Andhra Goli Soda, is a century-old product, and still continues to be one of the most sought-after drinks and is now available in multi flavours in the market.
The drink, popularly known as ‘sada (normal) soda’ and ‘colour soda’ is now being manufactured with different flavours, including nimma soda, sweet soda, salt soda, salt and sweet, suganda soda and other varieties.
The locally made soda, popularly known as goli soda, was being sold at ₹15 (sada soda) by roadside vendors, and the price of other varieties was ₹25. However, goli soda is now being sold at ₹50 in some hotels and restaurants.
“In some restaurants, ‘codd-necked bottle soda’ is being sold at ₹60 in Hyderabad and other places. Goli Soda has become a favourite drink at weddings and other functions,” said a soda supplier named Venkatesh.
Though some 50 varieties of soft drinks, flavoured milk and brands were in the market, goli soda, was still in leading and most sought after local-made drink for many.
Balla Veerabhradra Rao, popularly known as Soda Bandi Veerabhadra Rao, and his family members were making and selling goli soda for more than 50 years in Palakol and the neighbouring villages, in West Godavari district.
“My father used to sell soda for five paise. I used to accompany my father when I was ten years old. I began selling goli soda in my childhood for 15 paise. For more than 75 years, Andhra Goli Soda was a favourite of all my family members,” says Balla Sada Sivaiah, son of Veerabhadra Rao, who was seen selling sodas on his ‘bandi’ along with his wife, Prabhavathi.
A soda maker, Naragam Ramesh and his wife, N. Koteswaramma, of Dokiparru village in Krishna district, who were busy filling water and then gas in the soda bottles, said they have to invest ₹400 per day, for purchasing ice, colour, lemon and sugar.
“The cost of 9 kg cylinder was ₹300, through which we can fill 240 soda bottles. The cost of one bottle was ₹40 in the market. Now, it has difficult for us to get the codd-necked soda bottles as the number of manufacturers was decreasing by the day,” says another manufacturer, Kotha Srinivasa Rao.
“Four of my family members help me in making lemon, colour and suganda sodas. They will clean the bottles, fill water and cool them in ice. Later, I supply the drink to pan shops,” said Ramesh’s brother, Rambabu.
Food lovers says that goli soda goes well with biryani, and the ‘nimma soda’ was a favourite for many customers in the restaurants.
“Many families were depended on pan shops, and were called as ‘soda kottu’ in local parlance. Several brands of soft drinks have come up in the last few years in different colours, sizes and shapes, but goli soda is still dominating in the market,” said Sathi Babu of Gudivada.
“I knew when goli soda was less than five paise. We used to drink the soda for better digestion. I was amazed when I came to know that Andhra Goli Soda is sold at ₹20 in streets and ₹50 in some restaurants,” says 85-year-old B. Venkayamma of Vijayawada.
A soda shop owner, Saibabu, said the traditional goli soda has made a comeback in Andhra Pradesh and many other States, and that the drink is seeing a great demand now.
“We sell about five ‘bandis’ a day during summer, and one during the other seasons. Few sodamakers and sellers are seen in Andhra Pradesh now, but the demand is increasing. I a happy that goli soda is slowly coming into the limelight by beating all other brands of soft drinks,” says Ms. Prabhavathi.
Restaurant owners and traders said that goli soda was now available in about 25 brands with different flavours in the market, soda lovers said.