Go Figure: We crack the tab on B.C.’s soda pop industry

With the B.C. government's pandemic-delayed cancellation of the PST exemption on sweet carbonated drinks now in effect, we check out who's top of the pops.

Credit: Canoe Cola

Burnaby-based Canoe Cola makes “not-too-sweet” craft sodas

With the B.C. government’s pandemic-delayed cancellation of the PST exemption on sweet carbonated drinks now in effect, we check out who’s top of the pops


B.C.’s first soda bottling works, Alexander Phillips, founded in Victoria


Minimum number of soda pop companies operating in the province between then and the early 1900s


B.C. soft drink and ice producers in 2019

21.5% of the national total

31.1% are one-person shows


Total B.C. household spending on non-alcoholic beverages that year

Up 17.3% compared to 2015


Average 2018 revenue for a small- or medium-sized pop/ice producer in Canada

40 million+

Servings of root beer sold nationwide each year by North Vancouver–based A&W Root Beer Beverages, via A&W restaurants

>50% of the Canadian root beer market

A&W also sells 2.5 million cases annually in stores


B.C. manufacturing sales of soft drinks and ice in 2020

Up 63.2% compared to 2015

Soft drinks make up 46% of calories consumed in Canada via non-alcoholic refreshment beverages

Burnaby-based Canoe Cola attempted and discarded 80 cola recipes before launching its first, less-sweet product in 2018


Final settlement reached last year in a B.C. Supreme Court class-action lawsuit against Canada Dry Motts alleging misleading claims that its ginger ale had health benefits from natural ginger


Actual sum going to each of the two lead plaintiffs, with the rest to the Law Foundation of B.C.

As of late March, a 2-litre bottle of Coke went for 41¢ more in Victoria than the national average, according to cost-of-living estimator Expatistan

Vancouver +32¢

Kamloops +

Prince George +

Nanaimo +

$27 million

Revenue (pre-pandemic) Victoria expected to raise from B.C.’s new soda tax in its first year

Sources: BC Food History Network; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Statistics Canada; A&W Canada; Conference Board of Canada; Canoe Cola; Globe and Mail; Expatistan; CBC