The fritz-kola story

Illustration by Andrew Tseng (@mandrew.tseng)
Words by Hannah Pezzack

Candy flavoured bubbles. Glass bottles dripping with condensation. That shot of cold, sweet fizz that makes your brain buzz and keeps your feet moving. If you’ve been to our very own venue at De School (s105) chances are that you’ve treated yourself to a bottle of fritz-kola. Or perhaps, as you’ve turned the pages of The Void magazine, you’ve stumbled across an advert for the soft drink. We’ve been working with fritz-kola for years, so we thought it was about time to tell you a little bit more of their story. And why we love who they are and what they do. 

Way back in 2003, two friends — Mirco and Lorenz — had just finished university in Germany. It was one of those long Summers that stretch endlessly ahead, filled with trips to the beach, evenings spent in clubs or bars, drinking, talking and dancing. But with student life behind them, the pair had begun to look to their future. So, following an interrailing holiday, they decided to launch fritz-kola. Coming up with a recipe was an easy-feat. A cola just the way they liked it most: not too sweet, with a lot of caffeine, to get them through those long nights. A new take on a classic idea, because tried things can always be done better, right? Packaged in retro glass bottles, the perfect size to fit in your hand, the fritz-kola aesthetic is all about creating a cultural asset rather than a mass-produced product. 

With just €7,000 in savings, all Mirco and Lorenz could afford were cheap, black and white printed labels bearing their faces and some used beer bottles. Armed with 170 crates, they jumped into their old VW van and took to the streets of Hamburg, who’s down-to-earth and open-minded residents gave fritz-kola a warm welcome. Since those early days, fritz-kola has gone on to be stocked around Europe. The menu has grown to include lemonades, spritzers, and other cola variations. Among our favourites are the sparking organic rhubarb spritzer and signature orange soda. To be enjoyed, of course, as a dance-floor refresher. 

Fritz-kola’s connection to music and art is more than just coincidence. As part of “fritz-töne”, the company works closely with local bands in Germany. With a focus on unknown and genre-defying acts, the initiative sets out to promote their music, organising photo and video material, financial support and (obviously) beverages. Grounded in their HQ of Hamberg, fritz-kola collaborates with local artists to facilitate mural projects – beautifying the city they call home – as well as supporting collectives and exhibitions. On a grand scale, you’ll find them as the official sponsorship partners of plenty of big-name festivals and events. Although, much like Subba, they have a special soft spot for that underground talent. After 17-years in business, their commitment to a DIY, keep-it-simple mentality has endured. And that’s why fritz-kola and Subbacultcha mix so well together. We share a love for immediate encounters with no artificial additives. Just you, the stage and a cool, delicious bottle in your hand. Because fortune favours the awake. 

Illustration by Andrew Tseng. In his drawings, Andrew creates a language of visual gibberish and abstract humour, depicting absurd characters in futile situations. @mandrew.tseng