Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jolly Rancher Soda Revisited - the "Taste Test"

Well, its been over a year since Kurt initially cited Jolly Rancher Soda as a product that had "apparently failed miserably" while illustrating the point that even large companies with multimillion dollar research and marketing budgets have failed products now and then and that there is really no way to absolutely predict whether or not your product, invention or startup business will be successful. The illustration was not meant to be a slam against Jolly Rancher or Elizabeth Beverage in any way, we believed the product was being closed out and liquidated. However, our good hearted intentions did not stop the president of Elizabeth Beverage Company (the Licensee of the Jolly Rancher Trademark from Hershey) from calling us to inform us in no uncertain terms (and in our opinion a quite heated discussion) that the product had not in fact failed miserably and was in fact quite successful. According to Elizabeth Beverage the product Kurt saw was in Big Lots due to a labeling issue.

Since we know people from Elizabeth beverage routinely search the web for references to Jolly Rancher Soda - I'd like to take the time to give them a big shout out.

Presumably in response to Kurt's statement "the thought of Jolly Rancher Soda pop kind of turns my stomach" the President offered to send us a case of soda to try - we said sure we'd try it out.

Well its been a year now and guess what - our free case never arrived. So while at a shopping trip to Sams Club the other day we stumbled across a variety case of you guessed it - Jolly Rancher Soda! Being the last one in the store, we snatched it up and decided to do a taste test just for kicks.

First Impressions:
The soda in our case had four flavors (From Left to Right): Blue raspberry, Green Apple, Grape, and watermelon. As you can see from the photo they did a good job of replicating the colors of the actual Jolly Rancher candies. On additional note: If you mix the Green Apple and Blue raspberry, you get a really cool fluorescent green color that seems to glow in the glass - this could provide some good fun a Halloween or college parties. I wonder if it would glow under a black light. Sadly enough, we do not have a black light in the office - so I am relying on one of our dedicated readers to try it out and report back to us.

The Test:
Kurt, Shane and I each taste tested a sample and recorded our opinions of how we liked the drinks. On the outset, I should caveat the results with the fact that none of us are admittedly fans of fruit favored soda in general. We rank the taste on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being comparable to urine and 10 being your favorite soda. Therefore water would be a score of 5 (presumably 5 is a neutral score). The results with selected comments can be seen in the following table available below (I apologize for the quality of the table - its the best I can get at the moment - if anyone is really curious I can e-mail it to you).


As you can see by the rankings we found that the Blue raspberry flavor was liked best of all (average score of 5.83) and actually would receive a slight edge over just drinking water. In fact, I have had several at lunch over the past few days and have actually enjoyed them, I don't know that I will buy any more once our supply runs out, but they have been pretty good. Grape also faired fairly well (average score of 5.33), and also just edged out drinking water (none of us are big grape soda drinkers, but we found it to be on par with Welches Grape soda and the like). If you like grape soda, you will probably like this one. Unfortunately we found the watermelon (average score of 2.17) and green apple (average score of 2.50) to be, in our opinion, quite disgusting, and in our opinion wouldn't drink it unless we had no other alternative.

So there you go, if you are going to take that leap and see what a Jolly Rancher would taste like as a soda - we are of the opinion that the Blue raspberry would be the one to try, and more than likely you will come away with the feeling that it wasn't half bad. We would personally stay away from the apple and watermelon, however for those risk seekers out there it may be a good thrill. Additionally we would suggest serving them really cold - it seems to make them be a little bit less sweet tasting and more drinkable - but hey that's just our opinion - I'm sure a lot of you could slug them down at room temperature.

Lessons Learned from the Experience
Anyway, the point of the original blog post still stands true - no one can predict for sure whether something will be incredibly successful or fail miserably. Almost a year and a half after we incorrectly announced the demise and failure of Jolly Rancher Soda - it is still on the market today and you can purchase your very own case and have a taste test of your own. Who knows, you may even like it.

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