Review: Canada Dry Ten

Our travels through the 2nd Generation of “Ten” flavors from Dr Pepper Snapple Group allow us to discover Canada Dry Ten, a new sibling to Sunkist Ten, 7Up Ten, and A&W Ten. These flavors, along with RC Ten, are currently in testing following the successful launch of Dr Pepper Ten.

Canada Dry Ten

When it comes to mass produced ginger ale, Dr Pepper Snapple has a big footprint in the marketplace by having both Canada Dry and Schweppes in its flavor stable. The only other big player is Coke’s Seagram’s brand. This fact alone would seem to make Canada Dry a likely candidate for the “Ten” treatment, though I’d think it’s also ideal because of the mixer element of the drink as well. Some innovative line extensions have been added over the years, including Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale, in hopes to expand the ginger ale offerings. Recently, the brand has been advertising that it’s “Made with Real Ginger,” despite that not appearing on the ingredients at all. Let’s not fool ourselves here… Canada Dry isn’t exactly a Reed’s or Fresh Ginger-caliber product when it comes to the ginger experience.

The Ten Lineup

Like the other 2nd generation “Ten” flavors, Canada Dry Ten borrows from the design cues of Dr Pepper Ten through the addition of a gunmetal grey color to the label. The color actually works pretty well as a compliment for the white/green scheme typically associated with the logo, though the way “Ten” is added to the logo, one might miss the distinction or associate this with Diet Canada Dry. As established in the “Ten” lineup, the packaging proclaims that Canada Ten offers “10 Great Tasting Calories,” utilizing 3 sweeteners: aspartame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

The “Ten” lineup from Dr Pepper Snapple Group seems targeted at a demographic that isn’t buying the “Diet” versions of said drinks, and in many cases, as noted by the Dr Pepper Ten advertising campaign, that would tend to be the male demographic. To best see if Canada Dry Ten could lure drinkers of full calorie Canada Dry, we compared Ten against Diet Canada Dry and regular Canada Dry.

When all three drinks are poured side-by-side-by-side, the first thing one notices is color. Diet Canada Dry is a darker yellowish color, while regular Canada Dry and Canada Dry Ten are lighter and look similar. The Diet iteration is also quite a bit more foamy/bubbly than the other two. Finally, the scent of Diet Canada Dry is quite muted, while regular and Ten have a somewhat sweet bouquet.

Regular, full calorie Canada Dry isn’t a bad drink. It’s sweet and has a hint of ginger flavor. It’s light and works well by itself or with food. There’s a certain HFCS-syupyness that lasts in the aftertaste. In contrast, Diet Canada Dry’s artificial sweeteners are pretty obvious when you sample it, really being noticeable in the bottom part of the mouth with a strong fake experience. Which brings us to new Canada Dry Ten, which actually does a pretty decent job of mimicking the flavor profile of the original. It’s sweeter than Diet and closer in overall level to regular. Like the other entries in the “Ten” lineup, it starts out strong tasting like the original namesake, only later having the artificial sweeteners kick in. But that first blast of familiar flavor goes a long way in making Canada Dry more palatable than its Diet brethren. I’d argue that it’s a good lower calorie substitute for the original if you are watching your calorie intake.

The use of artificial sweeteners in this ginger ale lineup seems to be a bit more finicky than some of the more bold flavors in the “Ten” lineup. I think they are more noticeable overall. Therefore, while Canada Dry Ten isn’t perfect in taking just like a full calorie version, I think it does a pretty darn good job shooting for it!

Canada Dry Ten
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, sodium citrate, malic acid, sodium benzoate (preservative), aspartame, natural flavors, acesulfame potassium, caramel color

A 12 oz can contains 10 calories, 115 mg sodium, and 2 g carbs (2 g sugars). Caffeine free.

For those interested in a comparison…

Diet Canada Dry
Carbonated water, citric acid, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate (preservative), malic acid, aspartame, caramel color, natural flavors, acesulfame potassium, calcium disodium EDTA (to preserve flavor)

A 12 oz can contains 0 calories, 120 mg sodium, and 0 g carbs (0 g sugars). Caffeine free.

Canada Dry Ten is a pretty well executed, low cal knockoff of the original. It’s better than Diet and worth a try!

Update 2/9/13: The official national rollout of Canada Dry Ten features a slightly changed design when compared to the version we reviewed in February 2012. Here’s a look at the finalized can:

Canada Dry Ten - 2013 Rollout Version

Canada Dry Ten – 2013 Rollout Version

Here’s a look at the two versions side-by-side. Which design do you prefer?

Canada Dry Ten: Test Version 2012 (Left) vs. Rollout Version 2013 (Right)

Canada Dry Ten: Test Version 2012 (Left) vs. Rollout Version 2013 (Right)