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Every Picture Tells A Story: Remembering Vernor's at the Grand Trunk

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In a pub that celebrates Michigan-made beverages, it would be almost wrong to ignore one of Detroit’s most-famous drinks of all time.

The Grand Trunk celebrates one of Detroit's most-famous homegrown beverages, Vernor's Ginger Ale.
Ken Welsch

At the Grand Trunk Pub on Woodward Avenue, just a few blocks south of where pharmacist James Vernor created the gingery taste of Vernor’s Ginger Ale during the days of the Civil War, one of the original store’s signs hangs on a wall.

The huge metal sign – rusted through in parts – shows the companys’ bearded Irishman spokesman, as well as the company’s decades-old slogan, “Deliciously different.” You’ll find the sign hanging toward the front of the Grand Trunk, but to see the original store location, walk a few blocks up Woodward. As part of the Woodward Avenue Heritage and Cultural Tour, the Vernor’s location is marked by a sidewalk placard that tells the story of how Vernor created the popular drink.

Legend tells that Vernor was working on recreating the taste of a popular ginger ale that had shipped in from Ireland. When he was called to serve in the war in 1962, he stored the ginger, vanilla and other natural flavorings in an oak cask. When he returned four years later, he opened the keg and found the aging process has created a beverage that tasted like nothing before it.

SEE IT FOR YOURSELF: The Grand Trunk Pub is located at 612 Woodward Ave., between Campus Martius Park and the river. Call 313-961-3043, or visit the GTP online at www.grandtrunkpub.com.

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