Top 10 Soda Brands Ranked Worst to Best
We all know that we are supposed to drink eight cups of water every day, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also treat ourselves to a delicious soda sometimes. That flavor and fizz burst is something that water just can’t provide and sometimes there really is nothing better. But when you decide to grab that quenching soda, which one should you grab? There are so many options out there that you could easily work up a thirst just trying to decide which one to choose. But you don’t have to be Will Hunting to figure it out when we can just provide you with a list of the top 10 soda brands ranked worst to best.
The original incarnation of Crush was as an orange soda in the early 1900s – and that is probably how they are best known even to this day. However, depending on what country you are in, and even what part of that country, the number of Crush variations available is almost mind blowing. Not all these flavors are available everywhere, but just get a load of a few of them: Grapefruit, tropical punch, grape, cream soda, cherry, apple, banana, blue raspberry, Lime Rickey, lemon, peach, pear… and we could go on. Crush also does a root beer and a cola, but they are really most well known for all of the fruit soda variations. We have to give them props for all of the different fruit flavors, more so than any other brand on this list. However, when it comes to taste, Crush just doesn’t crush it. And among the various competitors in the different genre markets (Fanta in Orange soda, Barq’s in Root Beer, Sunkist in Grape soda, etc) Crush is usually the second or third choice. However, if you are looking for a soda flavor that you’ve never had before, Crush is your best bet to provide you with that unique fizzy experience. How does red licorice sound? Or Pineapple? Or Sarsi? Or Peach Sour?… And that still isn’t all of them.
9. 7 UP
Where did 7 UP go? Years ago you couldn’t watch 30 minutes of television without seeing multiple ads for this clear, fizzy delight. But these days the “Uncola” feels like it has disappeared from the public consciousness. Sure, it’s still on store shelves, but it definitely doesn’t have the same place in pop culture that it once did. However, while it might have been forgotten by some soda drinkers out there, it is without question one worth putting back in your fizzy rotation. 7 Up has actually been around since 1929 when it was invented by Charles Leiper Grigg for his company, The Howdy Corporation, and launched out into the word just months before the stock market crash that was the beginning of the Great Depression. The original name for the soda was “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.” It was later shortened to “7 Up Lithiated Lemon Soda” and in 1936 it was shortened again to 7 UP. Another fun fact about this yummy, clear soda is that, up until 1948, 7 UP contained Lithium Citrate – which is a mood-stabilizing drug. There are multiple versions of the soda sold around the world, so depending on where you are located you could find such variations as: 7 UP Lime, Cherry 7 UP, 7 UP Mojito flavor and Orange 7 UP to name but a few.
8. Mountain Dew
Regardless of what the commercials seem to tell us, you actually don’t have to be into extreme sports to drink Mountain Dew. Maybe it tastes better after pulling off a 360 flip on a motorbike or nailing a backside quad cork 1080 on your snowboard, but you don’t have to be extreme in order to do the Dew! Mountain Dew is one of the most opinion-splitting sodas out there. Unlike many other sodas that all fall into somewhat the same taste profile, Mountain Dew is definitely distinctive in its taste – and is generally one that people really like or really don’t like. You will find few people in the middle when it comes to the Dew. And while there are a few different flavor versions of the soda today, from the 1940s to well into the 1980s, there was only one – the original, classic, citrus flavor Dew. In fact, it wasn’t even until 1988 that they introduced the diet Dew! As of 2017 Mountain Dew made up 6.6% of all soft drink sales in the United States. But it was 80% of all citrus soft drink sales – an impressive number. And if you’re looking to get a solid caffeine hit, Mountain Dew should be near the top of your soda list. With 55mg of caffeine (the American version has more than the Canadian one) it comes in just behind Pepsi One (57.1mg) in the caffeine soda wars.
Unlike 7 UP which seemed to have stayed away from mega ad campaigns and such – the other clear soda, Sprite, made a huge push over the last decade or so to be seen as cool, sporty, and hip. They signed LeBron James to their commercials and introduced their “Obey your thirst” slogan. And for multiple years the NBA slam dunk contest was the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. Like Fanta, Sprite began its life in Germany, created in West Germany in 1959 as Fanta Klare Zitron. In 1961 the Coca-Cola company brought it to America as Sprite to compete directly with 7 UP. And as with Coke and Pepsi, people often have pretty strong feelings about which they prefer, Sprite or 7 UP. Now, while Sprite definitely isn’t a healthy drink (there is a nice amount of sugar in there), it does offer zero caffeine which is nice for those looking to be refreshed without the crazy caffeine hit that many other soda’s throw at you. Like pretty much every other soda out there, Sprite has also come out with a multitude of flavor variations over the years, including cherry, tropical and cranberry. But maybe the most surprising one would be Sprite Cucumber. Yep, that’s Sprite with a splash of cucumber flavor. We are very curious about that one, but unfortunately this particular version was only introduced in Russia (in 2017) and Romania (in 2018).
If it hadn’t been for World War II, the world might never have had Fanta soda. You see, back during World War II Germany was cut off from the United States via an American trade embargo against Nazi Germany. Well, this meant that Coca-Cola Germany couldn’t get the special syrup and all the ingredients necessary to continue producing Coke. That is when the head of Coca-Cola Deutschland, Max Keith had the brilliant idea of creating a new soda using only ingredients that could be easily obtained in Germany. The result was, Fanta! Which has gone on to become an incredibly popular soda in Europe and among those in the know in North America. In fact, Brazil is actually the largest consumer by volume of Fanta in the world. And while the initial Fanta soda was an ode to Coke, maybe their most popular flavor (or at least one of the top ones) has to be Orange Fanta. It is also definitely the best orange soda of all the big brand versions out there. Although, North American’s should know that there is a big difference between Orange Fanta in Canada and the United States. In Canada Orange Fanta contains actual orange juice – while the American version contains none.
