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Mar 4, 2003 12:40 AM

Who remembers Pokagon Beverages?

  • m

Does anyone here know of, or remember Pokagon Beverages made by Pokagon Beverage Company of Angola, IN? Pokagon was a small regional company that made several flavors of soda pop and went out of business in the early 1970s.

I recall several flavors, grape, red pop, creme soda and pink lemonade, but I'm sure there were more. Pokagon drinks were popular in northeast Indiana and were quite tasty.

Are there any 'hounds who remember Pokagon and can share any information or memories?

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  1. Spent my summers (1950's)at Lake James. Rowed the boat across the channel to the grocery store, or walked via what was called the "indian trail" through the woods. Inside was an iced-filled case full of Pokagon (indian chief with full feathered headdress trademark)sodas. Orange was my favorite, uncles favored the cream soda. Thanks for the memories. (Bledsoe's Beach, wooden Chris Craft boats, a mailman who delivered by boat to the end of the dock, aunts & uncles in endless bridge games...)

    2 Replies
    1. re: BChow

      Spent my summers (60's) on Lake George working at my grandparents' small grocery (Wolfe Grocery), selling Pokagon pop among other things. Grape was the biggest seller but we carried every flavor and I liked cream soda the best. I still have the 1930's vintage Coca-Cola chest type chilled-water cooler from that store that was always filled with Pokagon pop and the other favorites of the time, e.g., Vernor's ginger ale. And I still have a 6-pack of unopened 7-ounce Pokagon bottles in mixed flavors.

      In those days the majority of the cottages were rented by the week with only a few of us living on the lake full-time. And the cottages were much more rustic, with big front porches and such, not the year-round modern homes people have since built. There were still large portions of undeveloped shoreline, too, for fishing and exploring. Thanks for the memories of another time - who can forget the boat parking meters at Bledsoes, the dance hall and arcades, or the great swimming area....

      1. re: Bruce

        Bill Buck writes:

        In the summers in Angola from the late 1940s onward, we youngsters looked forward to Pokagon 'soda pop'. I can't believe my favorite was grapefruit, which tasted nothing like the real fruit, and also orange. The Pokagon bottling works were in downtown Angola. I would often stop by on the walk to my dad's business after school. Charlie Rodebaugh was a short, bespectacled, bald fellow who seemed to talked through his nose; he owned the plant, always wore a khaki shirt and pants and was very talkative about how the process worked. I can still remember the sweet smell of the syrup and the cool, damp interior of the plant, which reminded me of the inside of the old neighborhood milk delivery trucks in which would come by one's home on early summer mornings. Both places had a damp, cool atmosphere which was pleasant in the summer before the days of non-commercial 'refrigeration' (air conditioning).

        As for Bledsoe's, that was a marvelous place and I can't imagine that there's anything like it today, considering the change in our culture. The grocery-restaurant had old, wood plank floors stained by years of the grease from dropped french fries, spilled soda pop and anything else that failed to make it to kids' mouths. The only cooling was from the lake breezes circulated by large ceiling fans. There was a wonderful mix of scents in that place--from the food to the suntan oil worn by patrons.
        I well remember when I was no older than three or four, being taken to the dance pavilion on summer evenings by my parents. There weren't seats as such, but rather bleachers one could sit on. My parents would put me on a blanket on a bleacher and dance to the music of bands that I imagine came from Fort Wayne or other nearby cities. The pavilion was quite a building with its arched roof and supporting columns built of large river boulders. In the winter the interior would be protected, as I recall, by large tarpaulins that were tied to the columns. Can't remember if the flooring was just concrete or if it was boarded.

        We have lost so much in certain respects in our cultural life as we've progressed in other areas scientifically and technologically. Those were peaceful if not magic times, and I really did sense them to be that even as a child, even before looking back as a civil society began deteriorating in the mid- and late-1960s.

    2. I went to Tri-State College / University - Trine University in the early '70's. I experienced the marvel of a small town bottling company. The tast wasn't bad but their consistency of filling the bottles all the way up and the amount of pulp / sediment in the bottles....whoa......but is was drinkable. But it did make us appreciate beer more....I remember Bledsoe's