A couple days ago a co-worker told me about the neat collection his brother had. This guy made it his mission to purchase every generic Dr. Pepper soda he could find. You know what I am talking about, right? The knockoffs of Dr. Pepper that grocery stores or sketchy companies sell such as Dr. Skipper, Dr. Bold, Dr. Thunder, etc. I found this idea absolutely awesome, a truly unique collection that I give this guy two thumbs up for deciding to undertake. Personally I also enjoy checking out the bizarre names that are assigned to impostor products. Since arriving on the east coast my interest has only intensified as I been introduced to whole different lines of second rate brands.
But although I enjoy looking at these silly soda brands I don’t enjoy drinking them. I very rarely consume soft drinks and when I do I prefer a premium brand thank you very much. About 14 months ago I wrote a blog post on generic items I would purchase and generic items I would not purchase. Soda made the NOT list. Even so, back when I was a kid I did drink the rip off sodas that you could get out of your grocery store vending machine for a quarter. And, even then, I could detect the drop in quality. To this day I can still remember the taste of those junior varsity pops. Tonight I want to briefly identify three sodas that actually tasted like the premium brand it was trying to mimic and three brands that missed the mark so bad that it wasn’t even funny.
Orange Soda – Give me a glass of a carbonated orange drink and call it good. Out of the three sodas I am giving credit to as having a resemblance to the name brand, orange soda by far comes the closest. You could throw three knockoffs in with Fanta, Orange Crush, and Sunkist and chances are I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I think orange pop lacks a signature, expensive ingredient (like real oranges) because you really can’t tell much of a drop off between brands.
Root Beer – In my blog post that I referenced above I said that root beer in the generic version tastes flat. I still stand by that but I think A&W and Mug sometimes taste a little flat too. I could make a root beer float with any type of root beer and I am pretty sure I would be happy.
Lemon-Lime Soda – When it comes to sodas such as 7-UP, Sierra Mist, and Sprite I think the generic versions do a fairly decent job of matching up. I think the lemon-lime taste is pretty universal and easy for companies you have never heard of before to replicate. If I drank soda and if I didn’t care that my friends thought I was a cheapskate I might consider buying an imitator if it meant saving a couple dollars.
Mt. Dew – I am listing this soda in its brand name form because I know of no other drink that even comes close to its taste. Whatever competitors Coca-Cola has tried to introduce over the years to battle Mt. Dew have failed. So if Coke can’t succeed you can only imagine what the generic brands come up with. Did you actually imagine something? If you did downgrade that version by 10x and you got what rip off Mt. Dew tastes like. The actual taste of these products is worse than the silly Mountain ________ (insert anything) names they are labeled with. I never tasted an imitator that even entered the ballpark of what Dew tastes like. By a long shot, Mt. Dew wannabes take the cake for tasting nothing like its intended product.
Cola – Knockoff colas are bad…real bad. You know how I describe the taste of a cola that isn’t Pepsi or Coke? Dirty tasting. Drinking some of these sodas made me realize why the two giants spend billions both on developing their formula and keeping it a secret. Drinking non-premium cola seriously gave me a headache back when I was younger. Do you want to torture your most hated enemy? Force WARM generic cola down his throat…pretty sure there isn’t a crueler punishment than that.
Dr. Pepper – Not only do knockoff Dr. Peppers taste flat they also taste like crap. With generic brands you lose the smooth taste of DP and replace it with a nasty aftertaste. Besides diet sodas that some people drink as if it kept them young, Dr. Pepper is the second most popular soda that I actually see people live on as their primary liquid. If you were to ever steal the mug or Big Gulp container of someone who is dependent on Dr. Pepper and switched it out with Dr. Shasta I am 95% sure that person would die the moment the fluid touched the lips.
In summary, don’t drink soda. But if you must, try to stick with something made by Pepsi or Coke. If you are going to fill your body with carbonation and sugar you might as well do it via the companies that actually specialize in it. Don’t Blink.