Shake it Up: Strange and Unique Soda Flavors & Packaging

Soda is probably too much a part of our daily diet – it helps us wake up when the day starts dragging, it spices up a night out at your favorite restaurant, and helps teenagers fuel all night video game sessions. Almost all soda consumption involves a few brands, mostly Pepsi and Coke, but there are other creative options out there. Sometimes the big boys like to mix things up as well. Here are 9 overlooked soda flavors and styles that would liven up anyone’s day:

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There are a lot of soda flavors that are either seasonal, or popular in other countries, that are favored by only a small niche in the gigantic worldwide soda market. Pictured above are drinks flavored like apples, celery, curry, coconut, turkey and gravy, and even tomato. These drinks would be interesting to sample, but I have a feeling I’d have trouble finishing them.

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Most soda cans are dull, relying only on branding and customer loyalty to get you to buy. There are always exceptions, however, from limited edition examples of the most famous brands mixing it up, to attempts to launch new sodas with a distinctive style and philosophy. Artwork and design can go a long way in making a soda stand out from the crowd, yet the sodas that tend to win in the end, rely on taste for the long haul.

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The soda war has basically been settled in America, so the colorful packaging and flamboyant mascots of independent soda companies have made way for the classic swirls and logos of our favorite brands. There are some companies that step out and attempt to cash in on popular cultural events (like the television show Tru Blood), but for the most part, small companies struggle to find a niche. In other countries small companies get a lot more creative, adding bright and flashy artwork and cartoon stills, and coming up with wild flavors that become cult favorites to a small group of consumers.

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It may not seem like soda dispensing has improved much over the years, considering it still simply involves fancy ways of mixing syrup with soda water, but there have been quite a few stunning improvements, and wacky modifications. Several different ways to easily pour soda from 2 liter bottles have emerged, which promise to keep your soda from going flat, while also preventing spills. Refrigerator can dispensers (and this computer desktop mod) are examples of simple changes that have made soda storage a lot easier.

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Vintage branding and artwork is typically seen as having a classic feel… more reliant on aesthetics and good looking package that has an artistic feel rather than the slick corporate feel of today’s beverage packaging. While this might be true for the most part, the past still had their ugly soda cans. Here are two of the most offensive examples.

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On the other hand, sometimes soda manufacturers do get it right, with the creation of classically simple glass bottles that look elegant and interesting. There is an increasingly large interest in glass bottle collections, especially with art deco styling.

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Soda cans are in a state of transition, with every company eager to lend a technological spin to their sales… promising better can insulation for temperature control, or making the images on the can change color depending on temperature. There are even ways for kids to turn one of our most mundane by products into a mini science experiment, and some entrepreneurs are about to come out with a new can that’s resealable.

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For every soda flavor there’s a different marketing strategy, but relying on people’s nostalgia for old style soda, and relying on humor, have always been favorites. People love to know they’re drinking a soda that’s outlasted countless others, and that their great grandparents may have tried. There’s also a lot of selling power in the novelty of witty packaging, as people like to give something funny a shot.

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One niche in the drink market that I’ve thankfully avoided, is sodas flavored like popular candies. From life savers to candy corn, sometimes candy should just stick with being candy. Loaded with sugar and artificial flavoring, giving a cup of this stuff to anyone under the age of 10 would result in a week of hyperactivity.