Big Red is a soft drink created in 1937 by Grover C. Thomsen and R.H. Roark in Waco, Texas and originally known as Sun Tang Red Cream Soda. It is generally classified as an American variety of cream soda and it is the original “red cream soda.” The name was changed to “Sun Tang Big Red Cream Soda” in 1959 and to “Big Red” in 1969 by Harold Jansing, then president of the San Antonio bottling plant, after hearing a golf caddy refer to the soda by that name.
Big Red was originally marketed exclusively in Central and South Texas and around Louisville, Kentucky, including parts of Southern Indiana. The Louisville connection was due to Roark owning the R.C. Bottling Company in Louisville and Kentucky was the first state in which this soda was available to consumers. May 16, 2018, was proclaimed “Big Red Day” by Louisville mayor Greg Fischer in recognition of the 80th anniversary of Big Red being sold in that city.