Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jonesin For Meat Soda

I want to do a quick stopgap in between the blog I just finished (Saturday Morning Cartoon…….ads) and my next blog entry (The Krull Obsession) and spend just a couple paragraphs explaining why I hate Jones Soda.

It was, in 2005, I read this article on (  Take a look at it if you like but please, ever so briefly, as not to spoil your blog appetite. 

As a quick aside, I love  Blogger Matt…..whose last name remains a mystery, at least to me…..runs through all of the late 80s/early 90s shit I remember fondly in a very comical manner and has been doing so in a consistently grand manner since 2002.  He was my inspiration to start my own blog, and I can only aspire to his level of greatness.  I encourage all four of my readers to check out his site thoroughly (at a later date).  And make sure you mention me in his comments somewhere.  No really.  I need some more readers to boost my ego.

Anyway, this article led me to go out and purchase “the pack” in 2005 from a local Target.  And what a collection it was.  Soda mocked up to taste like Turkey and Gravy, Wild Herb Stuffing, Brussels Sprouts, Cranberry Sauce and, for dessert, Pumpkin Pie! 

This delicacy (or monstrosity) was the focus of my Christmas party that year.  Friends were invited, adult beverages were ingested, Monkey Ball on the Gamecube was played, and Tony Bennett’s Christmas Album “Snowfall” was on a constant loop.  And then I laid out shot glasses for everybody, and poured in the seasonal treats.

I chilled the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, but served the others warm.  I assure you, dear reader(s), these sodas carried with them flavors nearly indistinguishable to their more accepted solid brethren.   Lest you think they don’t really taste like what they claim, I actually witnessed a man vomit after taking a shot of the Brussels Sprouts flavored soda.  I swear, there was even a hint of butter in there.  The actual soda, that is.  Not his vomit.

This particular batch was the “national” version.  But Jones Soda went above and beyond, and also released a second limited batch available only in certain regions.  It had the aforementioned Turkey and Gravy, along with Corn on the Cob, Broccoli Casserole, and Pecan Pie.  This was the real gem, and I spent many an hour perusing the aisles of all the possible nearby outlets to no avail.  Why was this my Holy Grail?  My Ark of the Covenant?  My Elora Danan?  Because it also included a bottle of Smoked Salmon Pate.  And if ever I wanted to taste anything in a liquidated, lightly-carbonated form, it was the robust smokiness of pureed fish.  I still come upon this particular package on EBAY, but I’m not sure even I’m brave enough to drink six year old fish-flavored soda.

In 2006 they released another, Turkey and Gravy, Sweet Potato, Dinner Roll, Pea and Antacid.  The also released a “dessert” package, Cherry, Banana Cream, Key Lime, Apple, and Blueberry pies.  I had both of these, and they were worth every penny.

In 2007 came both “Christmas” and “Chanukah” sets.  Ham, Christmas Tree, Egg Nog and Sugar Plum for Christmas, Latke, Applesauce, Chocolate Coins and Jelly Doughnut for Chanukah.   I missed both sets this year, as they were released around the time I was making a move to a new city.

And then it happened.  The well ran dry. 

2008 brought Candy Cane, Pear Tree, and Mele Kalikimaka, which is pineapple and coconut.  All these, well, they sound like regular, sugary sodas.  Where’s the fun in that?  In 2009 they released Tofurkey and Gravy, which I can only assume tasted exactly like Turkey and Gravy.  And that’s it.  One soda.  Of all the lazy, no good…

In general, since 2006, lazy is, unfortunately, what comes to mind when I think of Jones Soda.  Whenever I go to their website which, quite frankly, is once a year around the holidays to check and see if they are finally releasing (or re-releasing) a holiday pack, I am always angered to the point of derision.  Usually this derision takes place in my head.  Unfortunately my head has become so filled with derisive commentary I am fairly sure if I do not unleash some contempt in written form, my head will explode, David Cronenberg style.  Oh, you know what I’m talking about…

Here’s the thing.  If you click on “limited editions,” which I want to be the meat of the site (pun fully intended), you get garbage.  And, even worse, lazy garbage.  The kind of garbage even a hobo shrugs his shoulders at in utter discontent.

I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I clicked on the “limited edition” Buffy-inspired 6-pack they have available.  The flavors?  Blue Bubblegum, Rootbeer, FuFu Berry, Orange and Cream, Green Apple, and Grape.

So, really, what you’re saying is you took a bunch of the flavors you already make, and just slapped stickers on them with some generic frames you stole directly from the season 8 comic book with no creativity and no regard as to how the flavors might reflect the personalities of the characters.  Even the names are generic.  “Buffy’s Blue Bubblegum?” “Willow’s Green Apple Witch’s Brew?” “Xander’s Strawberry Lime Elixir?”  Is this marketed to twelve-year-olds?  That show was dark, friends.  Buffy died, Xander’s eye got poked out, Willow considered destroying the world after her lesbian lover was killed, Dawn wasn’t even real and Giles was eventually treated as an inept alcoholic old man with no purpose.

Let’s all drink some FUFU Berry!  YAY!  Shit sounds more like Pokemon flavors.

Oh yeah, spoiler alert and all that.

Every limited edition on their website follows the same pattern.  The Onion limited edition? Strawberry Lime, Root Beer and Green Apple.  Dungeons and Dragons? Grape, Sugar Free Black Cherry, Cream, Root Beer, Cola and Green Apple. 


Hell, Mountain Dew has better crossovers than that!  Warcraft Game Fuel anybody?
How about Halloween themed?
Even these bottles simply designed by a group of artists are infinitely more interesting:

I understand there is probably a pretty small niche audience for soda tasting like meat, but said audience must be voracious, and I can’t imagine they wouldn’t lap up enough of that shit up to make it worth Jones’ time and money, at least every other year if nothing else. 

This year they are releasing another batch of sugary-sweet treats – Candy Cane, Ginger Bread, Sugar Plum and Pear Tree.  It seems odd to me this quartet would illicit any sort of reaction outside of an unenthused “meh,” but I can only suppose the good people at Jones know better than I.

So while I wait for Jones to step up and make a Holiday Pack including Meatloaf, Carrots, Mac ‘N Cheese and Sweet Potato Pie (with maybe a miniature bottle of Reddi Wip as a novelty?), I guess I will simply have to use my Sodastream drink maker to carbonate water and then drop in a cube of beef bouillion.  And maybe a touch of gravy.

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