REVIEW: Pepsi-Cola Soda Shop Black Cherry and Cream Soda Colas

Pepsi Cola Soda Shop Bottles

PepsiCo has introduced the Pepsi Soda Shop cola line with two limited edition flavors — Black Cherry and Cream Soda. Made with real sugar, Pepsi promises a modern take on some classics. Drug store soda shops have become harder and harder to find. Yet, the concept remains a touchstone in America thanks to pop culture icons like Grease. Will these sodas have me doing the jitterbug on the way to the store for more?

I pour out samples of each. The bottle describes these as colas, so I was expecting them to be standard cola-brown. I’m pleased when the cream soda is a light caramel color and the black cherry is tinted red.

Pepsi Cola Soda Shop Side by Side

I take a sip of the cream soda one and taste plenty of vanilla, though little cola flavor. There’s not much of a modern twist either. According to Pepsi, its soda has added agave for complexity, but I’m reminded of every other cream soda I’ve tasted. I sample again and perhaps detect a honeyed aspect to the sweetness. Then again, I mostly drink diet soda and could just as easily be tasting plain sugar.

On the other hand, there’s something immediately twisty about the black cherry. Its scent is like cough syrup. It has herbal notes, says Pepsi, which helps make sense of what I’m tasting. It reminds me of herbal craft colas I’ve had. Those colas have interesting flavors not seen in mass-market soft drinks and are bold about not being for everyone. This black cherry soda doesn’t have enough herbal notes to be as interesting as those, but has just enough to make it off-putting.

The one area that stands out with these sodas is the label design. It’s simple, comforting, and the classic Pepsi-Cola font is evocative of the era. It’s a shame the actual product doesn’t live up to it. I briefly considered getting a black leather jacket, slicking my hair back with pomade, and driving to the local drive-in movie theater to more fully embody the time. But no. The lesson here is that a cool design can’t make up for a mediocre product, not that I should buy a very, very cool leather jacket.

Good branding can’t save a mediocre product. The Cream Soda one is too mundane to set itself apart from similar soft drinks. The herbal twist with the Black Cherry is enough to make it unpalatable. Skip these sodas and seek out CVS or Walgreens instead. It won’t have a soda counter, but it’ll have plenty of other sodas worth drinking.

Purchased Price: $1.89 each
Size: 20 fl oz bottles
Purchased at: Piggly Wiggly
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 250 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 65 grams of sugar (including 65 grams added sugar), and 0 gram of protein.

10 thoughts to “REVIEW: Pepsi-Cola Soda Shop Black Cherry and Cream Soda Colas”

  1. Completely agree with Mike on this one. I was excited about the Black Cherry one, but quickly disappointed after the first sip. Very cherry cough medicine or something else that is not pleasant tasting. I did enjoy the Cream Soda one, but it tastes like any other Cream Soda out there, so nothing new there. I applaud Pepsi for trying something, but maybe a little more research and development and/or focus groups before shipping out Pepsi Robitussin. That’s just my opinion, your experience may vary.

    1. Just tried the Black Cherry Pepsi and very weird! As soon as I popped the top I smelled like a rotten egg smell and even tastes like that. Cream Soda Pepsi was horrible,tasted exactly like a diet soda.
      Jeff in Maine :/

  2. Yeah, these are very disappointing.

    The cream soda one is passable. I’d say 6.5 out of 10. Its an okay cream soda but nothing remarkable. There are far better cream sodas out there and this one is pretty tepid compared to the better offerings out there.

    The black cherry one, though, is awful. It straight up tastes like cherry flavored cough syrup. Very offputting. I’m shocked this one even made it to market. 1 out of 10.

  3. Yep…got excited when I saw the cream soda one in the store, as I was intrigued. Total meh… On point review. These seem very pointless.

  4. Completely disagree on the Black Cherry one. I love the way it tastes and it reminds me a little of Boylan’s Black Cherry soda. The Cream Soda Cola on the other hand is very meh. It all depends on what the audience wants but I would rather buy this Black Cherry soda than the regular Cherry Pepsi.

  5. Had the black cherry today. BEST bottled soft drink I’ve ever had. The cherry flavor is perfect, unlike the bitter artificial ‘cherry’ flavor in other beverages. The herbal notes added a complexity and interest that is unmatched. Will be sad to see this go. The label design also ads to the flair of this great drink.

  6. When I saw the Black Cherry flavor at Walmart I had to grab a 12 pack. Opening the can, the smell is bizarre and the taste even weirder. Having grown up on black cherry soda I couldn’t understand how Pepsi would think this is Black Cherry flavor. It’s just plain horrendous.

  7. Tried the cream soda today. I love a good cream soda but Pepsi you failed! It really doesn’t taste like cream soda. Suggest you take this version off the shelf and go back to the drawing board. Seriously!!

  8. I bought a 12 pack of the Black Cherry Pepsi-Cola. Might be the worst soda I have ever had, it tastes like cough syrup and is honestly pretty disgusting. I try to give new flavors a shot because sometimes new stuff can be really good, this doesn’t fall anywhere near that category.

    Mountain Dew (who’s owned by PepsiCo) pumped out some great new flavors back in the summer, so what happened here? It must’ve been a different team for development/taste testing, because it’s pretty wild to think they went from Mountain Dew Baja Flash to Black Cherry Pepsi-Cola.

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