Shasta Pop

60’s era Shasta can

In 1966, when you were on a two-nickel-a-day budget, you had to be careful what you spent your money on.

Your soft drink options were these: Coke, Pepsi, 7up, RC Cola, Dr. Pepper, Fanta, Nehi, Grapette, or Orange Crush. These were all available for a dime. In other words, your ENTIRE BANKROLL.

But there was another option: Shasta. And it only cost a nickel.

At Moonwink Grocery, the ten cent pops were ice cold. But the more budget-friendly Shastas were located on an upper shelf in the far left side of the store. In other words, there were sold at room temperature.

But we didn’t care. In fact, we would often prepare the afternoon’s purchase by taking a couple of cans and stashing them in the dairy case out of sight, to be refreshingly cold by the time we ventured in around 2:00 PM. Mark, the store owner, was very tolerant of our sidestepping of his pop sales procedure.

My guess is that his hands were tied. The Big Boys in the soft drink game had probably forbidden him from selling budget Shasta cold alongside their products.

Shasta pop has a genuine connection to California’s Mount Shasta. They once marketed spring water from that location. The brand has been bought and sold repeatedly since being initially obtained by Sara Lee about the time I was buying it in the 60’s. It peaked in the 80’s, when those “I wanna pop” commercials were on.

Shasta’s greatest commercials, IMHO, were in the 70’s. They had immaculately animated ads with a brass band playing the familiar “Shasta! It has’ta be Shasta!” song in the background.

So here’s to a great tasting soda that was easy on a six-year-old kid’s budget.

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