Tomato Juice: An Ode to Ohio’s (Controversial) State Beverage

It may come as a surprise that a little over half of U.S. states have designated a state beverage. The state hospitality beverage of South Carolina is SC-grown tea. Florida honors its iconic oranges. Twenty states have selected milk. Arizona picked lemonade, refreshing in its hot climate. And Indiana’s choice of water is, at the very least, neutral. But designating a “state beverage” in the first place all began in Ohio. And what did Ohio choose? Tomato juice.

In 1965, the Ohio General Assembly made tomato juice Ohio’s official beverage. At that time, Ohio was a leading producer of tomatoes in the United States, second only to California. How did Ohio become such an important name in the world of tomato production? It was all thanks to one man: Alexander Livingston. Born in Reynoldsburg, Ohio in 1821, his affinity for tomatoes was an early acquisition. His innovative spirit shaped the state and its agricultural and manufacturing success that made tomato a lovely celebration of Ohio’s history.

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