Thursday, August 9, 2012

Autocrat & Eclipse Coffee Syrup

So, after blogging about clam cake loyalties the other day, we realized that the biggest rivalry for recognition between Rhode Island products is definitely coffee syrup - Autocrat or Eclipse????

If you grew up in Rhode Island, you have a favorite. To the rest of the world, there may be little discernible difference (blasphemy!!), but a real Rhode Islander knows........................

Eclipse Coffee Syrup, 3, 16oz Bottles                           Autocrat Coffee Syrup, 3, 16oz BottlesCoffee Syrup

For those who may never have heard of this concoction, this is how it's described by Wikipedia:  "Coffee syrup is a beverage additive typically found in Rhode Island. Made of three ingredients (water and sugar strained through coffee grounds), this syrup is used in other local cuisine such as coffee milk and coffee cabinets.
Originally produced in the 1930s in corner drug stores, coffee syrup was targeted towards children, while their parents drank hot coffee. Due to the popularity of this product, coffee syrup was bottled and sold by merchants. In 1993 coffee syrup was competing against Del's Lemonade (another local drink) and won the title of official drink of Rhode Island."  
Yes, we have an Official State Drink. And yes, it's coffee milk.

Photo: Autocrat Coffee Syrup is featured in this week's History Bytes!

“A Swallow Will Tell You” is the motto of Autocrat Coffee Syrup, a home-grown Rhode Island favorite along with Del’s and Saugys. The origins of the company can be traced back to Seth H. Brownell and Frank O. Field of the Brownell, Field & Co. grocers, of Providence. In 1895 the company created Autocrat Coffee, which continues to operate in Lincoln, RI by Frank Field’s family.

  • 1938 Eclipse of Warwick began marketing a more refined version of what was being made and called it "coffee syrup." Their slogan was, "You'll smack your lips if it's Eclipse."
  • The 1940s Autocrat of Lincoln began making their own mixture of corn syrup and coffee extract. The slogan that Autocrat coined was, "A swallow will tell you." Both companies, Autocrat and Eclipse, would vie for the coffee syrup business for almost fifty years afterwards.
  • 1991 The rivalry between Autocrat and Eclipse ended with Autocrat buying the Eclipse brand name and secret formula. Both labels came to be produced by Autocrat and are now available at Only In Rhode Island

We tell our customers who ask, "What's the difference?" (and they ask A LOT!), that the Autocrat is slightly sweeter and the Eclipse a little thicker, so it's good for pouring over ice cream. We sell equal amounts of both brands, so haven't really been able to determine a clear-cut favorite. All we know is that coffee syrup is a uniquely Rhode Island thing and we ship tons of it, all over the world!!

Our Grand Opening Celebration of Only In New England is on Day 4 and we're having a blast with the promos and giveaways!! To get the special deals, and win some very cool stuff, be sure to Like us on Facebook . We'll be choosing 5 winners at random (1 each day) next week to receive a spectacular New England prize! But you have to Like us to win!!