Review: Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Lemonade – Strawberry & Mango


Back in March we wrote a preview of Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Lemonade, a new line from Arizona Beverage Company. These drinks were recently launched during the Masters Tournament, capitalizing interest from golf fans with Mr. Nicklaus himself sharing the news.

Jack Nicklaus Gold Bear Lemonade with Strawberry

Jack Nicklaus Gold Bear Lemonade with Strawberry

As we previously noted, the trademark for this product (#85515814) was filed pretty recently, January 13, 2012 — and is owned by Nicklaus Companies, LLC, not Arizona.

This follows the patten of Arizona’s very hot Arnold Palmer tea/lemonade line, with the golfing legend controlling the trademark and having Arizona use it under license. In fact, per CNBC’s sports business reporter Darren Rovell, Jack Nicklaus asked Arnold Palmer for his approval before signing his lemonade deal with Arizona. Classy.

This product line is launching with 3 flavors: Lemonade with Honey and Ginseng, Strawberry Lemonade, and Mango Lemonade. The local Arizona distributor here in Chicago was kind enough to send over some samples of two of these flavors, so today we’ll be taking a look at the latter two tastes.

Nicklaus’ nickname of “the Golden Bear” seems to have origins from his high school in Upper Arlington, Ohio, whose mascot is the Golden Bears. Apparently his agent also once described him as “large, strong, and blond,” again linking the nickname. No matter the origin, it’s slapped on the can now!

Jack Nicklaus Gold Bear Lemonade with Mango

Jack Nicklaus Gold Bear Lemonade with Mango

Regarding the packaging, it’s the standard Arizona 23 oz can, which has become a recognizable shape for the company. As for what’s on the can itself, we’ll let the press release do the talking:

Each can features portraits of Nicklaus and his family during memorable personal and athletic achievements. Included are images of Nicklaus clutching the Claret Jug after his 1978 British Open Victory; the Golden Bear carrying son Gary off the green during his win at the 1973 PGA Championship, where he set the mark for major championship victories; and even a teenaged Nicklaus during his all-star days playing basketball for Upper Arlington High School — ironically known as the Golden Bears.

Let’s sip the Strawberry flavor! When you pop the tab on this flavor, you are greeted by a sweet strawberry scent. The drink itself is a light pinkish-red color, just a shade darker than pink lemonade. The taste is incredibly smooth, with the lemonade really adding a nice touch to the strong strawberry flavor. The blend is very pleasing on the tongue. It’s light, but quite sweet, with the drink being stronger on the strawberry side when you first sip it, while the aftertaste seems biased to lemonade. And you hardly taste the artificial sweeteners at all.

Wait? Did you say artificial sweeteners?

While the main sweetener is high fructose corn syrup, way at the end of the ingredient list, you’ll find sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K). Most likely, these were used to cut down the calorie count a bit, which positions the drink to have more calories than a Arnold Palmer Light, but less than a full calorie Arizona drink. I’m personally not a big fan of artificial sweeteners… and I can’t really taste them in this beverage. It wasn’t until I started writing the review that I realized they were included in the ingredients. Anyway, big thumbs up for Strawberry!

Let’s hop over to Mango. The tropical scent can’t be missed when you open this can. It actually reminded me quite a bit of another Arizona drink, Mucho Mango. The color is a light yellow; think watered down orange juice. Unlike the Strawberry flavor, it’s hard to detect the use of lemonade here. That’s not to say it isn’t present, however. Mango in general is a strong, sometimes harsh flavor. It feels like the lemonade helps mute the mango a bit, producing a smoother, light flavor overall. In addition, Mango Lemonade comes off as a tad less sweet than Strawberry. It’s quite refreshing.

Unfortunately, at the time of this review, we don’t have a sample of the new Honey and Ginseng flavor, so that will have to wait for another day.

It should be noted that Arizona probably has big plans for this line, as they not only trademarked the use to be for “lemonade,” but they also allowed the classification to include “alcoholic flavored malt coolers,” which means that this product will probably follow Arnold Palmer line by offering “hard” varieties down the road.

I personally liked the Strawberry flavor the best, while my wife favors the Mango. Both are well-executed, tasty, and fit the flavor expectations associated with an Arizona product. In other words, yum! Find it. Try it. Enjoy it.

If the marketplace agrees, it would seem that Jack Nicklaus Gold Bear Lemonade will add another golf-related success to the Arizona beverage lineup. Are there other athletes out there who swing a club and need a beverage named after themselves?  Give Arizona a call.

Jack Nicklaus Gold Bear Lemonade with Strawberry
Filtered water, high fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose syrup), strawberry puree, lemon juice from concentrate, pear juice from concentrate, natural flavor, honey, citric acid, fruit and vegetable juice for color, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), sucralose (Splenda brand), sucrose, acefulfame potassium

A 23 oz can contains approximately 3 servings. If you were to drink the entire can, it contains a little over 201 calories, 28.6 mg sodium, and 57.5 g carbs (54.6 g sugars). “Contains 10% juice,” with 25% of your recommended daily value for Vitamin C. Caffeine free.

Jack Nicklaus Gold Bear Lemonade with Mango
Filtered water, high fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose syrup), mango puree, lemon juice from concentrate, pear juice from concentrate, natural flavor, honey, beta carotene for color, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), malice acid, sucralose (Splenda brand), sucrose, acefulfame potassium

A full can of Mango contains a little over 201 calories, 28.6 mg sodium, and 54.6 g carbs (51.8 g sugars). “Contains 10% juice,” with 25% of your recommended daily value for Vitamin C and 15% of Vitamin A. Caffeine free.

Official Website: DrinkArizona.com

Full Disclosure: These beverages were provided compliments of Arizona Beverage Company