Store Brand Sodas, Ranked Worst To Best

If you have a soda habit, don't worry, you're not alone. Many of us can't make it through a day without some carbonated assistance. In fact, the average American drinks more than 44 gallons of soda a year. When you venture to your local supermarket, there's a good chance that an entire aisle is dedicated to soda. From name brand sodas to store brand sodas, the array of options is dizzying.

If you go with a name brand soda, you know what to expect. Most of these brands have been around for decades, if not much longer. For example, Dr. Pepper has been around since 1885 and Vernor's, a brand of ginger ale, was around even before that.

On the other hand, if you go with a store brand soda that you've never tried before, you will probably be able to save money, but there's a chance that you will regret your decision. Some store brand sodas are revolting, while other store brand sodas are as good as (or even better than) the name brand.

Instead of going out and trying all the different store brands to separate the wheat from the chaff, this ranking will save you time and money by leading you directly to the best of the best.

15. Mountain Lion

Shortly after you open a can or bottle of Mountain Lion, you'll know full well that you have made a terrible mistake. This Mountain Dew knockoff, which is sold at Food Lion grocery stores, is a failure in every way imaginable. First of all, the smell is disgusting. While the original has orange juice in it, Mountain Lion smells like a sour orange that has been left out in the sun for too long. If you ignore the putrid aroma and go in for a sip, your taste buds will hate you forever. Mountain Lion's citrus flavor is way too strong and then, to make matters worse, it has an exceedingly sweet aftertaste that will only add to the misery.

The one-two punch of grossness will have you searching for the nearest sink so that you can spit out whatever soda remains in your mouth and pour the rest of it down the drain. Mountain Lion should be renamed Mountain Lyin' because, while it may look like Mountain Dew, it's an atrocious fabrication.

14. Summit Cola

Though Aldi sells a lot of great products that you should try at least once in your life, their Summit Cola isn't one of those products. In fact, this soda is so off-putting that you should actively avoid it. Even if Aldi starts giving it away for free, you should refuse it.

There are two big problems with Summit Cola that ruin this soda. Firstly, the cola flavor is so light that it barely registers. You have to really concentrate to taste it at all. Secondly, the carbonation is lacking, as the blogger The Aldi Nerd can attest. Instead of a lot of satisfying bubbles, this stuff tastes like it's flat even if you drink it right after you pop open the can. Combine these two issues, and the result is a soda that tastes like flat carbonated water. There's a little bit of sweetness and a minuscule amount of cola flavor but, all in all, it's a gigantic disappointment that doesn't deserve to ever ride in your shopping cart.

13. Meijer Dr. M

It seems like every store has their own brand of fake Dr. Pepper. While some of the replicas are surprisingly good, Meijer Dr. M is an abomination. Meijer doesn't disclose the full name of this quack but Dr. Mistake, Dr. Misfortune, and Dr. Mishap would all be good guesses.

While real Dr. Pepper uses a combination of 23 flavors (vanilla, cherry, almond, and molasses are included in those 23 flavors if you believe the most widely held assumptions) to arrive at its unique taste, Meijer Dr. M is amazingly bland. It tastes like it uses one or two flavors and the result is a soda that is strangely bitter. This stuff also lacks any sort of aftertaste, which only adds to the boring monotony. Unless a bitter version of Dr. Pepper with no flavor depth and no aftertaste sounds like a good time to you, walk past Dr. M on Meijer's shelves and don't even think about purchasing this soda.

12. Big K Peach Soda

In the beginning, you will really enjoy Big K Peach Soda. The first two or three sips will be absolutely magical. Unfortunately, the happy times won't last. Within minutes, the overbearing sweetness will cause the magic to dissipate. The strong peach flavor, which is enjoyable at first, gets old quickly. The more you drink it, the more you realize how unnaturally powerful the peach flavor is and how it's overloading your senses.

If you've already purchased Big K Peach Soda from Kroger and you don't want to see it go to waste, the best thing to do is to use this drink to make a peach float. If you add a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream to this soda, it becomes bearable. The ice cream stops the sweetness and the peach flavor from overpowering your taste buds, which will allow you to recapture the magic you experienced during your first few sips.

11. Great Value Twist Up

If you're really thirsty and you don't feel like drinking another glass of water, Great Value Twist Up is good enough to quench your thirst in a pinch. It's not an amazing store brand soda, mind you, but it isn't nearly as flawed as the aforementioned sodas.

