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Top of the Pops - Mike Lewis enjoys some of Wales’ best soft drinks

Corona carbonated drinks may seem as ‘1970s’ as space hoppers and kipper ties (‘Every bubble passed its fizz-ical!’), but the brand was originally created back in the 1880s by two south Wales grocers keen to capitalise on the growing influence of the temperance movement.


Corona may be no more, but Wales, with its high levels of rainfall and pristine spring water, maintains a rich heritage of producing soft drinks to this day.


And the Covid pandemic changed the way we buy them. Welsh consumers are no longer content with buying their favourite soft drinks from the local supermarket: they like to buy direct from the manufacturer as well.


Here, we highlight and review the fabulous range of Welsh soft drinks available direct from the manufacturers:


Radnor Hills


Radnor Hills - Sparkling Elderflower
Radnor Hills - Sparkling Elderflower

To ensure you have the best quality soft drink or water 90 per cent of it has to be made from Welsh water. That is the mantra of this Powys-based family business – the largest independent soft drinks company in the UK – whose spring water comes from 12 boreholes. Radnor produces a range of sparkling pressés under its Heartsease brand using its famous water as a base. Flavours include traditional lemonade, ginger beer and apple and pear. Try their take on Sparkling Elderflower – a delicately floral but zesty masterpiece – truly summer in a glass!



Lowes Soft Drinks


Lowes - Pineappleade
Lowes - Pineappleade

A business steeped in traditional values but contemporary products, this family-run company has been trading in Cardiff since 1890 and drinks include hardy perennials such as limeade and cherryade, while coming soon are a range of flavoured waters. Lowes also specialises in a range of sugar-free fruit drinks for the more discerning and health-conscious customer. Its sugar-free dandelion and burdock is a teeth-friendly version of the beverage that has fuelled countless children’s parties while its pink bubble-gum and blue raspberryade both taste as good as they look!




Tovali


Tovali - Orange Squash
Tovali - Orange Squash

‘Refreshingly Welsh’ is the slogan of this Carmarthen-based, family-run business, established in 1937. Tovali manufacture and bottle a range of dilutable fruit drinks in one and 5 litre PET bottles; the standard range includes Squashes, Sugar-Free Squashes and Cordials. Their sugar-free blackcurrant cordial is a standout – a sharp, tangy finish infused with delicious summer fruit. Tovali also manufacture and bottle an economy range under the CORACLE label, which offers excellent value for money and includes Orange Squash and Lemon Squash. Low Calorie Whole Orange Drink and Low-Calorie Whole Lemon Drink are also available.



Flawsome!


Flawsome! Drinks
Flawsome! Drinks

The founders of this company were inspired by childhood memories of enjoying treats from fruit picked in their nan’s garden. So was born Flawsome, a venture on a mission to combat food waste and pave a path to a more sustainable world. It specialises in transforming imperfect fruit into delectable drinks including sippable juice cartons, apple and sour cherry, sweet apples and apple, mango and orange packs; a range of lightly sparkling juices, packs of pure juice, sustainable health shots and variety boxes and bundles. Although its ‘wonky fruit’ drinks come in all flavours, the divine sweet apple truly does taste as if it has been plucked straight from the tree!



Welshcraft


Welshcraft
Welshcraft

A family-run business launched in 2007 with the aim of growing apples for fruit juice and cider in west Wales, Welshcraft began with open pastures and no premises. In 2008 it planted its first orchard of four acres with dozens of apple trees and perry pear varieties. Now, after several years in the planning, Welshcraft has its own ‘food safe’ factory and – with a growing reputation for quality juices – apple, honey and lemonade, apple and elderflower and apple and ginger, is going from strength to strength. Our tip is its Apple and Ginger – a classic blend of delicate aromas finished off with a tongue-tingling aftertaste.




Brecon Carreg


Brecon Carreg - Tonic
Brecon Carreg - Tonic

Having begun life as a true cottage industry, Brecon Carreg water may be the leading Welsh brand in the UK yet is clearly not content to rest on its laurels. It has just introduced an award-winning range of revitalising tonic waters in classic, light, lemon and grapefruit flavours all produced locally with the company’s renowned fresh and natural mineral water. Low in calories, they make a healthier choice for those seeking a guilt-free drink. Whether you enjoy a classic gin and tonic or simply want a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage, this exciting new range is just the tonic!




Daioni Organic


Daioni Organic
Daioni Organic

Nestled in the shadows of Pembrokeshire’s Preseli Mountains this family-owned producer was founded by award-winning dairy farmer Laurence Harris. Long-life flavoured milk comes in whole milk, chocolate, strawberry and banana flavours which apart from being a favourite for kids’ lunchboxes are also used by Manchester City and Everton footballers! Other favourites include organic milk and Fairtrade coffees – salted caramel, cafe latte and macchiato. But its Organic Chocolate is arguably Daioni’s piéce de résistance. An unforgettable mix of creamy goodness-on-the-go that knocks bog-standard milkshakes into the proverbial cocked hat.


daioni.co.uk


Conwy Kombucha


Conwy Kombucha - Organic Ginger Kombucha
Conwy Kombucha - Organic Ginger Kombucha

This award-winning family-owned business seeks to ‘maximise the goodness of nature’ by producing high-quality organic kombucha through a natural and authentic method of production. ‘Blighty Booch’ comes in a number of flavours including mixed, ginger, bramley, elderflower, nettle and rosehip, cherry and original. Their acclaimed Organic Ginger Kombucha was described by a Great Taste judge as ‘a really fine example of what a kombucha should be’, and its Blighty Brew whole-leaf tea boasts a rich and subtle flavour that lingers in the taste buds.


blightybooch.com


Princes Gate


Princes Gate
Princes Gate

The days when Welsh rugby players re-fuelled with a cup of tea and cigarette are long-gone. These days the men in red hydrate with bottles of Princes Gate water, the product of a business that began on an organic farm in a remote corner of Pembrokeshire. A landmark deal has been struck by the Welsh Rugby Union to supply the whole of professional and elite rugby in Wales until 2025, while Princes Gate is also the official water supplier to the Ironman Wales triathlon. Why not also try its lemon & lime and forest fruits fizzy water? Still a natural drop of Wales – just a bit more flavourful!


princesgate.com


Welsh Farmhouse


Welsh Farmhouse
Welsh Farmhouse

This Brecon Beacons-based family business can count HRH King Charles among its customers and its acclaimed apple and pear Royal Variety juices are made from fruit picked at Royal gardens at Llwynywermod and Highgrove. Welsh Farmhouse produces over thirty varieties of single-variety and blended apple and pear juices each season; produce coming from its own orchards. Its vast range of apple juices range from sweet to dry – sufficient choice to suit even the most discerning palate. And for those who fancy something a little different, its pears are picked slightly early in order to retain a sweet, but mellow flavour. The end result is a pear juice beautifully balanced and light – the only trouble is that Welsh Farmhouse cannot make enough of it!


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