Review: Jones Zilch – Pomegranate, Vanilla Bean, and Black Cherry Sodas


In the past, Jones Soda has offered a select number of their drinks in a sugar free format, i.e. diet. However, they’ve taken that initiative in a bold new direction with their Jones Zilch lineup, which launches with 3 initial flavors: Jones Zilch Pomegranate, Jones Zilch Vanilla Bean, and Jones Zilch Black Cherry.

Jones Zilch Pomegranate Soda
Jones Zilch Pomegranate Soda

The first thing you note about the Zilch lineup is the creative package design. The same iconic Jones Soda glass bottle is in use, but this time, it has white screw on-caps. The white motif carries down the label itself, with an updated take on Jones’ traditional combination of logo/photo/flavor display.

Jones Zilch Vanilla Bean Soda
Jones Zilch Vanilla Bean Soda

Fan submitted photos are displayed on the bottles in black and white, but they are given a far more stylish credit notation to the left of the image than used in the past. It does a better job of Jones showcasing these photos rather than just displaying the name of the photographer like it was nothing more than a copyright credit.

Jones Zilch Black Cherry Soda
Jones Zilch Black Cherry Soda

The top of the label features the revised, bolder Jones name (note the lack of “Soda Co.” in the reference), with a colored version of the word “Zilch” pseudo-stamped next to it. The words “Zero Calorie” can also be found under the logo.

In contrast to traditional Jones Soda offerings, the flavor name shifts from above the photo to below it, printed inversely against the color that defines the flavor.

The rest of the label contains nutritional information, an encouragement to recycle the bottle, short promotion for creating your own custom label via the MyJones service, and the following brand pitch regarding Zilch:

Same Great Taste. No Sugar. No Calories.

Chances are you’re reading this because you care about what’s in your soda. Well, you’ve come to the right bottle. That’s because you’re sipping a Jones Zilch. Same great flavors as a regular Jones, without the calories or sugar. And just in case your conscience needs a little more peace of mind, we put some vitamin C in every bottle. Remember: it’s your photo, your soda, your brand.

Zilch is another one of the new products that Jones has rolled out this year, which has also included specialized takes on Orange Cola, the Jones GABA lineup, their limited edition run of Hispanic flavors, and the crazy Jones Jumble Soda. While some of those are just more goofy takes on flavors, others like GABA and Zilch, are big product line extensions. Previous sugar-free offerings from Jones, which are now retired, included:

  • Sugar-Free Green Apple
  • Sugar-Free Cream Soda
  • Sugar-Free Root Beer
  • Sugar-Free Cola
  • Sugar-Free Black Cherry
Retired Jones Soda Sugar-Free Flavors
Retired Jones Soda Sugar-Free Flavors
(Source Images: JonesSoda.com)

Of the initial list, only Black Cherry is seeing the light of day once again as a Zilch flavor. Like the original Sugar-Free lineup, Zilch uses sucralose (you know, Splenda) as its artificial sweetener. The difference this time out is that Jones takes a page from the current trend of adding nutrients to beverages and ups the Vitamin C to 30% of your recommended daily allowance.

Jones Zilch Pomegranate Soda

Pomegranate is a popular flavor these days, as evidenced by reviews we’ve written for ViB Pomegranate Berry, Hansen’s Natural Pomegranate Soda, and Pomegranate 7Up. The Jones Zilch take on the flavor comes to us with a pinkish-red color and has a recognizable pomegranate taste. It’s not a super sweet flavor, but rather deep, which we think would be a good complement for food. Still, you can tell that this is a diet drink given the aftertaste, but overall, it’s not a bad sugar free installment.

Jones Zilch Pomegranate Soda
Taking a dive into pomegranate?
Photo 11104 by Jennifer Fullbright-McLellan of Fayetteville, AR

Here’s what’s inside:

Carbonated water, natural flavors, apple, carrot, and hibiscus juice for color, citric acid, sodium benzoate (as preservative), sucralose, potassium sorbate (as preservative), ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor)

A 12 oz. bottle of Jones Zilch Pomegranate contains 0 calories, 35 mg of sodium, 1 g of carbs, and is caffeine free.

Jones Zilch Vanilla Bean Soda

This is a flavor we looked forward to trying because frankly, there aren’t a whole lot of stand-alone vanilla-flavored sodas out there. Upon opening the bottle, you’ll find that there really isn’t much of a scent. The drink is colored yellowish, similar to the Halloween limited edition Monster Mojito, but a tad bit clearer and less bold. Unfortunately, the flavor was disappointing. There wasn’t much vanilla taste present and quite a bit of a medicinal flavor. The weak, unfocused flavor, combined with the use of artificial sweeteners, made this our least favorite of the new Zilch offerings. It’s a diet drink and tastes like it… poorly. This was quite disappointing. We had hoped for a solid vanilla experience, something along the lines of OOBA’s Vanilla installment.

Jones Zilch Vanilla Bean Soda
Vanilla Bean = Great Wall of China?
Photo 11075 by Sarah Etter of Azusa, CA

Here’s what’s inside:

Carbonated water, natural flavors, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate (as preservative), sucralose, potassium sorbate (as preservative), ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor)

A 12 oz. bottle of Jones Zilch Vanilla Bean contains 0 calories, 35 mg of sodium, 0 g of carbs, and is caffeine free.

Jones Zilch Black Cherry Soda

This moves us on to our favorite of the new Zilch flavors, Black Cherry. Incidentally, it’s also the only carry-over from Jones previous Sugar-Free lineup. The beverage is colored dark red, somewhat similar to a red wine. Opening the bottle will greet you with a deep cherry scent, hinting at sweetness. This cherry experience continues in the taste, with a quality flavor. Yes, you can tell that artificial sweeteners are used, but the combination with the flavor choice actually works out quite well. Black Cherry is a nice, sweet treat; it’s our choice of the batch if you are needing something without calories.

Jones Zilch Black Cherry Soda
Who doesn’t love old school Polaroid?
Photo 11026 by Amy Millen of Belfast, Ireland

Here’s what’s inside:

Carbonated water, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid, sodium benzoate (as preservative), sucralose, potassium sorbate (as preservative), Red 40, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor), Blue 1

A 12 oz. bottle of Jones Zilch Black Cherry contains 0 calories, 40 mg of sodium, 1 g of carbs, and is caffeine free.

Overall, we’re fans of the Jones Zilch rollout, even though we weren’t completely sold on all 3 flavors. The branding does a nice job of making diet something “cool”, it still has that eccentric Jones feel, and there are some unique tastes that aren’t currently part of the regular Jones lineup. Still, there is room for improvement in some of the flavors, namely Vanilla Bean. Loved the idea of a non-mainstream flavor, but execution left something to be desired. Here’s looking ahead to the next Zilch experience!

Full Disclosure: These beverages were provided compliments of Jones Soda Co.