Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Dew did it again

After taking a shot at Relentless Dew have again drawn some battle lines in the world of social media.

This time it was Monster.

Not neccesarily an employee as I've seen a lot of people wearing Monster clothing lately? What is up with that by the way?

Mountain Dew Energy seem to be taking it to the competitors. Will Red Bull be next?

Boylans Natural Cola

I spotted this bottle in a local deli and was instantly in love with the bottle.

This bottle is a thing of beauty. Honestly. An embossed bespoke bottle proudly stating the selling points of this cola above all others.

That is a thing of beauty.

I was thirsty at the time but was so taken by the label that I bought a drink I had no way of opening. This is a proper bottle cap. This is like Nuka Cola from Fallout and I think I would wander across a post-apocolyptic wasteland in search of these bottles.

The fun doesn't stop with the bottle, the stuff inside is pretty good as well. On opening the bottle there is a lovely true cola aroma and I was straight in. It's maybe a little less carbonated than you would come to expect and doesn't slap you as hard in the chops as Curiosity Cola but it's smooth. It's a really smooth taste and dare I say gentle. You can taste the cane sugar and I mean that as a massive positive the sweetness really does kick in and come through.

There is a note in there that's different to most of the other colas , including the premium brands, on the market. I think it's the caffeine source. Caffeine from cola exclaims the bottle and I think that gives us a background taste that brings this Cola to a different place than nearly every other Cola.

Rating : This is hard. In terms of straight up Cola I probably favour Fentimans Curiosity Cola due to the strength of the flavour. How can I put this though? It's Day and Night. Fentimans is a day cola and this is an evening cola. This is a smoking jacket cola. This is to be enjoyed in a brandy glass with some Hennesey on a yacht. I think you owe yourself that
I'm very much wanting to get my hands on some of the grape, black cherry and the Creme. I might even buy a hunting lodge and one of those globe drink cabinets to enjoy the experience properly

I'm on that Philleas Fog shit

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Is Red Bull a Sports Drink?

So today I was at the gym and approached by a bevvy of Red Bull Ladies handing out cans of the sugar free version of the drink.

Now this isn't the first time I've seen Red Bull being marketed or used as a pre-sports drink but it's something which sits a bit oddly with me. I've seen people drinking the normal red bull before a game of football for an energy kick during the game and people taking the Red Bull Energy Shots*, now I'm aware of the links to extreme sports, brought about by some super savvy marketing from red bull of course, but for traditional sports I'm not sure I see the appeal or the benefit.

New York Red Bulls home to the very marketable Theirry Henry

Is this the reasoning behind the sponsorship/rename of two football sides (one in New York and one in Salzburg) are Red Bull wanting to become the defacto sports drink?

What do you guys use as a sports drink? My most common is just normal water but if I'm branching out it normally seems to be Powerade if I'm buying a pre-made bottle or I use the lucozade sports powders to make my own. What do you look for in a sports drink something for an energy boost, I know 5 Hour Energy in America tries to market itself to body-builders and the like before a big session, or something for rehydration?

* Interestingly Red Bull are discontinuing the Energy Shots and their Cola

Cherry 7-UP

I grabbed a can of this from my local Poundworld store. As strange as it may sound these type of bargain stores are brilliant for picking up some of the less accessible but still main market brands. They will often have cans of Sunkist, Tango and Vimto which are unlikely to be found in most stores. So yet another top Fizzness tip there for you.

This incarnation of Cherry 7Up is uncoloured. It's refreshing but sadly the cherry flavour, or more specifically the after-taste of the cherry flavour, seems a bit odd and perhaps tinny in taste. I think it's pretty similar to the flavour tones being used in Diet Coke with Cherry (which again seems different to the normal Cherry Coke flavouring).

I wasn't a massive fan of this version of 7UP. There are better Cherry flavoured drinks out there, especially considering this isn't a diet soda.

I was left feeling disappointingly flat after this.

Rating 3/10 Not Cherry Nice

Give peas a chance

Hello one and all,

we're breaking a bit of new ground at the fizzness blog this morning. Turns out, and this may shock you so grab onto something nearby, that not only do we drink too much but we also eat too much as well. I know earth shattering. We've decided to share with you some of our favourite snacks as well as tasting some new varieties of common snacks. Some of them will be readily available in the UK (like this our first snack) and some of are imported goodness which we are either picking up from online importers or from local specialty shops.

