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Diet Cel-Ray, R.I.P.


rlibkind
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For what I guess is about a year my local stores in Philadelphia and nearby NJ have not carried Diet Cel-Ray. Now, I understand why: the diet version of this classic is no longer in production! Dr. Brown's other flavors, though fine, just don't match up to Cel-Ray. Guess I'll just have to deal with the extra sugar in the regular version to accompany my pastrami. But still, what a loss!

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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For what I guess is about a year my local stores in Philadelphia and nearby NJ have not carried Diet Cel-Ray.

I haven't seen the regular Cel-Ray for a year or so in the supermarkets that used to carry it (they still have cans and plastic liter bottles of Black Cherry and Cream, diet and regular) so I was afraid it was dropped entirely. Anyone know a source in central Jersey?

I also miss grapefruit soda - I used to buy the store brand at Genuardi's (owned by Safeway) but they closed my local branch in New Jersey. Any other NJ area chains carry a grapefruit soda? Occassional I see grapefruit soda from Blue Sky, but it's often very old (2 years+) and usually sold in the "natural food" section for top dollar.

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I always get a Black Cherry to go along with my Cel Ray, so I can take alternating sips between bites of my pastrami sandwich and kasha knish when I go to Katz. If I had to make a Sophies Choice though, and only two flavors could live, I'd have to send the Cream soda on its way.

Some would say the Cream is their most important flavor, but its a pretty insipid Cream soda compared to other vendors, like IBC, as far as I am concerned.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Some would say the Cream is their most important flavor, but its a pretty insipid Cream soda compared to other vendors, like IBC, as far as I am concerned.

But the Diet Cream is really good. Since I can't drink fully sugared soda (they make my teeth scream), the choices for diet cream soda are limited, at best. Dr. Brown's tastes pretty good to me when there are no alternatives.

Oddly, I have lived in fear of the Cel-Ray flavor (sugared or not) my entire life. I have yet to taste one. :unsure:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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IBC has a diet cream. So does Stewart's, I think.

OK - now I have to start looking, because I've surely never seen them in my local market. I'd definitely have bought them if I did. I love diet cream soda!

Maybe I'll have better luck at the local beer/soda distributor.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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It appears I may be in error about IBC haing a diet cream:

http://www.ibcrootbeer.com/

They have a Diet Root Beer (which is very good, I've had it a number of times) and a regular cream, but no diet cream.

Boylan Bottleworks, which has regional distribution to NJ and PA, has quite a few diet sodas, including their "Cane Cola", Birch Beer, Root Beer, Black Cherry, and like Stewarts, a DIET CREME:

http://www.bevnet.com/reviews/boylans/

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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It appears I may be in error about IBC haing a diet cream:

http://www.ibcrootbeer.com/

They have a Diet Root Beer (which is very good, I've had it a number of times) and a regular cream, but no diet cream.

Boylan Bottleworks, which has regional distribution to NJ and PA, has quite a few diet sodas, including their "Cane Cola", Birch Beer, Root Beer, Black Cherry, and like Stewarts, a DIET CREME:

http://www.bevnet.com/reviews/boylans/

Thanks Jason. I'll check it out on my next beverage run and report back. I think the Boylan's flavors sound really good!

And yes - we have many beer/soda distributors here. Because of the state store system, you can only buy beer (by the case or keg at least) from a beer distributor. You can still buy six packs or individual bottles from a bar or a deli.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I always get a Black Cherry to go along with my Cel Ray, so I can take alternating sips between bites of my pastrami sandwich and kasha knish when I go to Katz. If I had to make a Sophies Choice though, and only two flavors could live, I'd have to send the Cream soda on its way.

Some would say the Cream is their most important flavor, but its a pretty insipid Cream soda compared to other vendors, like IBC, as far as I am concerned.

Cel-Ray is the most important flavor. Without it, they'd take away Brown's medical degree. (At Ratners on Second Avenue my sister, who detested Cel-Ray, always got a ginger ale from "Mr." Myers.) And, yes, the cream soda, diet or regular, is second rate.

