Brand name soft drinks are so expensive, and these days it seems we’re all trying to quit, but sometimes we just want one. They are pretty popular at parties too, and using generics can help with expenses when you must have a wide variety on hand. So, how do you save and who has the best knock off brands?
Generic soft drinks maybe don’t look hip, but they are easier on the pocketbook. My family tends to prefer Coca-Cola® products when we have pop.
The soda pop generics are usually .68-.89 everyday vs. the $1.00-$1.50 you pay for Coke® or Pepsi® 2 liters WHEN THEY ARE ON SALE. Of course, you don’t get point or perks. That might not matter to you.
Coke Rewards has been awesome to my family, so I still will buy Cokes if there isn’t much difference in the price and I will ALWAYS grab lids when I find them. We’ve won a vacation, a free year’s supply of Cola, a shopping trip for my son some new clothes (a real treat, as we don’t often buy new clothes!), a video game system that was a GODSEND one Christmas, a Makita® tool package, 2 trips to Six Flags, and several other things. So yes! I find it worthwhile to put in my codes!
Pepsi runs some good contests too, often without having to enter points.
I know I’m not alone in having to cut costs- sometimes I about have to FIGHT my way into the generic soft drink aisle at Kroger.
Sometimes there are good coupons on soft drinks that make the brand name versions cheaper than generics. Always look for hang-tags! I’ve found them on the sodas themselves, on deli pizzas and on cans of tomatoes! You never know where they will turn up. Also, stores that have incentive programs often have point programs that can net free or low priced brand name soft drinks.
So who has the best knock off generic store brands? We think that Kroger does. (And NO – no one paid us to say that, or gave us free trials for this post, that’s just an honest opinion.) This is true for MOST of Kroger’s generic drinks. Their Citrus Drop taste like Mello Yello, and their Citrus Drop Extreme tastes like Vault. The grape soda, the colas- all are very close to COKE brands. That said though – DO NOT even think about trying their SWEET TEA that it might be like FUZE®. It’s not. Even the NON-DIET has aspartame in it. Usually we find Kroger’s generic 2 liters to be .68 on sale, and their 12 packs to be $2.00 to at most $2.50. This summer they ran a 4/$9.00 sale.
I bought Kroger store brand soft drinks and took them to the flea market on ice and sold them for .50 cents each and still made a good profit. Lots of people said they liked the Kroger brands!
Walmart’s brands (IE Sam’s Cola, Mountain Lightning®) are decent, but not as good as Kroger’s. They are .89 cents every day at our local store. They are a bit sweeter, which is more like Pepsi. They go flat faster and are not as fizzy when you open them.
K-Mart’s has several that taste good too. The Cola is most like Double Cola® or RC® brand to my family. It’ll do, but Kroger’s beats it if you like Coke.
Their Mountain Rapids is good for citrus soda fans. It sounds like Mountain Dew®, but it taste a bit more like Mello Yello®. Still, not as good as Kroger’s Citrus Drop, but it tops Walmart’s brand. Their knock off of Dr. Pepper, which is Dr. Smart, is pretty good, very close to Dr. Pepper, but doesn’t quite have that burn that Dr. Pepper® does. They have good orange and grape drinks too – much like Sunkist®.
Also, we find that if we DO buy the generics at K-Mart, that the CANS are usually fresher and fizzier. They don’t always get their LIDS on tight enough or put enough pressure in their 2 liters.
If you like Mello Yello or Mountain Dew, you might find that you also like Sun Drop. It’s a bit stronger, with a bit more burn, but it’s good and holds it’s fizz longer than the generic 2 liters. Sometimes they put out BOGO coupons that are great. They are $1.00 every day at Walmart for the 2 liters.
So here’s my breakdown, based on what we’ve had experience with:
Colas – Sam’s and Kroger’s tie. We have a few at Kroger that were too sweet. Sam’s is more consistent. K-Mart’s cola is good if you like RC brand.
This is true for the diet colas as well.
Mello Yello – Kroger Citrus Drop wins the prize. I can’t tell the difference.
Vault – Kroger Extreme Citrus Drop – again, they taste the same.
(I’m told the Diet brands of these two are also hard to tell from the real thing.)
Canned Lemonade – Kroger has this top spot.
Mountain Dew – Sam’s Mountain Lightening is the most like this, but you might like K-Mart’s Mountain Rapids too.
Fuze – Just get Fuze. We’ve not found a generic that’s worth a crap. Better yet, brew your own tea. Walmart’s generic teabags are pleasing to this Southern Family, who generally likes Tetley over Lipton.
Orange – K-Mart makes a good orange generic soda, much like Sunkist.
Grape – Kroger has the best generic.
Dr. Pepper – The generic most like Dr. Pepper is K-Mart’s Dr. Smart, in the CANS.
So generally, in our opinion, overall, Kroger has the cheapest, best store brand soft drinks – just ya’ll steer clear of that horrid stuff they call ‘Sweet Tea.’ And get them at the door if they have them there, it might save you a fight later in the soft-drink aisle.
Don’t ya’ll ask me about bottled water. There’s this thing called THE TAP. If you fret over purity, invest in a Camelbak or other filtered water bottle ONCE and use that over and over.
I’ll update this posts as we try to form opinions other generic brands. Some stores might have better drinks, but are not in my area.
Update 12/13/2015 Aldi’s has the BEST citrus drink ever. If you like Mello Yello,or Mountain Dew, try Aldi’s Mountain Frost. Currently priced at $2.18 a 12 pack, it tastes great, and they’ve taken the artificial colors out, so it is clear. I really like it BETTER than the name brands!