Review: Jones Soda Orange “You Glad For Change” Cola


Last week, I Twittered during an earnings call by Jones Soda where they recapped their 4th Quarter. Jones Soda had a rebuilding year in 2008, recovering from some bad decisions including their failed attempt to push into the canned beverage market.

Jones Soda Orange "You Glad For Change" Cola / Jones Soda Orange Cola
Jones Soda Orange “You Glad For Change” Cola

The Puget Sound Business Journal noted:

“Going away from bottles was a serious mistake. The cans did cannibalize some of the bottle presence”…

For fiscal 2008, the company reported a net loss of $15.2 million, or a loss of 58 cents per share, which compares with a loss of $11.6 million, or a loss of 45 cents per share in 2007. Revenue fell to $35.9 million from $39.8 million in 2007.

With a new CEO (Joth Ricci) and direction, their 2009 looks to be one where they attempt to build on their strengths, including growing their Jones GABA line (which we mentioned here in 2007).

During the call, I posted the following summary to a comment made by the CEO:

Jones Soda: “New fun flavors, including pushing Orange Cola more broadly”

Just what is this beverage? Let’s take a closer look at Jones Soda The Orange Cola — also known in a limited edition as Jones Soda Orange “You Glad For Change” Cola.

Jones Soda Orange "You Glad For Change" Cola / Jones Soda Orange Cola
4-pack Bottle Packaging

Last summer, during the election campaign, Jones launched 4 candidate-themed labels for their new Pure Cane Cola — proving that Mountain Dew’s DEWmocracy campaign wasn’t alone in riding the coattails of voting. You bought bottles of soda with your candidate on them and Jones totaled the sales. Per the Campaign Cola website, Obama’s “Yes We Can Cola” sold 15,996 bottles, followed by “Ron Paul Revolution Cola” at 6,516, “Pure McCain Cola” at 3,768, and “Capitol Hillary Cola” rounding it out at 2,244 bottles sold.

With the inauguration of Barack Obama, Jones decided to take one of their newest flavors, The Orange Cola, and give it a limited edition run with a new name and label… thus Jones Soda Orange “You Glad For Change” Cola. I was able to find it in a 4-Pack at my local store, though Jones is also offering it in 6- and 12-Packs via their website. An explanation on the side of the 4-Pack talks about the new flavor and presidential tie-in:

At Jones Soda, our motto has always been “Run with the little guy… Create some change.” Well, you chose change, and Orange you glad that you did.

Welcome to the new Orange Cola. Let us know what you think at: jonessoda.com/orangecola

It also notes in smaller type that “Barack Obama does not endorse Jones Soda and Jones Soda isn’t affiliated with the President Elect.” :)

The box style tends to be the reverse of what we saw with the Halloween collection… orange border with black interior, highlighted by a touch of silver and white. What is probably a stock photo of Barack Obama is featured on the label with the only photo credit being “Jones President’s Cola 2009, Barack Obama”. Over on the bottle, we have the standard white border with black interior, orange lettering denoting the flavor.

When you open a bottle, it smells like cola, but not as strong as you’ve probably come to expect from a Coke or Pepsi. Less fizzy experience. The coloring is on par with the standard look of mainstream beverages… dark brown.

As for the taste? Very good, actually! The carbonation was scaled back, which I actually didn’t mind. It let the flavor come through. And when you are dealing with a beverage that features inverted cane sugar, that’s a clean taste! This drink probably leans more towards the Coke side of the spectrum rather than Pepsi. Sweetness is there, but not overpowering. As for that orange flavor? Very, very subtle, tied to the aftertaste. It’s quite enjoyable, not strong. It’s one of those things that you probably wouldn’t notice unless it was gone. Just a bit of fruitiness there to add to your experience. However, to be honest, I had a hard time detecting an actual “orange” taste.

Here’s the breakdown of what you’ll find inside the bottle:

Jones Soda Orange “You Glad For Change” Cola
Carbonated water, inverted cane sugar, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, potassium benzoate (as preservative), caffeine

A 12 oz. bottle of this stuff will cost you 160 calories, 35 mg of sodium, 41 g of carbs – 40 g of which are sugars. There’s 36 mg of caffeine in the bottle, which breaks down to 3.0 mg/oz. This is less than regular Pepsi (3.2 mg/oz.) and Coke Classic (2.9 mg/oz.). Oh, by the way, the bottle is stamped as a “Product of Canada”.

Overall, Jones Soda Orange “You Glad For Change” Cola is a great-tasting addition to the Jones lineup. I really liked the subtle citrus flavor and the very clean cola experience. Whatever your politics, you have to admit that this is one solid beverage!