“Pelican Soda” may have been a southern, regional specialty—but not likely bottled in Pelican Rapids

“Pelican Soda” has generated a number of comments. The Press published a photo Sept. 30, thanks to Betty (Jacobson) Anderson, Pelican Rapids High School Class of 1956. She brought a bottle of Pelican Soda to the office. 
There appears to be little evidence that there was a soda bottled in Pelican. “Never heard of any Beverage Bottle from Pelican other than “Pelican Brand Milk” which was the creamery half gallon glass milk bottles that was delivered to our doorsteps,” said Tom Albright, a Pelican native and avid collector and historian of Pelican area matters. He did some legwork, and found a “Pelican Soda” bottle of the same label, but it was from DBP Bottling Company in Louisiana. 
Another local historian, former mayor Wayne Runningen, wrote that “I have never heard of any bottling, however it is possible.”
A likely scenario is that somebody may have picked up a bottle as a souvenir while traveling through Louisiana, and brought it home to Pelican—and it ended up in Betty Anderson’s possession. As a sidenote, Louisiana and the gulf are on the annual migration path for northern Pelicans, wintering in the south. So the pelican is probably a familiar image and icon for various marketing and brands in Louisiana—just as it is here, with Pelican Lake, river, and Pelican Rapids. 
Incidentally, a vintage “Pelican Soda” glass bottle appears to be selling for about $50 to collectors, based on some internet listings. 
Arvid Evenson also stopped by the Pelican Press office, with memories that suggest there may have been a soda bottlling operation Peliican, across Highway 108 from the Creamery.  He recalled the soda brand name as “Zip.” 
So, if there was a bottler of soda in Pelican Rapids, it is not certain.  If there was, the operation may have been short-lived. 




—Louis Hoglund, managing editor