1642 Cola isn't Montreal: it's the taste of Montreal.
What makes 1642 Cola most special is the story behind the local cola.
The only part of the process that is imported from outside Quebec is the bottle cap itself. Brewed in Quebec; Bottled in Quebec; Labels and bottles from Quebec; and sold in Quebec.
A hell of a story, especially if you are born and bred in Quebec.
The other outsider is Bastien Poulain, the cola's creator, who is from France by birth. Poulain told the CBC that "I feel totally like a Montréaler."
I haven't tried 1642 Cola and unless someone from Montréal sends a bottle or two a moi, this won't happen anytime soon. A cola with a hint of maple is enough of a story to send me to the store to try one. What the makers of 1642 hope to do is for buyers to appreciate the story behind 1642 Cola.
While there are significant differences between a homegrown cola with quality ingredients and a traditional huge brand filled with high-fructose corn syrup, in the end, they are both soft drinks. And you have to work harder, even in Montréal, to find 1642 Cola.
Even if 1642 Cola is better, people still need enough of a reason to go out of their way to buy the product.
Part of the story is the chase. The cola is so special that you might find it at your local Metro (local chain store in Montréal) grocery store. Don't worry; the 1642 Cola Web site has a map of locations to find the Quebec soft drink.
A story with no dragon, no princess to save … and no mustachioed plumber ready to do whatever it takes. No karts, no mushrooms to help you grow.
It all starts in 1642 with the Sieur de Maisonneuve and the foundation of Montreal. A story for all Montrealers, whether we were born here or made it our home. This is the story of our proud city, which deserves a cola of its very own.
Montreal's cola has arrived, and it's good!
Quebec is a distinct society within Canada, much less North America. Unlike the rest of Canada, Quebec isn't as influenced by the powerful media from south of the border. Language is the primary factor, but the Quebecois approach is find a distinct path, regardless of influence from outside its borders.
Coca-Cola dominates the vast majority of world markets with Pepsi running a distant second. You will find occasional exceptions. Dallas-Ft. Worth is Dr. Pepper territory, given that soft drink's roots, and traditionally came in second in the market, ahead of Pepsi.
In Quebec, Pepsi outsells Coca-Cola. This isn't a recent phenomenon. Pepsi's marketing in Quebec has convinced Quebecers that the company cares more about them than Coca-Cola does. In the 1980s, Pepsi hired Quebec comedian Claude Meunier to do some commercials. These ads reinforced Pepsi's popularity among Quebecers.
Even if they are worldwide brands, Pepsi's perception is more local in Quebec than Coca-Cola. Now 1642 Cola wants to be truly local.
The new kid on the block has been around since November, so even a niche market is a long way from happening. Is 1642 Cola better than the giant soft drink companies? Probably. But the newcomer knows having a good story makes a lot of difference and vive le difference.
Over 100 years ago, Coca-Cola had an amazing story. Its Southern roots made the soft drink a staple in the South long before the drink spread throughout the world. There was a time in the South where a soft drink of any kind was often referred to as a "Coke."
An ice cold Coca-Cola was more crucial in a region where heat was a major concern and air conditioning was rare or non-existent. Ice-cold water was always healthier for you, but the ice-cold soft drink was part of the story for why people reached out for a soft drink.
Food sells better when it has a story, especially these days. Coca-Cola has a great story if you go back to the early days. The original cola wars were about pep and taste, a battle over energy and quality. Given the current commercials for national soft drinks, taste and quality ingredients are nonexistent concerns.
The Coca-Cola found in the United States and Canada isn't the same Coca-Cola that you can get around the world. High-fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose in Canada) has made a big impact on the quality of the product in most of North American. 1642 Cola was created, in part, because some consumers want the taste of what Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and the other major soft drinks used to be. What 1642 Cola and others such as them are now.
100 years ago, finding that joy was pretty easy. In 2015, that joy is harder to come by, a part of the story to tell.