Gin­ger­beers in bat­tle of brands

Week­end Ar­gus staffers put them to taste­bud test

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - LYSE COMINS

WHILE Wool­worths and Frankie’s Old Soft Drink Com­pany re­main locked in a bat­tle of the brands, Week­end Ar­gus staffers de­cided to put the taste of their fiery prod­ucts to the test, along with a few other pop­u­lar brands.

And it seemed this week that Wool­worths and Frankie’s had both en­joyed a good run on their prod­ucts – thanks to the la­belling bat­tle played out in the me­dia, and on Twit­ter and Face­book in re­cent weeks.

Frankie’s has lodged a com­plaint with the Ad­ver­tis­ing Stan­dards Au­thor­ity of South Africa, in which the founder Michael Sch­midt al­leges that Wool­worths in­fringed the copy­right of his cooldrink brand when it launched its new range of “retro”-style cooldrinks.

Wool­worths food man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Zyda Ry­lands has ve­he­mently de­nied steal­ing any­thing, adding that the re­tailer would wel­come the ASA’S rul­ing on the mat­ter and would abide by the rul­ing. The ASA will only be back from hol­i­day in the new year, so there will be a bit of a wait un­til the direc­torate meets to rule on the mat­ter.

This week, just find­ing a bot­tle of Frankie’s Fiery Gin­ger­beer and Woolies Fiery Gin­ger­beer on the shelves was a mis­sion that took al­most a day. Added to those for the taste test were the brands from Stoney, Co-ee and Roy­alty.

A blind­folded panel then con­ducted the in­for­mal taste test – with some sur­pris­ing re­sults.

Emerg­ing as the over­all win­ner was the cheap­est gin­ger­beer of them all – Co-ee, at just 53c for 100ml.

Frankie’s came in as sec­ond favourite, fol­lowed closely by Wool­worths and Stoney, while Roy­alty fin­ished last, scor­ing way be­low the other con­tenders with just 1.6 of a pos­si­ble five points.

Pos­si­bly one of the most in­ter­est­ing facts about all the brands was that only two of the prod­ucts tested ac­tu­ally con­tained any hint of gin­ger – Frankie’s and Roy­alty. The oth­ers packed their punch with purely chem­i­cal flavourants.

And the prize for the most hon­est pack­ag­ing of the ar­ti­fi­cial gin­ger­beers went to Co-ee, for tak­ing the trou­ble to alert con­sumers to the fact that the prod­uct was in fact noth­ing more than a “gin­ger­flavoured soft drink”. Here’s what the judges had to say.

Coo-ee Gin­ger­beer: Rat­ing: 3.8/5

Com­ments: Slightly more fizzy than the other drinks, with a tasty gin­ger kick that is not too over­pow­er­ing, and def­i­nitely has us reach­ing for a sec­ond glass.

Ingredients: Car­bon­ated water, su­gar, per­mit­ted ar­ti­fi­cial flavourant, cit­ric acid, preser­va­tive, sodium ben­zoate. Price: R7.99, or 53c/100ml Size: 1.5 litre Pro­ducer: Shore­line Bev­er­ages Made in: South Africa

Frankie’s Fiery Gin­ger­beer: Rat­ing: 3.4/5

Com­ments: No fumes but slightly more body, although it has a bit more bite and would go down nicely with a tot of vodka. A plea­sur­able fizz with a gen­er­ous gin­ger flavour that is not too strong or too sweet.

Ingredients: Car­bon­ated water, su­gar, gin­ger ex­tract and emul­sion, cit­ric acid, le­mon ex­tract, cap­sicum, preser­va­tion: sodium ben­zoate. Price: R10.99 or R2.20/100ml Size: 500 ml Pro­ducer: Frankie’s Old Soft Drink Com­pany Made in: Bal­go­wan, South Africa

Wool­worths Fiery Gin­ger­beer: Rat­ing: 3.1/5

Com­ments: Cer­tainly a fiery drink that kicks in the back of the throat, with fumes even reach­ing the nasal pas­sage. Gin­ger flavour is rather in­sipid though.

Ingredients: Car­bon­ated water, su­gar, cit­ric acid, cloud­i­fier, flavour­ings, preser­va­tive: sodium ben­zoate. Price: R9.95 or R1.99/100ml Size: 500ml Pro­ducer: Spe­cially pro­duced for Wool­worths Made in: South Africa

Stoney Gin­ger­beer: Score: 3/5 Com­ments: Earthy and rooty flavour, ro­bust, very sweet, a bou­quet like a wrestler’s armpit. Price: R7.99 Ingredients: Car­bon­ated water, su­gar, cit­ric acid, sta­bilis­ers, preser­va­tives, sodium ben­zoate and TIDES High to­day . . . .6.57am, 7.05pm To­mor­row . . . . .7.40am, 7.52pm Low to­day . . . .00.28am, 1.11pm To­mor­row . . . . .1.05am, 1.51pm Spring tides . . . . . . . . . . .Dec 24

Jan 9 Neap Tides . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jan 1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Jan 16 SUN/MOON Sun­rise to­day . . . . . . . ..5.35am Sun­set to­day . . . . . . . . .8.00pm Moon rises to­day . . . . .11.18am Moon sets to­mor­row . .11.32pm potas­sium sor­bate and flavourant. Size: 500ml or R1.60/100ml Pro­ducer: Coca Cola Com­pany Made in: Park­town, South Africa

Roy­alty Gin­ger­beer: Rat­ing: 1.6/5

Com­ments: Un­like some of the other brands, this gin­ger­beer does not pro­duce fumes in the back of the throat and has a “cheap” taste to it. Wa­tery, with not too much of a gin­ger flavour (de­spite the ingredients in­clud­ing gin­ger root ex­tract), but very sweet and juicy. It’s like a gin­ger­beer, but it’s not a gin­ger­beer.

Ingredients: Car­bon­ated water, su­gar, flavour­ings (con­tains gin­ger root ex­tract), cit­ric acid, acid­ity reg­u­la­tor (trisodium ci­trate), preser­va­tive: sodium ben­zoate, colour: sul­phite am­mo­nia caramel. Price: R29.94 or R1.51/100ml Size: 6 x 330ml cans Pro­ducer: Sun Mark Ltd Made in: United King­dom


FIERY TEST: Which gin­ger­beer is best? Week­end Ar­gus staffers put these brands to the taste-bud test.

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