Words: Shamim de Brún
Lilt is dead and gone it’s with O’Leary in the Grave. Lilt, the Irish favourite soft drink known for its tropical flavour and colourful advertising, has passed away at the age of… apparently forty-eight.
The tangy drink began in 1975 with the strapline “The Totally Tropical Taste” and was only sold in the UK, Ireland, Gibraltar and the Seychelles. Let’s just say it had a good run.
Lilt was always a bit of an oddball in the mineral world with its zesty pineapple and grapefruit flavour combo. Some people loved it; some people thought it tasted like cough syrup. But no matter what your opinion was, you had to admit that Lilt had some serious style. Who could forget those cheeky ads with the guy in the Hawaiian shirt?
He was called the Lilt Man. His parody adverts in the late 1980s will live on forever in our hearts. While the 1990s classics featuring two Jamaican women known as the Lilt Ladies will remain some of the best minerals adds of all time.
Sadly, Lilt had been in decline for some time. It had trouble keeping up with the trendy new sodas like La Croix and kombucha. Even the old standbys like Club Orange and 7UP seemed to have more staying power.
Some say the decline is linked to the primary school rumour that “Drinking Lilt would lower a man’s sperm count”. But strangely, this wasn’t mentioned in the press release. Guess we’ll never know.
Lilt had already been rebranded as Fanta Pineapple and Grapefruit in Ireland. But it has now also been pulled from UK shelves and replaced by the Fanta variant. Let’s be honest; it was a little hard to take a drink called “Lilt” seriously.
According to the CCEP via the Irish Independent: “Keen Lilt fans may have spotted a gradual transition. The drink has made its way into the Fanta family over the past few months, with changes to its packaging and logo. Some have even hypothesised on social media that Lilt may be becoming part of the Fanta brand. And one even went as far as producing their own news broadcast-style video.”
So let’s all raise a glass (of something else) to Lilt, and remember it fondly as the weird little soda that tried its best. Rest in peace, Lilt. You were… unique.
Elsewhere on CHAR: How Much is Too Much for a Pint?