A Brief History of Carbon Dioxide in the Beverage Industry

Gas & Chemical Service

When you drink of your favorite soda pop, you probably notice the “fizz.” In fact, if you opened a bottle or can and there was no fizz, you would probably say it was “flat” and worthless. This strange gas which brings life to many drinks is beverage grade CO2 or carbon dioxide. Here is a brief look at its history and some of its uses in the beverage industry.

Natural Sources

Did you know the first carbonated drinks were found in nature? In some areas, CO2 is naturally infused with water sources. This is rare, and many people seek this water for purification and healing. Perrier was naturally carbonated drinking water but now the CO2 and water and taken separately and then combined later. There is no need to use beverage grade CO2 products for Perrier since the CO2 is found naturally.

Producing Carbonated Drinks

In the mid-1700s, people were trying to replicate naturally carbonated spring water. In fact, Joseph Priestly came up with a method of infusing water and CO2 in 1767. This was the birth of modern soft drinks. Priestly later published a paper on his findings in which he used chalk and sulfuric acid to make CO2.

By the dawn of the 19th Century, many places sold carbonated mineral water. People started adding different ingredients for taste. In fact, most people then believed CO2 water was a healthy alternative beverage.


By the mid 19th Century, more than 50 manufacturers produced soft drinks, including carbonated lemonade, ginger, and root beers. However, it was not until 1892 when the Crown Cork bottle seal solved the problem of properly sealing the bottles. Today, the soft drinks industry is a major force in the world and going strong thanks to ingenuity and beverage grade CO2.