The first snack is from UK supermarket Marks and Spencers and is.... WASABI PEAS

Don't let the pale packaging and friendly tree shapes deceive you, these peas pack a punch. Roasted to give a satisfying crunch the super sweet peas are coated in wasabi, which is part of the same family of plants as Horseradish and Mustard for those not in the botanical know, to give a powerful warm flavour. The contrast between the sweetness of the peas and the mustardy kick of the wasabi is brilliant. You will find yourself snacking on these until you lose all taste and feeling in your tongue, and even that doesn't stop me most of the time.

These are one of the most perfect snacks to have whilst enjoying a film or game. Great alternative to crisps and can be a brilliant alternative to nuts (although check the packaging as a lot of the time they will be in the same factory as nuts)

Highly recommended.

FACT : Did you know that Broccoli is also a member of the same family of plants are Horseradish, Wasabi and Mustard

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The first shot of a suprisingly civil war

Monday July 18th 2011, a day war broke out. That date will soon be in history books as the date the first shots were fired in a skirmish between Mountain Dew Energy and Relentless.

Since Mountain Dew Energys Launch in the UK it's been growing a market share, recently Relentless has been making a push for the same demographic. They have a big advert campaign at the moment starring Chase and Status and MMA fighter Roger Gracie which has been showing in cinemas. I've put a link to the video below.

For those unfamiliar with relentless they have a larger product range than Dew Energy at the minute and seem to be getting some traction at the minute especially with the Inferno product.

I'm sure this is nothing and was probably a photo opportunity too good to miss for those at Dew Energy but on Monday we saw something which was a little out of place in the UK market which was 1 company referencing an other. In the US it's common place to have referential advertising, there's a series of long running commericals about a Pepsi and Coke delivery man for example but in the UK that's never really been the case but this week we might have seen a movement towards it.

A relentless employee getting himself some Mountain Dew Energy on one of the legs of their tour. Now perhaps the fact it was social media means we shouldn't take it too seriously but it does show a possible shift in attitudes to mentioning other products. Dew Energy haven't gone to the air yet with an ad so it would be a bit naive of me to suggest they would do something like this in traditional media. Relentless are yet to respond to the picture in any manner, I'm a little suprised they haven't asked for it to be taken down.

You can find details on the Dew Energy tour on which this happened as well as their latest Dew Project at their facebook page!/MountainDewUK?sk=wall&filter=2

There's a really good article here talking about the legalities of using another companies trademarks in  advertising.  which probably indicates we won't get something as insanely brilliant as the following Pepsi Max ad which has a Coke Zero driver failing to get one over on the Pepsi man

So in basest terms, who was right? Who has the better drink? What's next? Will Relentless take a shot back at Dew on their social media?

This Soda-War Correspondent is keen to find out

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Lorina Pink Lemonade

I was in work getting lunch at the canteen, kindly minding my business I'll have you know, when my eyes were drawn to a new product in the drinks fridge. Lorina Pink Lemonade. Being a man of the world I think nothing of having such an effeminate coloured drink in my hands so I picked up a bottle and went on my merry way
I was instantly transported to something out of Amelie I think. It's iconically french in design, you can tell that without even looking at the name etc. It's a bottle that Christina Hendricks seems to have based her figure on almost and it craves your attention

It got mine. It really got my attention and I was very excited about getting to try it. So I was perched at my desk in no time at all. I opened the top and heard that tremendous  PSSSSSTTT noise as the Lorina lemonade was about to tell me it's secret. The secret is it's a bit too grown up for me.

This is a nice drink, it's subtle and mature with it's flavours. It's a grown up soft drink and a very good one at that. The citrus slaps you in your chops a lot more powerfully than you would expect for something so pink and demure. It's a really good drink there's no problem with the drink, the problem is with me. I still favour Bubblegum flavoured soda above most things in the world so a proper old fashioned pink lemonade was maybe a little too sharp for me personally.

It's a grown up soft drink with robust flavours but maybe just a little too refined for me at the minute and this brings me great amounts of shame

American Soda Q&A Part2

What would Part 1 be without a Part 2? Like Cream without Soda, Mountains without Dew or Doctors without Pepper. Below we have the 2nd installment of our questions and answer session with Dave from American Soda

US: Could you recommend us a Diet Soda?
American Soda :Your asking a root beer nut, so I'm going to say Barq's diet root beer it as a kick of caffeine.

Do you have a least favourite soda? Something thats just not to your taste, doesnt have to be something you stock obviously
Not too keen on diet dr. Pepper.

Dave is not a believer it seems

Are you a fan of any of the olde time sodas? Like Dandelion and Burdock or Sasprilla?
Yes we used to stock them from a company in Brooklyn NY, we have recently been in touch with that companies new owners, so we may see them back very soon.

