'FIZZical!' - When yellow Corona vans delivered soft drinks to your door

IVAN COLMAN, THE CORONA MAN. EEN 2/4/98

'The Corona man' Ivan Colman in 1998, shortly before the brand's demise. - Credit: Archant

"Every bubble's passed its FIZZical."

That was the promise from those behind Corona soft drinks – a staple of life in Norwich up until the 1990s.

It was produced in south Wales, but distributed across the country, including to the factory in Mile Cross Lane.

Automixa machine at corona Works. Date: 1960. Picture: EDP Library

An Automixa machine at the Corona works in Mile Cross Lane, Norwich, in 1960. - Credit: Archant

The sparkling drinks themselves came in a range of flavours from Cherryade to Cream Soda and Orangeade – the predecessor to Tango which can still be found on shelves today.

People could go to the Mile Cross works to pick up the drinks, but a more famous sight around the city were the yellow delivery vans.


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One of those who drove the delightful drinks around the city was Ivan Colman, known affectionately as "The Corona man".

On our Norwich Remembers Facebook group, hundreds of people recalled the weekly deliveries made by Mr Colman and his colleagues.

The Quality Control department at the Norwich Mile Cross Lane Corona Works in July 1960 ensured that

The quality control department at the Norwich Mile Cross Lane Corona works in July 1960 ensured that all drinks sold to the public were absolutely pure. Water was filtered and five additional quality tests conducted before the final product – in this case Sparkling Tango – was deemed suitable for public consumption. - Credit: Archant

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Dennis Sayer said he worked for the company for a few years in the 1950s.

He said: "We did all the Broads area, then Heartsease on Friday night and Saturday morning. We had the old swing top bottles back then. Happy days!"

Lynne Kingsley remembered being able to return empty bottles to the factory to get a few pennies.

She said: "We lived within a walk of the factory and, as kids, we used to take the bottles back and spend the deposit on sweets at a shop at the Boundary, while there was still a roundabout there instead of lights."

Trade and Industry -- ManufacturingCorona Works, NorwichDated -- 22 July 1960Photograp

The Corona works in Mile Cross, Norwich, on July 22, 1960. - Credit: Archant

And Steve Brown fondly recalled getting a bottle of Cream Soda or Cherryade at the end of the long days delivering shoes his father had repaired in a hot Norwich summer in the 1960s.

That wasn't the only time the Corona soft drinks came in handy in a battle against the heat – the Mile Cross factory's acting manager Robin Harvey said demand had been "exceptionally high" during that long, hot summer on 1976.

The brand was bought by Britvic in 1987, who moved production to Lancashire and closed down operations at the plant in south Wales.

Around a decade later, the brand died out completely.

And in 2017, Britvic confirmed it would close its Carrow Works factory, leading to the loss of more than 230 jobs in the city.

• Do you remember Corona soft drinks? Tell us your memories in the comments.

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