What is Josta?

Josta was a soda that was first offered by Pepsi in 1995. Commercials had us believe that Josta harbored secret forces found deep within South American jungles, from its exotic graphics to the mysterious ingredient guarana.

It was supposed to be a sexy, edgier alternative to regular colas and guarana was rumored to be a powerful stimulant. It was was pulled from production some time in 1999, presumably due to sales that were below expectations.

What did it taste like?

Very difficult to describe. It's safe to say it was one of the most uniquely-flavored beverages ever sold in the mainstream soda market. It is fruity and berry like, with a bit of dark spices and the astringent bite of guarana berries. The color is a deep red, almost brown.

I initially didn't know what to make of it, but after a couple bottles fell completely in love. Nothing compares.

What is guarana?

It's a berry that grows in South America and is a major player in the Brazilian soda market. It's a natural source of caffeine and was touted as contributing to Josta's energy-boosting qualities.

Why did it fail?

1. Marketing strategy.


2. No diet variant.


3. Too few container options.


9 out of 10 people who I mention Josta to state that they've never heard of it.


The flavor can't be blamed if most have never tried it, and some will only drink soda if it's calorie-free. It isn't like it was a short-lived concoction, like Pepsi Blue, which I recall lasted for about 10 months. Josta was around for 4 years, so you'd think it'd have to be somewhat well-established to sustain itself for that long, wouldn't you?

In my area, after a couple years on shelves Josta was still only available in 20oz bottles. No 2-liter bottles, no 6- or 12-packs. Just individual little bottles. I wasn't earning much back then, so despite my adoration, I couldn't afford to drink as much Josta as I would have if it were available in more cost-effective containers.

Pepsi had set expectations that couldn't possibly be met if they didn't distribute a full lineup to all markets. The beverage was ignored and allowed to fizzle in insufficient sales numbers for years before they euthanized it. Efforts were not made to re-label it or alter marketing. It was simply allowed to burn until it was dead.



Updated on 5/15/2011