Great Value Twist Up, which can be found at Walmart, has a satisfying amount of fizz. While something like Summit Cola is lacking in the carbonation department, that's not a problem at all with this soda. If anything, some people may find this drink to be too carbonated.

Taste-wise, Great Value Twist Up doesn't move the needle much. You can taste a modicum of lemon-lime goodness, but it's very slight. Moreover, if you like your soda to taste extra sugary, then this stuff isn't for you.

If you are someone who prefers 7UP over Sprite, Great Value Twist Up is a soda you may like because it tastes somewhat similar to 7UP. However, if you're a diehard Sprite fanatic, move on to something else.

10. Publix Orange Soda

Tasty orange sodas are plentiful on grocery store shelves. From Orange Sunkist to Orange Crush to Orange Fanta, it's difficult to go wrong if you're craving an orange-flavored soda. All three of those name brands are really, really good. But if you're looking to save some money and you're shopping at Publix, opting for Publix Orange Soda isn't a terrible choice. It's not a great choice but, then again, saving a few cents may be worth it to you.

Compared to the name brands, Publix Orange Soda's orange flavoring is more subdued. You can't miss it, but it's not nearly as energetic or as lively as you've come to expect. In order to disguise that lack of flavor, this soda is sweeter than Orange Sunkist, Orange Crush, or Orange Fanta. While your sweet tooth may applaud the change, don't be surprised if the rest of your being regrets not going with a name brand.

9. Signature Select Ginger Ale

You can find Signature Select Ginger Ale at Albertsons, Safeway, Tom Thumb, or any of the other grocery stores owned by Albertsons. For those people who adore ginger ale, you'll either love this soda or hate it. There's no middle ground to be had.

Compared to other brands of ginger ale, Signature Select Ginger Ale is tangier and the ginger flavor is stronger. If you like your ginger ale to be sweet without much bite, this version will be too much for you to handle. But if you want your ginger ale to be heavy on the ginger and provide a powerful zing, you very well could like this stuff better than many name brand options.

To experience Signature Select Ginger Ale at its best, don't be stingy about adding ice. The colder this drink is, the better it will taste. If you ignore these words of wisdom and drink it while it's warm, the ginger flavor will be extremely unpleasant.

8. Big K Cherry Cola

Much like Big K Peach Soda, Big K Cherry Cola doesn't skimp when it comes to flavor. If you believe that Cherry Coke doesn't have a bold enough taste and you want even more cherries added to the equation, this drink is for you. Not only is the cherry flavor really strong, the cola flavor is equally as dominant. It all adds up to a fiesta of flavors that promises to keep your taste buds thoroughly entertained.

Unfortunately, you will also tire of Big K Cherry Cola after a few cans. At that point, you will want to switch to something with a more subtle flavor profile. Even switching over to Cherry Coke will sound like a good idea to you.

But the news isn't all bad. Buy a 12-pack of Big K Cherry Cola and have a can whenever the urge strikes. In relatively small doses, this stuff hits the spot.

7. Whole Foods 365 Root Beer

Though Whole Foods isn't exactly known for having low prices, they do have some high-quality products that they sell with your health in mind. Believe it or not, Whole Foods 365 Root Beer is one of those products. This root beer has no high fructose corn syrup, is sodium-free, has a short and recognizable list of ingredients (carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel color, natural flavor, and citric acid), and the lining of the can has no BPA. Oh, and this stuff actually tastes pretty good, too.

While a few name brand root beers have a richer taste, what Whole Foods 365 Root Beer brings to the table is perfectly acceptable. The flavor won't wow you but it tastes like root beer, it's refreshing, and it's potentially healthier for you than other sodas. While you would be better off drinking a diet soda if you're putting your health number one on your list of priorities (although that's debatable), consider buying this drink the next time you visit Whole Foods.

6. Summit Citrus Twist

Aldi's Summit Citrus Twist is a lot better than their Summit Cola. It's no contest, really. If you're shopping at Aldi and your pocketbook is demanding that you opt for one of their low-priced sodas, reach for Summit Citrus Twist.

