The New Zealand Soda That Got Its Own 20-Foot-Tall Statue

statue of L&P bottle
statue of L&P bottle - crisp.b.88 / Instagram

A massive statue of an L&P bottle standing outside a New Zealand town has caused quite a stir. Originating in Paeroa, L&P is a lemon-flavored beverage native to New Zealand. The beverage has been around since 1907, offering a recipe mixed with lemon juice and carbonated mineral water. The name L&P references both the flavor and town -- lemon and Paeroa -- and while the flavors may not be particularly unique, hunting down this soda can be difficult if a thirsty drinker is not in New Zealand. Thus, the beverage's slogan: "World Famous in New Zealand."

Paeroa's mineral waters famously flavored the drink. Unlike other kinds of lemon-flavored drinks Americans might be familiar with, L&P leans into the lemon bitters category. The dry soda can leave behind a mineral taste in the mouth with a touch of acidic sweetness. Some white chocolate bars are flavored with L&P, but like the drink, they, too, can be tricky to find if you're not in New Zealand. This could be one of the reasons why the massive statue has held appeal to visitors to the area.

The installment was a pointed effort to draw attention to Paeroa. "I'm the last person who's still alive and there's no one else around to give the true history," Cliff Pett, who worked on the bottle's construction told the New Zealand Herald. Pett admits that they didn't imagine this bottle would become a lasting attraction in the town, much less be standing decades later.

Read more: 25 Popular Bottled Water Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

Committed To An Idea

close up of L&P bottle statue
close up of L&P bottle statue - Harrell Wong / Instagram

Cliff Pett claims that a group of businessmen collectively decided that a bottle of L&P was a brilliant idea to promote the town. The group was drinking on a hot day, and an empty soda bottle inspired their creative campaign to bring visitors to the community. The men announced their idea to the mayor, council members, and then-owners of the Paeroa mineral water spring who all agreed this was a concept worth pursuing.

In 1969, a concrete slab was set, and construction on the bottle took place. Vertical steel rods were erected on top of concrete rings that measured 3 feet in height, and chicken netting was wrapped around them before a local tradesman affixed plaster. A door was made at the base of the neck to provide access inside the bottle for repairs. While the statue remains standing, the soda has undergone some changes, including a shift of ownership, and Coca-Cola now runs the company.

Read the original article on Tasting Table