5. Barq’s Root Beer
When it comes to root beer, there are actually a number of quality competitors out there, including A&W who based a whole chain of fast food joints around their yummy root beer soda. Mug root beer is pretty good as well. But for our money, Barq’s is the top choice when it comes to big brands doing root beer. Maybe it’s the rare inclusion of caffeine in this root beer that has us, and so many others hooked. Barq’s is at, or near, the top of many consumer surveys when it comes to Root Beer. Barq’s has been around for over 100 years (originally the company’s most popular product was an orange-flavored soda called, Orangine), but it wasn’t until the mid 1990s that they really entered the public consciousness with their “Barq’s has bite!” ad campaign. Unlike most root beers, Barq’s Root Beer does have caffeine (22.5mg per serving), but that isn’t the case for the company’s product sold in the state of Utah. Often, the Barq’s sold in Utah is caffeine free because of Utah’s large Mormon population – who tend to avoid caffeinated beverages. Caffeine or not, Barq’s still has bite – even today.
What can we say about Pepsi that hasn’t already been said? The number two soda drink in the world, Pepsi was originally called Brad’s Drink when it was developed in 1893. It became Pepsi-Cola in 1898 and in 1961 it became known simply as Pepsi. The hardest part of this list has to be the positioning of Pepsi and Coke. Not where they are on the list, but more so where they are on the list in relation to each other. There are few choices that people feel as strongly about as Pepsi or Coke. While there are many of us who are happy to take whatever is available, there are those who swear by Pepsi and others who are “Coke or nothing” people. One thing we can all agree on is that they don’t taste the same. Some might see them as interchangeable, but anyone doing an honest taste test would for sure taste the difference. And if you remember the famous taste tests from the 1970s that started the cola wars, more people (according to Pepsi) preferred the taste of Pepsi over Coca-Cola. True or not, the blind taste test campaign helped jump start a rise in Pepsi sales – so much so that Coke felt the need to go so far as to change their formula to keep up (and we all know how well that went right?!)
Although Pepsi has been it’s rival for decades and is even more popular than Coke in certain areas and countries, there is no denying that Coke is the soda king and the most popular soda in the world. Originally the soda was marketed as a patient medicine, claiming it as a cure for many diseases, including morphine addiction, indigestion, nerve disorders, headaches, and impotence. And yes it is also true that the initial formula for the soda did have cocaine in it. However, the amount of coca leaf extract that was actually in it is unknown and by 1929 it was no longer part of the formula for Coca-Cola. Speaking of formula changes, the biggest one for the soda came in 1985. Feeling the pressure from the cola wars and Pepsi promoting their blind taste tests that they said showed more people preferred the taste of Pepsi over Coke, Coca-Cola introduced – what would become known as – New Coke. There was a huge marketing and ad campaign to introduce and promote it and it was a huge failure. So much so that it was long before the company backtracked completely and went back to the old formula, reintroducing it to the world as Coca-Cola Classic. Today it is but a blip in the radar as Coke continues to be the world’s top-selling and most loved soda.
2. Canada Dry Ginger Ale
For many people, their first introduction to Ginger Ale is when they are kids and they have an upset stomach. For most moms, the go-to cure for a tummy ache is a glass of Ginger Ale. And while that is often how the drink first enters our lives, it stays with us as we grow up because it is just really delicious and fizzy and has a more sophisticated flavor profile than many of the other sugar-filled sodas out there. And while there are lots of Ginger Ale options – amongst all that competition there really is no competition. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Canada Dry Ginger Ale is at the top of the hill looking down at Schweppes, Seagram’s and any other brand you can think of. As you might have guessed, Canada Dry ginger Ale was created in Canada. The inventor, chemist John J. McLaughlin came up with the formula in 1904 and called it Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale, He labeled it “dry” as in a “dry wine” because it was far less sweet than other Ginger Ales. For decades Canada Dry used the tag “made with real ginger” on their cans, but that came to an end in the United States after a false advertising lawsuit found that there wasn’t enough ginger in the soda to make such a claim. The company settled out of court. Following that case, a similar suit was filed in Canada. But in Canada the can’s still have the “made with real ginger” tagline on them, which leads us to assume that the case has not yet been adjudicated. But, regardless of how much real ginger is in it, Canada Dry Ginger Ale is a great refreshing soda.
1. Dr. Pepper
Just what the doctor ordered! While some people might confuse Coke with Pepsi and vice-versa, Dr. Pepper is the delicious dark sort-of-cola that stands out from the crowd with it’s delicious and distinct flavor. While it may not be as popular, as far as sales go, as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Dr. Pepper might have the most passionate and loyal fans of any soft drink out there. And it may not be available in as many restaurants and eateries, but we all know that if you see it on the menu – or at the fountain – Dr. Pepper is going to be what fills your cup (unless it’s a self-serve fountain and you like to do the mix thing – where you put in a bit of every soda in your cup). 2020 marks the 135th anniversary of the creation of the soda and one of the most amazing things about it is that up until the 2000s The only variation they had released was a diet version. In 2002 they released Dr. Pepper Red Fusion which marked the first new flavor added to the brand in the entire 122-year history of the company up to that point. It didn’t last very long but they have introduced many other variations since, but the original Dr. Pepper is what everyone knows and loves and why they find themselves so high on the list.