(Flavored) Shots Fired Between Competing ‘Dirty’ Soda Chains

Things get salty between sweet soda vendors
Flavored syrups

Flickr / Keoni Cabral / CC BY 4.0

Friendly competition or knockoff? You decide.

In predominantly Mormon Utah, sugar has become the vice of choice, according to The New York Times, prompting the widespread growth and popularity of dirty soda shops, where flavored syrups are mixed with soft drinks. A heated dispute between two of the larger chains, Sodalicious and Swig, has loyal customers taking sides.

The dispute? Over the use of the word “dirty,” which Swig trademarked in 2013, and Swig’s accusations of Sodalicious copying its business model, from similarly using soda bubbles in their logo to serving cookies in the same way.

Nicole Tanner of Swig says, “We started seeing some of the knockoffs or whatever you want to call them — ‘competitors.' We’re just trying to protect our brand.”

Kevin Auernig of Sodalicious says, “’dirty’ has been around forever,” and lawyers say the word “dirty” has been used to refer to drinks with added flavors even before Swig trademarked it, pointing to the dirty martini as an example.

Customers flock to these dirty soda shops for an afternoon sugar buzz or to simply hang out with friends. Swig fan Britni Perry says, “They know me, they know my drinks, and they get excited when I walk in. It makes me feel good.”

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Whether you are #TeamSodalicious or #TeamSwig, the attraction and popularity of dirty sodas is undeniable.