After a decades-long pause in its production, Vivi Kola celebrates the 10-year anniversary of its revival in 2020. Switzerland’s very own cola drink started during the first half of the 20th century. Especially refreshing during the summer months, it has a unique Swiss history, with a strong connection to Cameroon.
Test your knowledge of this classic Swiss soda by checking out the following 10 facts.
1. Created just before World War II
Vivi Kola’s story begins in 1938, when it was launched in Eglisau (Zürich) as the first Swiss cola. Otto Müller (1895-1964), who worked for the Eglisau mineral springs, developed the original recipe for this drink.
2. All-natural ingredients and 100% Swiss made
The ingredient list for this beverage includes the following: water, sugar (from Swiss sugar beets), carbonic acid, coloring (E 150d), acidifier (phosphoric acid, citric acid), acidity regulator (sodium citrate), natural flavors, caffeine, natural kola nut flavor.
Personally, I like drinking it with lots of ice and a thin slice of lemon. For a “cherry coke” version, you could add a shot of Churer Röteli. You also might want to try a thin slice of lime and a shot of rum.
3. A legendary trip to Cameroon?
The story goes that the founder went on an exploratory trip to this African nation in search of the kola nut. Traveling to Cameroon by ship, the legendary trip supposedly took place in 1938. While other European and American cola producers may use a synthetic flavor resembling the flavors of the kola nut, Switzerland’s version contains the real thing. The company sources its Fair Trade kola nuts from southern Cameroon.
4. Sponsoring a major sporting event
Switzerland’s cola drink company served as the primary sponsor for the Tour de Suisse in 1949. This cycling race around Switzerland first started in 1933. Today’s version of this race has 9 stages that take place throughout the month of June.
5. Pepsi takes over the market
In 1986, when the company was under the ownership of Feldschlösschen, production of the first Swiss cola stopped in order to make Pepsi-Cola instead.
6. The rebirth of Swiss cola in 2010
Christian Forrer, who grew up in Eglisau, was 13 years old when the production of this drink suddenly stopped. Nearly a quarter-century later, he relaunched this historic Swiss brand at the company’s new Vivi-Café.
7. Competition with Rivella
In the 1990s, Rivella apparently registered the name, “Rivi-Cola,” with the intention of launching their own cola drink. The two competitors eventually came to an agreement, and the “Rivi-Cola” name disappeared.
8. Tracing its history
Published in 2013 by Andrea Sailer and Barbara Weber-Ruppli, Vivi-Kola: Zeitgeist in Flaschen traces the history of this caffeinated beverage from the time of its invention. The book contains images of old advertising posters, photographs and more that chronicle the timeline of Switzerland’s iconic cola drink.
9. Vivi Kola has expanded its reach
With dozens of employees and eight ViCAFE locations – six in the Zürich area, one in Basel and the original in Eglisau — you can find this beverage throughout Switzerland, including at Swiss supermarkets, such as Coop and Migros. The Zürcher Unterländer reported in June 2020 that Forrer wants Vivi Kola to become the second most popular cola drink in Switzerland.
10. A sugar-free version
Vivi Kola contains eight percent less sugar than a “conventional” cola, according to the company’s website. If you want even less sugar, you might consider the Vivi Kola Zéro. It contains sucralose and steviol glycosides from stevia, instead of sugar.
Vivi Kola AG, Plantschulstrasse 34, 8004 Zürich, firstname.lastname@example.org, +41 (0)43 960 38 27
- Fehr, Ursula, “Vivi-Kola feiert ein Jahrzehnt Erfolg,” Zürcher Unterländer (June 15, 2020).
- “Schweizer Vivi Kola landet Coup in Dubai,” 20 Minuten (April 20, 2019).
- Vivi-Kola, ott verlag (2013).
- “Vivi Kola – das Leben der Schweizer Cola,” Handelszeitung (October 10, 2013).
- Weinmann, Benjamin, “Die Schweizer Marke Vivi Kola – wie Phoenix aus der Brause,” watson.ch (April 22, 2019).
Updated: January 9, 2023
Related article: “10 Facts About Pepita: An Iconic Grapefruit Soft Drink” (October 2018)
Categories: book, Culinary travel, Drink, Drinks, Swiss, Swiss food, Switzerland
1 reply »