Is there any other part of americana you would like to bring to the uk? For me it would be New York Style pizza by the slice
The Olive Garden's Alfredo Sauce and salted bread sticks.

If you could bring and sell 1 UK Soda and 1 UK Candy in America what would they be and why?
Fizzy vimto  and a crunchy bar

Have you ever considered importing from other areas as well? South Africa seems quite popular for example or are you USA all the way?
Whilst that could be tempting an I see others doing that, I feel it should be USA all the way for us, and I think thats what our customers expect.

Any upcoming or new products you are excited by?
As mentioned the Jelly Belly Soda's, we are looking at getting many more soda's, Duff, Hansons, Fanta Pineapple & salt water taffy

If you could sum up American Soda in 10 words, what would they be?
Youthful, fun, customer focused, extremely  happy doing what we do.

So there you have it. We have exciting new products to look forward to from a man and a company that are dedicated to bringing the best of the US to the UK.

Massive thanks to Dave for answering our questions. Great to get such an insight into what's going on over there for American Soda.

Here we have a link to AmericanSodas youtube channel. They recently had a staff competition involving blind taste tests to see who know the product line the best. Check it out below

And remember if you're near the store you really do owe it to yourself to get down there and check it out!

Or if you're interested in getting hold of some of Daves recommended root beer get yourself over to this link's-Root-Beer-Diet-12-FL-OZ-(355-ml).aspx

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

I'm the maine man baby

Bit of background first up.

Maine is a Northern Irish Soft Drinks company based in Ballymoney. This is there website and they have a special place in the hearts of many Northern Irish people. They make classic UK flavours and bottle them in wonderful big glass bottles. My granny used to be a big fan of their products and their Pineapple flavour is out of this world

I stumbled, yeah shameful times I know, into a local store on Friday night and was confronted with the sight of Scottish Kola. My head told me it would be Iron Bru flavoured but my heart said it would be KOLA KUBE flavour I mean my god it even has a K there in the word Kola.

For the uninitiated Kola Kubes are officially a geometrists favourite sweet/candy. These hard boiled cola flavoured cubes are a staple of growing up in the UK. Despite this no Cola really tastes like them (Fentimans may be the closest) so if Maine had managed to do this they had caught the proverbial lightning in a bottle.

I snaffled this and a can of Dr.Pepper Cherry (review to follow shortly) and made my way back to drink it. I twisted the the cap, on that note is there a better feeling than opening an old worlde glass bottle of pop?, and sniffed in big. Ohh it did sort of smell of Kola Kubes. I didn't even bother with a glass, in my defense this bottle was technically a large glass right, and took a swig.

Boom it's Iron Brew but with a hint of Kola Kube. It's there I'm sure it's there, I might have imagined it, no I didn't it's definitely there. It's a strange mix and I think the Iron Brew overpowers it. I would prefer it to be a super strong Kola Kube flavoured powerhouse but instead it feels like a mix of two worlds.

This is a good drink though because it's different and it's great that a local company is trying new things. I would recommend to anyone in NI to get a hold of this when they see it, it's worth a try.

We'll see if there's anyway to find an online stockist of that and failing that if you are really keen drop us a line and we'll try and sort you out somehow.

I've got my eye on their product list and the Australian famed Portello is certainly calling me. I may have to give Maine a call to find a local stockist.

Failing that I might just have to hit up the Kola Kube flavoured schnapps

Although on second thoughts.......

American Soda Q&A Part1

Hey everybody,

The video on Galcos inspired me to talk to some of the people who are making the UK soda industry tick. First up is one of the people who make the enjoyment of US soda drinks that little bit more attainable and that is Dave for American Soda.

For those of you not in the know American Soda ( is arguably the biggest name in the import game here in the UK. They make available not only great sodas but also candy and other goods such as baking implements and ceral (Apple Jacks are tempting me). Not only is it one of the biggest online dealers in the UK but also has a shop. Yes an actual slice of American shop! If you are nearby you owe it to yourself to visit

So I dropped Dave a line with a few questions about what makes him tick and what's next for American Soda. The 1st part is below

US: What started this journey for you?
American Soda :Love root beer, decided to get some over in a shipping container and it kind of grew from there.

What is it you love so much about soda?
America gives you authentic flavours, our cherry-aid and boring colas just don't hit the spot.

And what drove the decision behind the shop?
As you can see on our Facebook page we ave over 12000 fans and over 100,000 customers on our mailing list, we have been inundated with requests for a physical store where they could come and touch feel & see the product in the flesh so to speak. The shop has been a great addition to our business and we have customers that travel over 300 miles in some cases to come to our shop.

