Traveling in the former Czech and Slovak Socialist Republic I have again had many opportunities to enjoy Kofola, the CSSR's answer to the Captialist West's Coke and Pepsi. Dark, carbonated, and slightly bitter, Kofola was created by a state-owned pharmaceutical company in an effort to find a use for surplus caffeine produced by coffee roasting facilties. Now it's the most popular soft drink in Slovakia -- ahead of both its American rivals -- and #2 in the Czech Republic.
I wrote a piece on the revival of Communist era products -- including Kofola -- in The Christian Science Monitor on my last trip to the former CSSR. Since then I developed a fantasy that, at the height of the Cold War, Czechoslovak agents stole the secrets to Maine's indigenous-ish soft drink, Moxie, one that I shared with Jim Baumer while he was writing Moxietown. After all, they seem to taste the same, and both are best served ice cold.
Photo (c) 2008-9 Colin Woodard.