Pan candies used to carry names like Alexander the Grape, Johnny Apple Treats, Mr. Melon and, of course, the Cherry Clan.
Cherry Clan found it’s way into the gallery of racist brands and candies, immortalized and cast to their fate by cartoonist Evan Dorkin in his classic strip “The Island of Misfit Candy.” Since then, Ferrara Pan—and most well-known, public brands—have cleaned up their act in a wave of political correctness and eggshell stepping, making memorable-yet-offensive logos and labels all but obsolete.
Not so Cherikee Red Cherry Soda.
Created by Cleveland’s Cotton Club Bottling and Canning Company, currently owned by American Bottling Company, the soda’s label depicts a full blown image of a sterotypical Cherokee Indian Chief which is, well… let’s say it doesn’t jibe with the aforementioned wave of political correctness and eggshell stepping.
I happened across a bottle of this completely offensive (the soda is red! Indians are called “Redskins!” HahahahaNO) in a Pennsylvania Dutch-owned dairy this weekend on a camping trip and my eyes blew out of my sockets in amazement before plunking down the cash to try it out. Fittingly, the soda tastes exactly what you’d think liquified Cherry Clan candies would taste like if carbonated and poured into a plastic bottle. Sweet, smooth, not too overpowering and near enough that it could taste like fruit punch. One bottle did it for me, but I could see a touch of lime or citrus bringing me back for more.
That label, however? One-way trip to the Island of Misfit Sodas.