Any thoughts on opening another in another part of the country?
Funnily enough we have been talking about that over the past few months, but it's hard to manage staff etc. At a distance, we may consider some kind of Franchise model, but for now it's just the shop here in Ashton under Lyne (East Manchester)

Is there any product you havent been able to get yet that you're keen on?
Yes, Jelly Belly Gourmet Soda's, we have just got a new supplier that stocks them so I guess they will be here in about 4 weeks

Whats the oddest request you've had from a customer?
I think I mentioned this in one of my newsletters, we had one customer that must have thought we were some kind of personal shopping company, she emailed me a list of what she wanted, which included, items from Bed Bath  & Beyond, jeans from Old Navy and a waffle maker!

What's your favourite soda?
A&W Root Beer

What's your favourite candy?
That's a hard one, can I have 2, they would be Milk Duds & Peanut Butter Twix at the moment

So there you have it. Exciting times afoot. We are hoping to get our hands on some Jelly Belly soda and also the very exciting Jolly Rancher Sodas to give a review of which Candy cross over hits hardest. I need to get my hands on some of Pear flavoured Jelly Belly. The thoughts of Marshmallow as well is pushing me over the edge!

Part 2 will be up tommorow when we talk to Dave about what he would bring to the US from the UK and his least favourite soda.

See you then

Wednesday, 13 July 2011



I'm stunned. I only just found out about Galcos. I know sheltered life and all that but I'm astounded that such a place exists. This place is a Soda Jerks Mecca. I will make a pilgrimage there.

Any international readers been there? Anything that comes close in the UK? This is your chance to advertise the crap out of your own place if you have one. Share with us your insider knowledge

I think I need to sit down after watching that

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cherry Tree Cola - Exclusive

We got our first exclusive scoop here at the Fizzness about the much anticipated Cherry Tree Cola from Fentimans (

For those unaware of Fentimas, and I honestly feel for you if that's the case, they are a botanical brewer of some of the most fantastical sodas going. Their curiosity cola is flawless if someone could bring to life the cola bottle sweets that you get in pick and mix it still wouldn't quite touch this drink. It's stupefying how awesome it is. Thats before you even touch their insanely punchy ginger beer and the refreshing rose lemonade.

Yeah what can I say I'm a fan. A big fan and whilst flicking some music channels a few months ago I noticed a new bottle of fentimans in the LMFAO video for Party Rockers. Listen I don't even like the song but I did keep watching to see if I could make out the label. Boom thats a win for product placement on videos

Thats the video if you're interested.

So since then I've been excited, really excited about Cherry Tree Cola I've been checking the shelves in tesco for it on a weekly basis. Knowing that this is going to be worth the wait. I'm impatient I'm not going to lie about that so I dropped the lovely people of Fentimans an email to ask when to expect some....


It's initially US only. I'm shattered by this. We need to do something to show them how much this drink is being anticipated in the UK as well.

I've created a petition and probably will get onto a facebook group as well. This isn't a complaint or a moan as such but more a registration of interest in the drink.

The world will be a better place with Cherry Tree Cola in our lives!

Aspirational Living

A lesson I think we all could learn :)

Monday, 11 July 2011


My good friend Gerry Peterson has sent me in a globe-trotting review of Fanta Stawberry. After the odd acidity of Fanta Beach have we finally stumbled onto something wonderful. Gerry will also be doing us some video reviews in the future so look out for that

un, Sea and Strawberry Fizz
If you are like me and spend a disproportionate amount of your time thinking about the UK soft drinks industry, (and who doesn’t?), then you may have noticed that there is a distinct lack of strawberry flavour soft drinks on offer. Yes there are a multitude of strawberry flavoured waters, fruit juices and milk shakes, but when it comes to carbonated beverages, proper fizzy flava, strawberry variations are few and far between.
Ive often wondered why this is and in a state of strawberry craving anger decided to set off around the globe to solve this mystery. Well actually I went on holiday, and like any self-respecting fizz fan the first stop I made after landing was the chiller cabinet in the local grocery store. Amongst the usual and the expected was something I thought I would never see, FANTA STRAWBERRY.
I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing and before I let the joy set in I had to make sure this wasn’t a rebrand of Fanta Exotic, or the new Fanta Beach or even Fanta Red Fruits (which had apple blackberry and raspberry but no strawberry in it WTF?), thankfully it wasn’t. My search was over I had found pure, simple strawberry flavoured fizz and it should’ve been time to celebrate, but then I drank some.
Instantly I knew why there aren’t many strawberry flavoured fizzy drinks. The sweet taste of the fruit was overpowering, far too sugary and almost perfumey, and this was followed by a strange and unexpected kick from the fizz. It really was one of the most unpleasant and mismatched drinks I had ever tasted. The smoothness of the strawberry really jars with the bite of the carbonated liquid and is about as good a mash up as orange and milk. I would love to think that this variation was a lone example but each gulp only made it clearer, strawberry and fizz do not mix.
Son I am disappoint

So what's the best holiday based drink you've ever had. For me I think Dew Voltage is up there. It knocked my socks off last year.

