That Ol’ Devil (Diet) Grape Soda

It tormented me. I grew up drinking grape soda (Welch’s) and I love it. I also like Moxie but hey, I’m from New England. But now my teeth are all root-canaled and I exercise every day so no sugar sodas for me. Imagine my shock when I saw Squamscot Beverages Diet Grape Soda one day at a Certain Soda Shop with Elise. I nearly fainted. There is no such thing as Diet Grape Soda. Just like there is no Diet Moxie. I mean, if there was, I would know. Naturally I bought every bottle.

Then it disappeared. I went for my Diet Grape Soda Run and there was none. NONE! “They stopped carrying it,” Certain Soda Shop told me. I sort of understood. I mean, who else was out there? I imagined a twilight zone of old New England ex-smokers who no longer stayed up late because they lived in Los Angeles but still needed their grape sodas, like me. And I couldn’t think of anyone else…except me. I even tried to get Nehi but guess what? They don’t ship it out of state! Some funky old law.

So I went to Squamscot’s site and wrote them an email. They were great! They weren’t out of business at all. They referred me to my local distributor, Real Soda, in Gardena. Now, Real Soda is a gas, gas, gas. I’m not making a bad joke here:

Hi Donna!
Sorry about that… Certain Soda Shop was a great place til they ran up a huge bill and stopped ordering and paying!! We just got Squamscot Diet Grape approved at BevMo stores… but they have not gotten their first shipments yet. Our warehouse is in Gardena so you can drive up and buy all you want; also if you want we can deliver to your house; let me know if I can be of more assistance and thanks for contacting us!

Yours effervescently,
Danny Ginsburg
The Soda Sommelier
Real Soda In Real Bottles, Ltd.
“Real Soda is perhaps unquestionably, the purveyor of effervescence excellence most worthy of your admiration!”
Please reply to the Sodamaster at
“Real Soda adds sparkle to enhance our bubbly personalities while our competitors’ beverages may just give you gas!”

The deep purple story of why I couldn’t get my soda was even more devious. As Danny and I exchanged emails, I found out that Certain Soda Shop,

“used to pick up the soda at our warehouse and they befriended our then-manager and then when my wife and I went on vacation out of the country this ‘manager’ resigned by e-mail while we were on the plane and went to work for Certain Soda Shop, [and then] tried to call all of our suppliers for direct shipments (including Squamscot)… and right before that they took 3 trucks of product out of my warehouse “on credit”. Fortunately all but one of my suppliers refused to ship them and many of them contacted me and said that my ex-manager was trying to pull a Pearl Harbor on me and to beware… Anyway to make a long story short they did this on November 4th and have run out of most everything… and they still owe me almost $50K.”


Well, as much as I digress about Diet Grape Soda, Squamscot makes fabulous other sodas (check out their site), which Real Soda carries – if you’re not watching your waistline, check out the Maple Cream, which is luscious. And Larchmont VWS&C – I love you. Please don’t let me down!

It only got better. While debating on a field trip with Elise, Danny sent pictures (as you can see) and I wandered into my local and favorite sandwich shop, Larchmont Village Wine Spirits and Cheese, and THERE IT WAS. Squamscot Diet Grape! In my neighborhood! Truly serendipity was at work. I thought I would scream. Maybe I did. When I asked if they got the soda from Danny, the guys at Larchmont were delighted. “How do you know Danny?” “I just talked to him this morning!” I said, as if it were the most normal thing in the world.

And now, it is the most normal thing in the world to stop by Larchmont and fill my basket with Diet Grape and then get a delicious sandwich. 

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Donna Lethal

About Donna Lethal

Donna Lethal is the author of "Milk of Amnesia" and writes for her own blog (Lethal Dose), Hair Hall of Fame, Dowager Quarterly, Find A Death, & the Valhalla Cemetery chapter in "Weird Hollywood." A native of Lowell, Mass., she's lived in Boston, NY and London before settling here. When not writing, she's hiking, soaking in a Korean salt room or in the high desert with her pit bull.
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