Objective: To understand perceptions, attitudes and experiences of school-going adolescents, their parents, teachers and school management towards sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Design: An exploratory qualitative study was undertaken. Setting: The study was conducted in selected, mixed, unaided schools in the state of Delhi. Subjects: Students of classes 8 to 12th, principals of schools, teachers, parents and school canteen owners. Results: SSBs formed an integral part of the diet of adolescents due to its taste and role as a thirst quencher. Respondents had a fair knowledge of health effects of SSBs. However, they were not aware of the range of drinks that constitute SSBs. Respondents associated SSBs with positivity and happiness. Promotion of SSBs by sports and film stars was cited as a major driver influencing consumption of SSBs by young people. Conclusions: SSBs were readily available even though schools had put in measures to restrict their availability in the premises. Peer pressure emerged as a key factor that drove the consumption of SSBs. Advertisements for SSBs involved individuals who were considered role models and these focused on themes that were important for young people such as belongingness, machismo and friendship among others. On the contrary, health promotion messages around obesity or the consumption of SSBs hardly had any brand ambassador or the visibility of campaigns that promoted SSBs.