Say it’s the middle of a New York City heatwave and you pop into a bodega looking for a refreshing name-brand Ginger Ale. Instead you come across the bottle in the photos above, staring back at you with obvious disdain for the normal expected patterns and packaging standards you’re used to seeing in the refrigerated cases across the city. Seems legit, right?
Our music editor Lilly Vanek spotted this in a bodega in Harlem last week, on the shelf with the rest of the sodas. Presumably the labels got ripped off at some point and the shop owner (or their kid), eager to not let the product go to waste, created a new one — though most branding experts will probably advise against putting a frowny face on your packaging. But bad news all you aspiring artisanal packaging bodega artists: we checked with the city and this is definitely not legal.
A representative from the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs told us: “Prepackaged products must include the product’s identity, net weight, measure or numerical count, and the name and address of the distributor on its label,” which means this homemade label, however noble its cause in not letting a good product go to waste, is not legal.
Would you buy it though? I bet a lot of people would, because Americans will go a long way out of their way just to avoid drinking water.