Islanders campaign to save Seaman's orange pop

·3 min read
As of early 2020, Seaman’s Olde Fashioned Orange soda is no longer being produced by PepsiCo Beverages Canada. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)
As of early 2020, Seaman’s Olde Fashioned Orange soda is no longer being produced by PepsiCo Beverages Canada. (Tony Davis/CBC - image credit)

A Prince Edward Island woman has started a campaign to save Seaman's Olde Fashioned Orange pop.

The iconic soda was originally created by a P.E.I. family business. But the company, Seaman's Beverages, was sold to Pepsi in 2002.

Pepsi continued to manufacture the drink for years. But in an email to CBC News, PepsiCo Beverages Canada said it stopped making Seaman's orange pop in early 2020 because of low demand.

Kellie Ann Perry, who grew up in P.E.I., recently created an online survey to gauge support for bringing the pop back. Perry said she was shocked when she found out the soda was no longer on shelves.

"I figured that there would be more than enough demand for [Pepsi] to keep it going," she said.

Before it was sold to Pepsi, Seaman's Beverages had 11 flavours of drinks. Pepsi reduced that to four or five flavours, and later to just two: orange pop and ginger ale. Pepsi did not tell CBC News if other Seaman's flavours are being discontinued.

Overwhelming support

Perry said the response to her survey has been "overwhelming." As of Thursday afternoon, more than 1,800 people have filled it out. She said she hopes the survey will at least draw some attention to the soda.

Submitted by Kellie Ann Perry
Submitted by Kellie Ann Perry

"We all know Pepsi is a huge company," said Perry.

"If it's not in their marketing or in their plans to bring Seaman's beverages back … maybe there's a craft brewing company that's like, 'you know what, we can probably do that. Maybe we can purchase the recipe and the rights from PepsiCo.'"

Ian Carter is another Islander who strongly supports bringing back the orange pop.

"This beverage is part of what makes this Island a special place," he said.

Carter, who lives in Charlottetown, said he has a case of the beverage that's been sitting in his cupboard for six to eight months.

I think it's not only a P.E.I. part of our history and our heritage, but I think it's got the potential to go Canada wide. — Kellie Ann Perry

"I was looking forward to purchasing many cans of it for a whole summer load of family, visitors and friends," he said. "I couldn't imagine their disappointment if I couldn't get it."

Many Islanders have shared their memories of enjoying Seaman's beverages, Carter said.

"There was one older person who recalled that when she was a child, she used to grab a can of this wonderful stuff and disappear before bed under the covers with a flashlight and a book and enjoy her can of pop and chips."

Carter said he thinks the love for Seaman's orange pop comes from its taste and the nostalgia for a product that was made on P.E.I. for decades.

"This is about respect. This is about large business operations and large corporate operations having a soul, having a sense of community."

'We want to protect it'

"It would be fantastic to see it come back," said Perry. "I think it's not only a P.E.I. part of our history and our heritage, but I think it's got the potential to go Canada wide.

"It's just a matter of getting the attention of the right people with the right backing behind them to make it happen."

Tony Davis/CBC
Tony Davis/CBC

In a statement, PepsiCo Beverages Canada said it is aware of the survey and will review requests to bring back Seaman's orange pop.

"We love the passion you all have for this brand," the statement said. "We're committed to listening and bringing beverages to market that our Canadian fans love."

Carter said regardless of whether the drink will ever be produced by Pepsi again, he is convinced Seaman's orange pop will have a future.

"We want to protect it," Carter said. "We want it to last forever."

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