Vess Soda is a brand of soft drink manufactured and distributed primarily in the St. Louis, Missouri, USA, metropolitan area and recently in Canada through Dollarama and Giant Tiger locations. The company was founded in 1916. At the height of its popularity, Vess had bottling plants in several locations including Asheville, Lafayette, Anderson and Cincinnati. It is now owned by Cott Beverages.
Sylvester Jones was the principal founder, who developed the VESS trademark from his nickname. Whistle Orange Soda was introduced in 1925, with the Vess logo on the other soda flavors. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 left the company in bad financial shape. The business was sold to Donald Schneebarger. Schneebarger was considered a genius at marketing and added several new flavors to the line, many of which are still produced today. Vess Beverage assets and division, Vess Specialty Packaging Company, was purchased in 1994 by Cott.
As of 2007, Vess soda is sold in small plastic bottles and cans, as well as 2 and 3-liter bottles. Its slogan is "The Billion Bubble Beverage".
Vess flavors include the standard cola and fruit flavors. Vess is well known for its orange soft drink, Whistle. The cream variety is an unusual deep pink color. Vess-Up is its lemon lime soda. Vess also produces cherry cola, black cherry, pineapple, peach, piña colada, strawberry, grape, blue raspberry and kiwi-strawberry flavors. There are also Vess tonic water, ginger ale, club soda and seltzer in one liter bottles and standard and fruit flavors available in 2 and 3 liter variety. Some varieties, such as root beer and peach, have artificial sweetener in both the regular and diet versions, which is not typical in the American soda market.
In the 1980s, Vess soda produced a chocolate beverage almost identical to Yoo-hoo, called Vess Chocolate. It was discontinued in the mid-1990s.
Vess company collection
The Vess family maintains one of the finest private collections of Chinese ceramics and 19th/20th century American and European prints in the US.