A worker cleaning Goli soda bottles at Vasu and Co., Chennai

Cleaning Goli soda bottles | Vasu and Co., Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Goli soda is a locally made carbonated drink that was wildly popular in India before the entry of major international companies. In Chennai, Vasu and Co. is one out of a couple of surviving Goli soda makers. The business of making Goli soda drinks is a declining one, mainly due to the lack of the Goli soda bottle manufacturers. The proprietor, D. Balakrishnan, says that there are barely 1000 bottles at their manufacturing unit. To avoid running into a complete loss, they have started using the common cork bottles (with metallic caps) to fill the drinks. Because of this dearth of Goli soda bottle supplies, each bottle is handled extremely carefully. There are around ten workers at Vasu and Co., and all of them do all the three main jobs here, of delivering, cleaning, and refilling the bottles. The uniqueness of the Goli soda bottle lies in the marble (goli) that lies suspended in the middle of the bottle. The workers here use manually run sodamakers to fill the bottles after the flavouring agents have been mixed in with water and sugar. It is available in several flavours, such as lemon, orange, panneer (rose water), cola, ginger, and as plain soda as well. Considering the number of bottles that are bound to get damaged during transit or due to other reasons, there are a lot of difficulties that the makers of Goli soda face. Apart from this, they also have to compete with bigger companies which provide free refrigerators to sell their products. The makers of Goli soda can neither afford to provide refrigerators to these shops, nor can they manage to keep up with the increasing costs of production because of inflation in sugar and gas cylinder prices. To cut costs, they now focus on delivering only in the surrounding areas of Mylapore and Triplicane in Chennai.