...
Retro Planet LogopresentsPlanet Retro!

Squirt Soda

Squirt Soda Bottle CapSquirt is a carbonated grapefruit drink created by Herb Bishop in 1938. Bishop’s intention was to make a soft drink that required less fruit and sugar than other sodas, due to the Great Depression. He started with a soft drink by the name of Citrus Club that was bottled in Phoenix, Arizona (which was quite popular in that part of the country).

Bishop’s experimentation resulted in a soft drink made from grapefruit juice and sugar that he believed to be the freshest tasting soft drink available on the market. He thought it tasted like a slice of grapefruit exploding in the mouth, so he called it “Squirt”.

Squirt Drink Advertisement Porcelain SignIn 1941, Bishop and his partner, Ed Mehren, created a character called “Little Squirt” to use in the marketing of their soft drink. The little tike encouraged people to “Drink Squirt”. He caught on right away with the consumers and sales increased.

The soft drink did well through WWII, because of its reduced sugar content, and in the 1950s, Squirt became a popular drink mixer. By the mid-1970s, Squirt was sold in Central and South America.

In 1977, Squirt was bought by a Michigan bottler, Brooks Products, that went on to introduce a new product logo and a reformulated Squirt.

Diet Squirt – the first soft drink in the US to use aspartame – was introduced in 1983. Ruby Red and Diet Ruby Red soft drinks were also launched.

Today Squirt is the best-selling grapefruit soft drink in the United States. It is one of the many brands under the corporate umbrella of London-based The Cadbury Schweppes Group,which was purchased as part of Dr. Pepper/Seven-Up, Inc. in 2000.

Cadbury Schweppes Bottling Group
5950 Sherry Lane
Dallas, Texas

Do you remember drinking this refreshing soda? Was it – or is it still – a favorite? Chime in below…

Share
Last updated: October 22, 2012
Cool Vintage Posters
About Ann

Ann is a web assistant and project manager with Retro Planet. After prior stints in the advertising and publishing worlds, she has found her place with the company. She is a serious anglophile and history buff, with a passion for anything from the past, especially retro inspired decor.

  • Mary

    Squirt was not readily available in the rural area where I was raised. I never knew what it was. However, I do remember having a yellow “Squirt” sweatshirt in the late 1950′s. I wore it for years but do not remember how I came by it. This is a real trip down the path of time.

  • Michelle (Rusnak) Singleton

    I’ve noticed there is very limited information on the “Little Squirt”. Just wanted to mention that my uncle, Bill Albaugh of Mingo Junction, Ohio, was the official “Little Squirt” mascot. He and his wife Maria would return home often and bring my brother and I memorabilia such as t-shirts, backpacks, pictures, etc. He was a fantastic man who is greatly missed.

  • Megan

    Squirt is the well-known favourite drink of one Mr Harry Potter :P

  • Eric Bachhuber

    How can I buy a Squirt or Little Squirt T-Shirt or sweatshirt?

  • Russ Hiltz

    Would like to know where I can buy Squirt in south Louisiana. Have liked it for years. I could swear I remember it when it had traces of grapefruit pulp. Must have been prior to the re-formulation of 1977. However, I am on blood pressure meds that require no grapefruit consumption. If I can get some, I will limit my Squirt intake. Been a long time since they dropped the cute little squirt as their logo.

  • Ann

    Tony sent us an email with some information clarifying the origins of Squirt soda. Tony Says:
    “I was reading your bio about squirt soda and noticed a discrepancy. You state that a Herb Bishop invented the soda in 1938. This is incorrect, Herb Bishop merely bought the recipe from a Mr. Crebs in van Nys California. It was sold to Mr. Bishop without a patent, so Bishop initially took credit, for an invention that was not his. I’m not complaining just thought that might be a interesting tid bit for you. thanks”
    Thank-you, Tony for sharing this info with us. There’s little available on Squirt’s history and we like to be as accurate as possible! —Ann

  • Judy Hojnacki

    Having been a fan of Squirt for years in Buffalo,NY…BUT could not find in NYC. Just moved to South Carolina and low and behold the Food Lion store sells it….My grand kids in CT just love it. Judy

  • Nancy

    I remember drinking Squirt from the green bottles with the little Squirt guy on them. We were allowed to drink this and Dr Pepper. My mom swore the latter was made from carbonated prune juice. With Pepsi’s “throwback” series, Dr Pepper is back on my list of drinks. I hadn’t had any soda but Squirt for years, but down here in SE Georgia I can’t find it very often. I’m from the Pacific NW and all the stores have it.

  • Curtis White

    I’ve been drinking Squirt ever since I moved to Ohio 8Yrs ago. I’m from South Jersey where it is not sold. I would like to know why it is not sold there, because I think there is a market for it there

  • http://www.anythingneonwa.com Chuck

    Thank you every one for all the info on Squirt. Several hours ago I purchased a embosed tin sign that was found in an old ware house on top of a large built in refer, still in its original strapping covered in dust. The sign was never hung and dated 1950, model number m-61. The building is being rentivated and was an old distribution business for beer and soda. The sign is awesome, with the squirt guy holding a bottle of squirt, huge lettering across the sign saying squirt and is approximatly ten feet long and four feet tall. I have been searching for several hours to find more info about the sign, your sight has given me the best info so far. I am also trying to find a place to value the sign if any one can help?

