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.
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
Why did it fail?
1. Marketing strategy.
2. No diet variant.
3. Too few container
9 out of 10 people who I
mention Josta to state that they've never heard
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
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.