We found ourselves wandering Aberystwyth [yes, that is a real place, I promise] the other day and came across something purporting to be an “American candy store”. Naturally we thought this had the potential to be amusing… and it was, though perhaps not in the precise way we anticipated. They ended up having a weird mix of things I definitely recognised and things which were absolutely traditional British things you won’t find anywhere in the States, plus probably things in between. It was all a bit surreal to me, but I also don’t purport to be an expert on sweets.
There was also a shelf labelled, simply, “Harry Potter Soda”. After a double-take we obviously needed to investigate this.
The first thing to note is that, contrary to the store’s labelling, this stuff is very specifically Not Harry Potter Soda. I’m not sure about the legal details, but the labelling is very clearly trying to get as close as possible to saying that it is while keeping the specific names changed just barely enough to avoid liability. I wouldn’t want to be them if someone decided to sue, though.
So, anyway, fanfic soda. What is it?
The label proclaims this to be “Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer” and, in smaller print, admits it to be butterscotch-flavoured cream soda. The label design is amazingly cheesy in the best possible way. And the back of the bottle has this amazing blurb:
“Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer. Since 1374, the Flying Cauldron has been making this magical brew for under-aged wizards or wizards who are young at heart at their brew pub in Hogsbreath England. The recipe has changed little over the centuries. It has the perfect combination of spells and quality ingredients. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to create our Giggle Potion.”
(All grammatical errors original.)
What can we even say about that? Hogsbreath. HOGSBREATH. Like I said, it’s Not Harry Potter Soda. I don’t know what it is, but it is absolutely Not Harry Potter Soda. We could hardly control our laughter and had to buy some, so clearly something about this company’s marketing is working. Even if I doubt they wanted people to buy it out of laughter at how hard they were trying. [It was also pretty cheap, relatively speaking, particularly compared to any official merchandise they may or may not have been charging multiple limbs for.]
Despite that, we fully expected it to taste awful. Well… it’s actually not that bad. It honestly tastes like butterscotch-flavoured soda. It’s not the sort of thing I’d normally choose to drink (and I tend not to like overly sweet drinks much), but I found it pleasantly drinkable if nothing extraordinary, and Loten liked it. It is much, much better than the stuff they serve at the official Harry Potter venues, or at least the one we tried when we visited the Harry Potter studios in Leavesden, which made me want to be ill (though it didn’t help they put a lump of some unpleasant creamlike stuff in that).
[I liked the ‘official’ one as well, personally. But I like weird things. And with enough sugar I’ll drink pretty much anything.]
I took a photo.
It’s apparently made by a California soda company called Reed’s. Here’s the link to the product page, with even more hilarious pandering to Harry Potter fans. Seriously, go and look at it.
I’m not sure I would really recommend it, but it honestly isn’t bad and you could do far worse for a theoretical Harry Potter themed party or something. Regardless, thanks for the laugh, Reed’s.