  • Mark

    Drinking Squirt as a kid I remember it as being cloudy, not clear as it is now, and having pulp floating around in it but haven’t been able to find anything written about this. I know the recipe has changed over the years but does anyone else remember this?

  • John Early

    Blogger Chuck, above, mentions “an embossed tin sign”. Really loved Chuck’s story. (Chuck: my suggestion is you contact “Antiques Road Show”: they will surely know how to direct you.) Myself, I have very fond memories of drinking Squirt way back in the late forties, early fifties, spending my childhood and young boyhood in Helena, Montana, where my parents ran the local airport food concession. I used to drink Squirt and also Twang. Collected Twang bottle caps. Sending in a thousand (??!!) Twang bottle caps got me an Apsco Giant pencil sharpener, which I thought cool at the time. I guess it wasn’t so hard to collect 1,000 bottle caps back then since I was always raiding the soda machine. Like Chuck, I have the old Squirt sign, but it is one of the small, relatively inexpensive reproductions. Best wishes in your worthwhile endeavor, Chuck!

  • Valerie

    any one know where to get this in south georgia??? I love Squirt!! Drank it for years in the buffalo area, but can’t find any down here..???

  • Shawna

    @Megan
    That’s why I looked this up! :D I really want to try it but i don’t think I’ll find it in NY…

  • Alanrobles_23

    the new logo on the 2 litter bottles looks bootleg rnlooks like a soda you buy at the 99 cent store

  • momofmonkeys61

    NancyrnMaybe the “carbonated prune juice” was a rumor that was started in the NW.. my mom said the same thing about Dr Pepper .. and Squirt has always been my favorite pop.

  • momofmonkeys61

    Definitely I remember the pulp and cloudiness. Since I can’t seem to find it out east, I can’t check to see if its different nowadays.

  • Ldmashburn

    I drank Ruby Red Squirt for years and loved it. However, I can no longer get it in Southwest Missouri. Why is it not sold in this region anymore? Where can I get it?

  • Tjberger2009

    Squirt Rocks

  • LanceThruster

    I am trying to find information on a game sheet that came with 6-packs of Squirt soda pop in the mid 60′s. It allowed you to play a fantasy baseball game using the sheet and a regular deck of playing cards.

    In addition to any general information on the game, I’d be interested in buying one (or a reproduction).

  • Cliff Clavin

    Little Squirt has had quite a career!  Look at that full head of hair.  He had a great childhood as a model, but his parents spent all of his money…sad really.  He started doing drugs and cohorting with the Mousketeers…. 

    But unlike Gary Coleman, he pulled up his boot straps and began a new acting career and became known and loved by all under his real name……..Elmer Fudd!

    And now you know the rest of the story.

    - Cliff Claven

  • Cupoftea3363

    I love squirt.  I found it while on vacation.  I can’t find it anywhere in NC, SC, TN.  Please bring it to the Carolina’s.

  • ccm53

    the dr pepper snapple company has amazing customer service. if you contact them asking about where you can get some squirt they will email you back with the closest location to where you live

  • Mrcheesecake@horizonview.net

    I have listed my 1930′s / 1940”s old squirt advertizing bicycle on ebay. item number 170892220230 check it out.  Buy it know and get a piece of squirt history. when it’s gone it’s gone. thanks  

  • epackage

    Hi, I’m searching for any info on Citrus Club, the beverage which Squirt is supposed to be derived from. Does anyone know for sure that this drink was ever bottled and sold before becoming Squirt?
           Thanks,
                             Jim

  • epackage

    Hi Ann, do you know anything about Citrus Club, the beverage that Squirt is said to be derived from? Was it actually bottled and sold in 1937 in the Phoenix area?
            Jim

  • Bob

    The original formula for Squirt was an extract syrup patented in 1937 by Citrus Club Products Incorporated of Phoenix, Arizona. The U.S. Patent number for the extract is 394,123 which was filed June 16, 1937 and Published August 24, 1937. I do not know if this extract was ever made available to the public at Drug Stores/Soda Fountains. Nor do I know if it was bottled and sold at the time.    

  • Bob

    Although inconclusive, the following is everything I know about SQUIRT at the present …

                                   ~ BRIEF SQUIRT HISTORY SUMMARY ~

    1. Original concentrate developed circa 1936-37 by Mark B. Thompson and
    Edward W. Mehren in Phoenix, Arizona. I suspect Mehren actually concocted the
    original concentrate and that Thompson served more as a legal advisor and
    business consultant.

    2. Thompson and Mehren form “Citrus Club Products Incorporated” circa 1937
    in Phoenix, Arizona.

    3. Address for Citrus Club Products Incorporated listed as; 328 Security
    Building, Phoenix, Arizona.

    4. Thompson serves as president and Mehren serves as Secretary. Thompson
    is also listed as an attorney at the time.

    5. Citrus Club Products Incorporated files for U.S. Patent for concentrate
    on June 16, 1937 which is published (approved) on August 24, 1937, and granted
    patent number 394,123.