Like Summit Cola, Summit Citrus Twist struggles a bit in terms of carbonation. But where this soda shines is when it comes to flavor. Its lemon-lime flavor is glorious. It's so good, in fact, that you won't care too much that the soda tastes like it's a little bit flat.

While Great Value Twist Up is comparable to 7UP, Summit Citrus Twist is more comparable to Sprite because it's a little bit sweeter and its flavor is more pronounced. If you're a Sprite fan and you're on a budget, get this stuff. Though it's not quite as good as Sprite, it's a reasonable facsimile for those with budgetary concerns.

5. Great Value Dr. Thunder

While Dr. Pepper has dozens upon dozens of clones, the best of the bunch is unquestionably Great Value Dr. Thunder. The key to success is that this store brand didn't try to make an exact copy of Dr. Pepper. Instead, while Great Value Dr. Thunder obviously draws inspiration from Dr. Pepper, it's able to stand on its own two feet.

When you compare the two, you will find that Great Value Dr. Thunder is sweeter and has a stronger aftertaste. Additionally, it's carbonation level is similar. The more you drink it, the more you will like it. Considering that this Walmart brand comes with a very reasonable price tag, it's possible that you will grow to prefer this knockoff version to the real thing.

Dr. Thunder is never going to fully replace Dr. Pepper but you should schedule an appointment with one of the cans to see if you find that the taste difference is worth the price difference.

4. Chek Orange Pineapple Soda

If you want a really unique, really good store brand soda that doesn't have a name brand that rivals it, Chek Orange Pineapple Soda is what you've been searching for. This one-of-a-kind drink tastes like a never-ending day at the beach in a lovely tropical destination where you can forget about all of your life's troubles. It's no surprise that there are many individuals who are obsessed with this drink.

While this soda contains both orange and pineapple flavors, it's the pineapple that steals the show. You really don't pick up much of the orange at all until you get to the aftertaste.

Chek Orange Pineapple Soda can be found at Winn-Dixie grocery stores. If you end up loving this brand of soda, also try Chek Strawberry Soda and Chek Grape Soda. They're not quite as good, but they offer a similar explosion of flavor in your mouth.

3. H‑E‑B Wild Red Soda

If you've ever spent any time in Texas, you know that the entire state is captivated by Big Red. For those who've never tried it before, Big Red is basically a red version of cream soda that has a little bit of citrus added to the mix. While you might not love it when taking your first sip, the stuff is highly addictive.

It makes sense that H-E-B, a grocery store that has been in Texas for more than 115 years, has been able to capture what makes Big Red special and create their own store brand. In fact, H‑E‑B Wild Red Soda might be even better than the original. It's a little bit sweeter and the cream soda flavor is a little bit stronger.

The best type of H-E-B Wild Red Soda is made with pure cane sugar. While it's not always easy to find, it's worth the effort of tracking it down.

2. Mountain Splash

Many Mountain Dew lovers will consider this statement sacrilegious but it's true: Mountain Splash (not to be confused with Splash Mountain) tastes better than Mountain Dew. This soda, which is sold at Publix, takes everything that is great about Mountain Dew and turns the volume up a few notches. The result is a soda that is simply more flavorful and more robust than the original.

Mountain Dew has a lot of flavors on the market but nothing quite as intense as Mountain Splash. That intensity, which is supercharged by an unmistakable zinginess and a strong orange aftertaste, remains pleasurable no matter how many cans of this stuff that you drink.

If you doubt the accuracy of these claims, do a blind taste test of your own. When it's over, you too will agree that Mountain Splash deserves to be praised. It's truly an elite store brand soda that at the very least gives Mountain Dew a run for its money.

1. Sam's Cola

Coca-Cola has been titillating taste buds in the United States since the 1880s. To say that this brand has built up a large and loyal following would be an understatement. Could it be possible that a store brand soda that you can buy at Walmart is actually better? It sounds far-fetched, but it really isn't.

Sam's Cola doesn't taste exactly like Coca-Cola but it's very much comparable. The carbonation level seems to be exactly the same. The two main differences you'll notice are a stronger vanilla flavor in Sam's Cola and an aftertaste that is richer and sweeter.

Considering that Sam's Cola can almost always be found for a low price, you have nothing to lose by giving it a legitimate chance — and everything to gain. If your new favorite drink is a store brand soda, your cola habit won't cost you as much money and your taste buds will be even happier than they were before.