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Lawsuit Alleges that Canada Dry Ginger Ale Contains No Actual Ginger

If the plaintiff's claims are true, 'high fructose corn syrup ale' might be a more accurate name for the drink.
Photo via Flickr user Justin S. Campbell

In a recent ad campaign, Canada Dry suggested that its customers needed to ‘Relax Harder,’ by kicking back with the “soothing and relaxing qualities” of its ginger ale. “We want to help consumers achieve ideal relaxation, using the calming qualities and real ginger taste of Canada Dry Ginger Ale,” the company’s director of marketing said at the time. Julie Fletcher is having none of it.

After finding zero ginger on the ingredients list—despite the brand’s claims of real ginger —the Bolivar, New York mom has filed a lawsuit against the owners of Canada Dry.


According to the Buffalo News, Fletcher says that the company “misled her” by suggesting that its ginger ale was made with actual ginger. “Ms. Fletcher believed this meant that Canada Dry was made using ginger root and was, as a result, a healthier alternative to regular sodas," her attorney, Michael J. DeBenedictis, wrote in the lawsuit. The ingredients listed for each serving of Canada Dry are carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, sodium benzoate, natural flavors, and caramel color.

Her beef with Canada Dry (which also does not contain actual beef) dates back to when she had young children, and would let them sip ginger ale when their stomachs were upset, “believing that the ginger root in the beverage would soothe their stomach aches.” Instead, she was giving them a chilled glass of FIZZY LIES.

Fletcher has accused Canada Dry of using those ‘real ginger’ claims as nothing more than a marketing strategy—and she admits that she fell for it. Her lawsuit says that she was “hurt economically” by purchasing Canada Dry products, and she would like to be compensated. She also wants her legal challenge to become a class-action lawsuit, in which other customers can claim their own ginger-free damages.

This is not the only lawsuit that Canada Dry and its parent company, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., are currently facing; two similar lawsuits are currently pending in California and Massachusetts, and a third was recently dismissed in Missouri. In that case, the plaintiff asked for a dismissal, even though a judge refused to end the case after an independent lab found that there was “not a detectable amount of ginger” in the beverage. (Canada Dry’s defense was to claim that ginger was included in those ‘natural flavors’ and it questioned the credibility and accuracy of those lab tests).

Despite the legal challenges, the company has not backed down one inch from its real ginger claims. In a press release for its newest product, Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade, it enthusiastically describes the “flavor made from real ginger and a splash of lemonade made with real juice.”

MUNCHIES has reached out to Dr Pepper Snapple for comment, but we have not yet heard back. So much for that “soothing and relaxing” thing.