    6. Herbert Bishop, a former Wisconsin cheese maker, enters the picture
    and, apparently, he and Ed Mehren begin developing the patented concentrate in
    an old sugar beet factory they lease in Glendale, Arizona (a suburb of phoenix)
    in 1938.

    7. Although the concentrate was being produced in Glendale, it was not
    processed and bottled there but was (apparently) shipped to a as yet unknown and
    unconfirmed location somewhere in California.

    8. Bishop and Mehren file for U.S. Patent for the name “SQUIRT” on January
    24, 1939 and are granted serial number 415,203.

    9.. It is not presently known exactly why or when the name “Citrus Club”
    was changed to “Squirt.” Nor is it presently known exactly where the first
    SQUIRT bottler was located, although there are indicators that it might have
    been somewhere in California in 1938.

  • http://www.retroplanet.com/ Retro Planet

     Bob, thanks so much for sharing your research with us. Lots of searchers ’round here. Much appreciated!

  • http://www.retroplanet.com/ Retro Planet

    For those of you still hunting for Squirt in your area, here are a few more resources:

    WALGREENS – available at some locations, see here:
    http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/squirt-citrus-soda-20-oz-bottle/ID=prod6019662-product

    WALMART – available in some locations, see here:
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Squirt-Citrus-Burst-Soda-2-l/10448426

    Squirt’s Facebook page – some people post when they find it:
    http://www.facebook.com/SquirtSoda

  • http://www.retroplanet.com/ Retro Planet

     Hi, Bob. A search on that number led me to a can opener from 1888. ?

  • Hucksdefeat

    Try Spanish food stores. There’s a large one behind the McDonald’s on Whitehorse Rd in west Greenville, SC that carries Squirt.

  • Hucksdefeat

    Does anyone remember the ad in the mid- late-1970′s that had Rhett Butler (Clarke Gable) saying, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a Squirt!”? I can’t find anything on that ad slogan anywhere.

  • Terfd

    I used to love Squirt. It was oddly different than other soda.
    I thought it wasn’t made any more. For sure you can’t find it easily.

  • Steve B

    Very interesting reading!     IN Northampton Mass  there was a soda company, Pioneer Vally Soda (?)  where Squirt was bottled also…  Dates on this enterprise are appx  1950′s-1960′s.   All along I used to think it had originated here… but now, after reading this info,  I see it was not…   Is it possible that the syrup was made elsewhere and shipped to local bottling companies???

  • Javapig

    I liked Squirt when it tasted like grapefruit and was more tart. Now it tastes more like an orange soda.  I know it’s because many people don’t like grapefruit and its tartness, so they have made it sweeter and less “grapefruity”. The ingredient list used to have “grapefruit juice, grapefruit oil” as the main flavor ingredients. Then it was changed to “citrus juice, citrus oil”. Now it says “natural flavors, concentrated grapefruit juice”.

  • Charlesfoster82

    A cold Squirt out of the freezer partially icy is the best. I have a squirt every day. I call it my “daily squirt”

  • kenbourque

    Try Italian Grapefruit Soda distributed by Trader Joe’s. It’s very close to the original formulation.

  • kenbourque

    Try Italian Grapefruit Soda distributed by Trader Joe’s. It’s very close to the original formulation.

  • Javapig

    There are several new
    grapefruit sodas that taste more like the original Squirt. Izze and GUS make
    “natural” grapefruit sodas containing just grapefruit juice, carbonated water and a small amount of
    other fruit juices added just for sweetening. Another nice alternative I
    recently found is Sparkling Ice Pink Grapefruit. It is labeled as a “naturally
    flavored sparkling mountain spring water” with zero calories, 3% grapefruit
    juice, sucralose, a few vitamins, and green tea extract added for some
    anti-oxidant value.

    The natural sodas and flavored waters didn’t
    exist when I was a kid in the 1960′s. I remember some adults telling us that
    Squirt was better for you than the other sodas because it was the only one made
    with real fruit juice and also, it contained somewhat less sugar. The strong grapefruit flavor and surprising tartness is was
    what made it popular as a mixer for alcoholic drinks in the 1950′s, and was also
    why the marketing campaigns always touted it as a “thirst quencher”.

    I can’t see using the
    current formulation of Squirt as a mixer. I just found an update of an old
    margarita recipe online where the author suggested replacing the Squirt with
    Izze Grapefruit Soda. Squirt is now labeled as “citrus soda” and “citrus and
    berry soda” for the “ruby red” versions. I wonder if we could convince them
    that the original recipe would sell if they just colored it blue and called it
    “Sour Kids Soda”.

  • Deb

    Just was researching Squirt as I grew up drinking it in Michigan, just bought some the other day and boy has it changed. Too much sugar in it now, not enough Grapefruit taste, used to be tart in the mouth that’s what I liked about it. Too much sugar in everything nowadays.

  • art

    yes I do remember! but know one else belives me. anyone that can confirm the pulp/