What is the Difference Between Brown Cream Soda and Red Cream Soda?

  • By: Max S.
  • Date: August 16, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Brown cream soda is used synonymously with regular cream soda. And red cream soda is regarded by several people to be a derivative of cream soda. But is this true?

I opened my computer to research the similarities and differences between these two categories of cream soda, and I was surprised to find out that despite existing side by side for many decades, there are not a lot of posts comparing the brown and the red cream soda.

Many of our favorite drinks, including big red, dr. Pepper cream soda, Pepsi cream soda, Schweppes brown cream soda, and Zevia cream soda are in one of the two categories, so there is a need for a complete and detailed post on how the brown cream soda differs from the red cream soda.

I’ve got you. Read on!

Red Cream Soda Vs. Brown Cream Soda

Brown Cream Soda

Brown Cream Soda
Brown Cream Soda

Interestingly, brown cream sodas are cream sodas with brown color. Cream sodas typically have a colorless or light brown color. However, red, pink, orange, and blue variants of cream sodas are available.

The earliest cream sodas were made in the form of cream soda-water with sodium bicarbonate, water, sugar, egg whites, wheat flour, and flavoring materials such as lemon oil, extracts of vanilla, and pineapple, which complemented the taste. The cream soda water was mixed with water and an acid such as tartaric or citric acid before drinking.

Recently, many leading brands have tweaked the recipe a bit, with many of the cream sodas containing carbonated water, sugar or corn syrup, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate, phosphoric acid, caffeine, and sodium phosphate.

Examples of brown cream soda are Schweppes brown cream soda and Dr. Brown’s cream soda.

Red Cream Soda

Red Cream Soda

While the regular cream soda is typically light brown or colorless, the red cream soda is strikingly red. 

The ingredients used in manufacturing the red cream soda are carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, natural and artificial flavors, red #40, citric acid, caramel color, and caffeine. The essential ingredients that make up a cream soda are found in the two cream soda categories.

The flavor of red cream soda, though often thought to be liquid bubble gum, is a mixture of orange and lemon oils blended with the traditional vanilla of the cream soda, giving a creamy aftertaste. FD&C red 40 food color gives the soft drink its red color.

Red cream soda is hugely popular in the Southern United States and is very distinctive with its unique taste.

Typical examples of red cream sodas are Big Red (also known as the original red cream soda), Barq’s red creme soda, and Dad’s red creme soda.

Basically, the difference between red cream soda and regular cream soda is in color and flavor.

What Flavors are in Brown Cream Soda?

Brown cream soda or cream soda is usually vanilla-flavored but varies according to the different regions of the world where it is produced. 

In the US, cream soda varies mainly in color. Barq’s cream soda is brown, A&W is tan, and Jones is clear. But they all have the vanilla flavor. 

In Australia, two cream sodas with different flavors exist; regular cream soda, brown with a vanilla flavor, and creaming soda, a pink soft drink with fruit and berry flavors.

Why is it Called Cream Soda?

Cream soda is a beverage that tastes like vanilla ice cream, but it’s uncertain that this is why it was first called cream soda.

The cream in the name may come from the cream of tartar, an ingredient used in the early cream sodas to balance whipped egg whites and stop the syrup from crystallizing.

The first known recipe for cream soda was written and published by E. M. Sheldon in 1853 and involved mixing the cream of tartar with baking soda, Epsom salts, sugar, egg, and milk.

But, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Paediatrics, cream soda was first invented by Robert Green in Philadelphia in 1874.

Mr. Green was said to be selling his standard cream soda drink, which was made with soda water, sweet cream, and special syrup when he ran out of cream. He used vanilla ice cream instead for the mixture, and this new drink sold 100 times more than his original cream soda drink.

Also, many patents were granted for ‘cream soda water and ‘ice-cream soda’ earlier in the 1860s. 

With many contrasting stories on who first invented cream soda, it’s difficult to say who first named it ‘cream soda.’

Is Red Cream Soda Strawberry?

Is Red Cream Soda Strawberry?
Is Red Cream Soda Strawberry?

Red cream sodas come in different flavors.

While Big Red, a famous red cream soda, has a unique flavor of mixed orange and lemon oils blended with the traditional vanilla of cream soda, the Faygo Red Pop focuses more on the strawberry flavor.

Faygo’s strawberry pop is one of the original red cream sodas created in the early 1900s. The strawberry pop was changed to Red Pop in the 1960s and is one of Faygo’s highest-selling soft drinks.

Big red varieties such as big blue and big peach include a blend of fruit flavors, such as apple, cherry, and strawberry, with a creamy undertone.

Big red and Faygo are significant manufacturers of red cream soda. Other varieties of red cream soda include Barq’s red cream soda manufactured by coca cola and dads red cream soda.

Pack of Big Red Soda
Pack of Big Red Soda

Is Cream Soda good for you?

Cream sodas typically have about 140 – 160 calories per 12-ounce can, a low sodium quantity, and a good amount of sugar. Having a soda when you want is not bad for you. 

However, you need to check the sugar percentage on the cream soda to ensure it isn’t too high. Most cream sodas have a sugar content of 38 – 41g.

Some brands, such as Big Red, have sugar-free variants if you want to cut down on the sugar but want that same creamy taste.


Brown cream sodas and red cream sodas are more similar than different.

The significant difference is in the color and flavor of the cream soda. While the brown cream soda is light brown with a typical vanilla flavor, the red cream soda is red with a unique flavor of lemon oils blended with vanilla.

Brown cream sodas are also regular cream sodas. Wide varieties of cream soda worldwide have different flavors but the same creamy taste.