see also: Ginger beer
Ginger ales come in two varieties: golden ginger ale and dry ginger ale. Golden ginger ale is dark coloured, generally sweet to taste, with a strong ginger spice flavour. It is the older style and there is little or no difference between this and non-alcoholic versions of ginger beer.
Dry ginger ale (paler, and with much less of the ginger "kick") became popular in the United States during the Prohibition era when it was used as a mixer for alcoholic beverages as the strong flavour of golden ginger ale was undesirable. Dry ginger ale quickly surpassed golden ginger ale in popularity, and today, golden ginger ale is an uncommon, and usually regional, drink. By contrast, dry ginger ale is produced on a vast scale for national and international consumers.