The diet cherry is good, but I find the AC store brand at Super Fresh and A&P its equal. Now, if only they made a diet celery!

A dish that brings to mind Dr. Brown's is one served by Marcus Sammuelsson at a tasting dinner he did at Cornell's hotel management schol about five years ago; as an intermezzo he served a celery sorbet.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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  Any other NJ area chains carry a grapefruit soda?

trader joe's carries an italian grapefruit soda which is great.

Hello! Is no one paying attention?!?

Fresca is grapefruit soda! Available at virtually any market that carries Coca-Cola products.

BJ's also carries a very tasty pink grapefruit soda. Don't know the brand name though.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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[

Hello!  Is no one paying attention?!?

Fresca is grapefruit soda! 

Fresca is only available as a "diet" soda with artificial sweetener, tho', right? I'm looking for "real" soda <g>.

BJ's also carries a very tasty pink grapefruit soda.  Don't know the brand name though.

BJ is one of the those "member only" outfits, right? Will have to check it out next time they offer a free pass coupon.

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GRAPEFRUIT IS NOT CELERY. I WANT MY DIET CEL-RAY!

Sorry to have confused so many with my reply. I did not mean to imply that Cel-Ray = grapefruit soda- only tacking on the fact that I was *also* having a difficult time finding a different "clear" (i.e., not "cola" dark) soda.

Nor did I mean to imply that Dr. Brown stopped making Cel-Ray, ONLY that I can't find it in many of the supermarkets from which I used to buy it (including one store with a separate Kosher butcher counter and large Kosher food selection). I do find the other flavors of Dr. Brown being carried and find it odd that the "most important" flavor is not on the shelves I check in central NJ.

I also note that "beer depot" type stores are a vanishing breed in central NJ (as opposed to PA., where the beer retailing laws support them). The two that I knew (in Edison and Linden) have been gone for 20 years and most NJ discount liquor store chains that I go to (and I go to a lot of 'em <g>) don't carry much soda and usually only the majors.

Edited by jesskidden (log)
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whole foods makes a fantastic italian grapefruit soda, as well as lemon, cranberry, tangerine and orange. It's in a one liter bottle with a '365' label...yummy! It's a wonderful mixer for gin too!

"Godspeed all the bakers at dawn... may they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns til they melt away..."

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As to (my beloved) Fresca, they reformulated it recently - it now comes in Peach or Cherry flavour. And it's vile.

:sad:

Yes, we've had some discussion about it here. But the original Fresca is still available as well. Or, is this like Diet 7-Up which was "improved" (with Splenda) to the point where it's barely drinkable anymore?

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

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Oddly, I have lived in fear of the Cel-Ray flavor (sugared or not) my entire life.  I have yet to taste one. :unsure:

Smart woman, that Katie Loeb. You're not missing anything. Trust me! BLEAH!!

'scuse me while I duck now... hehe

Edit: There is a similar discussion about grapefruit soda somewhere on here, but I can't seem to find it. So here's my comment: FRESCA, FRESCA, FRESCA! :biggrin: And Hansen's makes a decent one too.

Edited by Curlz (log)

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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Oddly, I have lived in fear of the Cel-Ray flavor (sugared or not) my entire life.  I have yet to taste one. :unsure:

Smart woman, that Katie Loeb. You're not missing anything. Trust me! BLEAH!!

'scuse me while I duck now... hehe

Curlz, you have uttered blasphemy. Your penance shall be a year of Oscar Meyers wieners -- with ketchup, not mustard -- for you

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! :wacko:

Then again, that's probably not as bad as being forced to drink (gulp) CEL-RAY.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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For the sake of being a true eGulleteer I should probably try a Cel-Ray just once to see if it's palatable. I'm just freaked at the idea of CELERY soda! I mean, Broccoli soda doesn't sound appealing. Neither does cabbage.

Why?? Now that I think it through it isn't even the flavor that frightens me. It's the concept. :blink:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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