Friday, 8 July 2011

It's not me, It's dew

A Dear John Letter to Dew Energy

It's over a year now since I had you back in my life. We had some great times back in the late nineties god things were fun back then and then you went away. I'm not going to lie I thought about you a lot and yeah I'll admit it I scoured the internet looking to a get a taste of what I was craving, I'm not even embarrassed to admit that. Then it happened, the day that colour returned to the world when # a friend told me that you were coming back. I couldn’t wait to see you, to have you back in my life and when I laid my eyes on you that fateful day I thought you were looking good. You had a bit of makeover and hell you stood out. I don’t think I noticed anyone else vying for my attention as my eyes were instantly drawn.
The joy of the reunion makes the next bit so hard to say but it’s not working. We could try and make this happen but deep down I think we both realize that it's not the same because….. well it’s because you've changed. You're not as smooth as you were before and I think I need that and miss that. You now have this intense 'always on' vibe and that's why I just can't see us being a long-term thing. Yeah maybe you're exactly what I'm looking for in a nightclub hook-up and don't get me wrong there's something to be said for that but is that all you want from me? Do you want to be something disposable to me when I’m out and having a few drinks. What we had before was different. I could see you everyday and you still managed to excite me but not now.

This next bit is probably the hardest part for me to say and I really hope you can deal with it. I'm sorry to have to break this news to you but I've been having a relationship with one of your foreign relatives. I'm sorry, they know what I want and they can still excite me in a way you can't anymore. They're not afraid to change it up make things a little different, it feels like you're stuck just being this one thing.
I’m sure you will find someone who is right for you, hell you probably already have, but it’s not me. We grew apart.
I want to say we've grown apart, that it's nobodys fault but it's not true. It's not me, it's totally you.

It was last year that I had my first taste of Dew Energy and I dunno I was underwhelmed I guess and I'm not the only one I know that, infact one of the best spectator sports going at the minute is spotting an unknowing perso in your local supermarket pick up a bottle of Dew and say to a friend/partner OH MY GOD IT'S BACK IT'S BACK before watching the confusion on their face as they have their first taste. It's kind of like when you drink orange juice but you're not expecting orange juice. Does that make sense? Your brain short-circuits on it's first taste of it. WTF is this? Should that really be the reaction on such a long waited and heavily anticipated re-union? I’m really happy to see it back on the shelves, also in a really odd way, I’m happy that the brand seems to be doing well. I have no commercial investment in the brand but I genuinely hope it succeeds I just am selfish enough to want things on my terms.
Don't get me wrong it is not a bad tasting drink and if I wasn't comparing it to Mountain Dew I don't think there would be a problem. It probably is the most drinkable energy drink out there, kudos for that by the way as it's not an easy thing to acheive. That's not what I wanted though I wanted something like the Mountain Dew you can get in America or even Australasia so why did we get this? Lots of talk that an already high caffeine level left them with two choices, cut the caffeine (not going to prove popular with a drink closely associated to extreme sports and late night gaming sessions)or keep it/up it and position the drink as an energy drink.  Personally I wonder if the marketing of Pepsi Max impacted on the ability to leverage another soft drink aimed primarily at that market? For a while I think our Pepsi Max adverts were originally Dew adverts in the US but with cans replaced to Pepsi Max. That's guesswork from most people I guess but seems quite reasonable, coupled with the fact that non-cola sodas don't seem to sell as well in the UK as other areas probably forced the hand to try something different but why keep the name then?

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, SORE POINT, and I’m no longer the real market but drinking energy drinks regularly doesn’t appeal massively. I’m a Software guy and like most of us I do intake far too much Caffeine but even for me this is a bridge too far. I hear a Diet version has been released but I would really like to see a Low Caffeine, Low Cal version trialled. This probably needs it’s own discussion around the launch of new flavours etc in the UK and that’s something I hope to pick up soon but right now I really want to know what everyone else thinks about Dew Energy. Happy with the relaunch? Happy with the Energy aspect of it? Happy with the taste? Or still importing?