Team Coke or Team Pepsi? The Cola Wars Rage On, But Baby, I Don’t Care.

I don’t drink soda too often these days, considering I once a bad habit of pounding Vanilla Coke, Cherry Coke and various colas more than a decade ago before I transformed myself through fitness and I ditched soda. I still hit ginger ale and seltzer and on the rare occasion, a birch beer or a raspberry Coke from one of those hundred flavor machines you see in certain fast-food joints. Yeah, I’d consider myself Team Coke if I still bothered with it, albeit Dr. Pepper, which has been owned by both of the major soda conglomerates, beats Coke and Pepsi hands-down.

When I was a teenager in the Eighties, the timeless Coke vs. Pepsi battle raged at its apex. You’ll remember the “Take the Pepsi Challenge,” which actually started in 1975 and you can still catch in-store marketing street teams offering it now and then. I took it at the grocery store I worked at, still with maturing taste buds ravaged by Mountain Dew and a local soda manufacturer, Colt Cola. Prior to that in my younger years, I was ape for RC Cola, Frostie Root Beer, 7-Up and Suburban Almond Smash. Funny to think how much of that sugary carbonated crap I subjected my body to all those years.

My result in the Pepsi Challenge? You guessed it. I chose Coke, albeit I fingered it as the Pepsi. Cue the tuba and brass tones marking you a loser on The Price is Right. Bum bum ba bummm….wahhhhhhhhhhh…. Other than Cherry Pepsi, I’ve just never really been a fan of the brand, even though my dad and my grandmother on his side loved the hell out of Pepsi, thus I had more than a lion’s share of it. I love sweetness in taste which I’ve had to tame down in my later years, but Pepsi was just too syrupy for me. To each their own, you know? I mean, my aunt loved the Coke-backed diet soda that makes some people who remember it cringe: Tab. I didn’t hate it, actually, and I’m calling shade on you Coca-Cola, the Coke Zero product is just Tab rebranded. Hmm? Hah? Come on, man…

In 1985, Coke was losing sales ground to Pepsi, thus they committed the cardinal sin of introducing “New Coke.” If you were born before the early Eighties, you know damn well what I’m talking about. “New Coke” was what, my friends? Say it with me: PEPSI!!! This hypocrisy flated by Coke’s old jingle, “Just for the taste of it” for their diet brand. Talk about calling shade, a facepalm-worthy bit of commercial huckstering only a fill-in deed to the Brooklyn Bridge outdoes for the b.s. factor. Truly a road best left lesser traveled, except in the establishing scenes of a Stranger Things episode.

TJ found a hilarious meme last night which prompted this silly post today. The second below is a variant of what she showed me and we had a nice little rip over it. Neither of us drink soda too often these days. We’re more about teas, vitamin waters, juices and filtered water. I’m also keen on fruit shakes and almond milk. Then there’s my love of coffee, which gets exploited anytime we eat at First Watch. Alcohol, we love our wine, and I have my share of beer and bourbon, though the older I get, the more I find the need to scale back.

To take a taste of Coke or Pepsi these days makes both of our tongues cringe at first, and our stomachs rebel within minutes after finishing. Still, funny is funny as are the burps we generate amongst ourselves if we find nothing else to drink but a soda.

So for fun, where do you all fall in line, if it all, Team Coke or Team Pepsi?

–Ray Van Horn, Jr.

12 thoughts on “Team Coke or Team Pepsi? The Cola Wars Rage On, But Baby, I Don’t Care.

  1. Coke. But it’s not the same since they went corn syrup over cane sugar. And I honestly don’t consume more than a bottle every couple of weeks.

    Miss the returnable glass bottles tho’. Something about drinking one of those straight from a iced cooler made it taste better.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, a Coke in those old bottles were gold. I have a buddy from way back who had a one-time father who would go to the local CC bottling plant and get those bottles refilled there and brought home to vintage Coke machine. He always kept a handful of nickels ready for us to get one before emptying the coins after all the bottles were drank. Good times, seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I try to stay away also. I like both: Pepsi and Coke. I still reach for a Ginger Ale, and the occasional Root Beer, Cream Ale or a Manhattan Special.


  3. Fun to read this and remember. Coke, Pepsi, RC, I liked them all with Pepsi a little bit more. Then Tab was an addiction for awhile. DP is a class all it’s own, and so good. These days it’s diet DP for me, and home brew iced tea with no sugar. 🙂


  4. RC Cola fan here. Otherwise, like you, Dr. Pepper (carbonated prune juice anyone?) If I have a Rum and Coke, it’s Pepsi Zero Sugar, which tastes pretty good. Tab was the worst, tasted like chemicals to me, maybe just me.


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