The Slow Death Of The 1.25-Litre Soft Drink

The Slow Death Of The 1.25-Litre Soft Drink
Image: Logan Booker

The 1.25-litre soft drink has been an Australian institution for decades. Order a pizza, grab a bottle of Pepsi, Coke or Fanta to match that large Hawaiian. Hit the supermarket, stock up on lemonade, tonic water and ginger ale for the long weekend. Sadly, much like the elves of Middle-Earth, the 1.25-litre is, gradually, departing these lands, at least in the case of Schweppes.

Perhaps you blamed it on madness, or a misremembrance. I’m here to tell you that you weren’t mistaken. A huge chunk of the Schweppes range has shrunk from the venerable 1.25-litre, to the more petite 1.1-litre. Adding insult to injury, the latter is a little taller than its predecessor, much to the chagrin of fridges everywhere.

Sure, it’s a measly 150mL, but that’s not the point. The point is you can no longer say “can you get me a 1.25 of [insert beverage here]”. It’s a relic now, an expression deader than “…said the actress to the bishop”.

Simply put, it just feels wrong.

Image: Schweppes

Going by comments online, the switch to 1.1-litre bottles started over a year ago, but was limited to mixers, such as tonic water and ginger ale. It’s only in the last few months that the likes of creaming soda and lemonade were affected.

The good news is you’re not being charged the same for less. In fact, prices went down about 20c.

Yay, I guess?

On another positive note, Schweppes looks to be the only company that’s cut its bottle sizes. Soft drink stalwarts Coke and Pepsi are still available in 1.25-litre sizing (there’s even 1.5-litre, for the indecisive masses), and I don’t think they’ll try anything soon, if only because of the backlash. The Pizza Shapes saga would look like a mild disagreement in comparison.

But I do think this is the start of the end. Over the years, we’ve seen chocolate blocks go down in size and Pringles essentially kill its business.

They had to come for soft drinks sooner or later.

Schweppes 1.25L bottle varieties have quietly shrunk down to 1.1L and price has stayed the same. [Reddit]


  • Why one point one liters? 1.25L and 1.5L equal five and six metric cups respectively. 1.1L is four metric cups plus two-fifths left over. It may seem insignificant to the consumer, but manufacturers don’t make this kind of decision off the cuff. Landing on the exact number almost invariably involves months of research and arguments and designs and focus groups. What lead them to land on 1.1L?

    • I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest it’s a usability issue. I admit I was all cynicism and snark when I noticed the change, but here’s the kicker. The new bottles are actually much easier to pour one-handed. I’m a taller than average male with fairly strong hands, but pouring full 1.25L bottles was very hard to do with all the weight higher up. You tended to have to squeeze the bottle to maintain a grip and that caused the contents to rush out.
      The new bottles move most of the weight to the bottom of the bottle and the slight indent lower down allows your to hold the bottle more firmly without crushing it. Much much easier. Try it, you might like it. 🙂

      • Reminds me of a yard glass. Ever seen someone try to drink from one?
        Really easy to start, but you get a sudden rush of fluid toward the end which can make a mess.

  • If the price went down, but you still want to be upset, then try figuring out how much plastic is in a bottle [weigh a few empties, then take an average]. Odds are, the waste plastic per litre has gone up.

    You can do the same with the smaller cans Coke have started using.

  • It’s called the depreciation of the dollar except instead of nipping pieces off of gold or silver coins as they did in Roman times they now reduce the content amount and keep the price. It’s happening with everything nowadays, even my favourite Cadbury’s bar is now smaller but I’m still paying the full price of what it was before reduction. ;(

  • introducing the next gen Schweppes, now in a more convenient size of 1.1L, ain’t that great, and with the cost of remaking the new bottle and labels, which we of course will pass on to you the consumer, its more costly than the original 1.25L, what’s that? you’ll just purchase the old size, well… not anymore we’ve discontinued that line, yay corporate greed

    there you go Schweppes, there’s your advertising script for your next commercial, your welcome 😉

  • I can get Coke No Sugar 1.25L in supermarkets but the bottle shop only stocks the 1.5L bottles which are taller in the fridge.
    But my fridge shelf has a lift up section for the tall bottles.

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