The Edinburgh visitor experience is flat, unlike my cream soda - Kevin Buckle

There is certainly a lot of nostalgia involved in the revival of vinyl, whether it is adults reliving their youth or encouraging their children to replicate that experience.

By Kevin Buckle
Saturday, 26th February 2022, 7:00 am
Bon Accord boss Karen Knowles with the company's range of soft drinks
Bon Accord boss Karen Knowles with the company's range of soft drinks

However I’ve discovered my own bit of nostalgia since The Refillery has moved into Waverley Market with bottles of Bon Accord. As a kid in Liverpool I remember Alpine Soft Drinks but when I arrived in Edinburgh in the late seventies Bon Accord was the fizzy lemonade of choice rivalling Irn-Bru.

Alpine and Bon Accord closed a long time ago, in the case of Bon Accord in 2000, but any vinyl-like revival faced the issue that the drinks would now be considered too sugary.

Intrigued by this re-emergence I looked into it further and was surprised to see the company is now owned by the great-great granddaughter of Bon Accord’s founder who had completely reimagined the brand in 2016. Now all the sweetness in the drinks comes from coconut nectar and real fruit juice.

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The bottles are also recyclable, though sadly there is no money for returning them which all of us of a certain age will remember.

My previous refreshing tipple came from Flying Tiger, a pink lemonade citrus drink, that was very refreshing though I had only tried it because it came in an amazing bottle with an old style wired bottle stopper. I have collected a lot of these bottles which can be seen in the shop and interestingly it is always the youngsters that comment what a cool bottle it is.

While the new Bon Accord is aimed at adults I suspect that housed in a similar bottle it would get the attention of the younger generation who currently congregate at Rainbow Bubble Tea in the centre’s food court.

Sadly the supplies from Flying Tiger have run out so I was pleased to find another drink to quench my thirst. While Bon Accord understandably make a big thing about their flavours it is actually the fact that they all have just the right amount of fizziness that appeals most to me.

Currently my top tipple is cream soda followed by cloudy lemonade and ginger beer but I’m yet to be tempted by the rhubarb. Not the largest bottle but just enough for a refreshing drink on the bus home.

Speaking of bubble tea it was pointed out to me recently that the demographic for cool independent coffee shops does not include a lot of youngsters and leans very much to those over 30. Word is the kids find the coffee shops a bit intimidating and prefer the familiarity of Starbucks or the alternative in a bubble tea stand.

As I have said before I’m not convinced those tasked with bringing visitors to Edinburgh understand the needs of the many families that visit and of course there are a lot of local families to consider too.

As visitors of all ages return to Edinburgh or even locals get out more what is on offer in the city centre does not match the needs of these families.

Things should be clearer this time next year and with any luck Bon Accord will have started offering dandelion and burdock!

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