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Maybe it was the marketing campaign—or maybe it was the slightly discounted price in the Fairway Market. But something spurred me to purchase a can of Olipop’s Vintage Cola on a Sunday afternoon. And ever since then, I haven’t had a Diet Coke.
When I was younger, I wasn’t really drawn to soda. But last year, I found myself turning to Diet Coke more and more frequently, and it quickly became a habit. Drinking a Diet Coke was a mechanism for staying awake, giving myself a little treat, and, erm, easing a hangover. While there’s nothing wrong with those motivations, I knew that the beverage wasn’t necessarily good for me—according to the Cleveland Clinic, diet soda has been linked to weight gain, insulin confusion, and additional sugar cravings. Could Olipop help me break the habit?
Back up: What is Olipop exactly?
Don’t call it a soda! Unlike Diet Coke, which is full of artificial sweeteners, Olipop’s Vintage Cola is actually a “sparkling tonic.” And no, that’s not just marketing speak. According to its website, Olipop’s drinks include a combination of plant fiber, prebiotics, and botanicals, which are designed to help support healthy digestion (they’re also vegan, paleo and gluten-free). With only 2 to 5 grams of sugar and 9 grams of fiber per can, this beverage is billed as a healthier alternative to your typical fountain drink.
Putting Olipop’s Vintage Cola to the test
I came across Olipop the same way I encounter many new brands: on TikTok. In honor of April Fools’ Day, one of the brand’s employees posted a video on TikTok. In the video, she empties out a Diet Coke can and fills it with Olipop’s Vintage Cola. She then hands the can to someone to see if he notices a difference. Spoiler: he doesn’t.
I was intrigued! I had to see for myself if Olipop’s Vintage Cola could really taste the same as my beloved Diet Coke.
And dear reader, let me tell you—I was impressed. The carbonation consistency (yes, that’s a thing) was the same as a Diet Coke, and the flavoring tasted like a standard cola drink. One of the largest (and most unexpected) benefits was the effects I felt in the hour after drinking Olipop’s Vintage Cola. While my Diet Coke tends to linger in my stomach for at least an hour after consumption, I felt strangely better after drinking Olipop. Maybe it was the placebo effect, but I felt like it was easier to digest than Diet Coke.
For me, one of the initial drawbacks of Olipop was the lack of caffeine. Unlike traditional sodas, none of Olipop’s drinks contain caffeine—except for Vintage Cola. With a nod toward customers like me, who are looking to kick their Diet Coke habit, Olipop included caffeine exclusively in its Vintage Cola flavor, in order to ease the transition from traditional cola sodas. (This very tired Diet Coke lover is grateful for this thinking.) Vintage Cola contains 50 milligrams of green-tea caffeine, compared to the 46 milligrams of caffeine in a standard Diet Coke.
Even if you’re not into Diet Coke, Olipop has a replacement for all of your favorite sodas. Love Dr. Pepper? Try Olipop’s Cherry Vanilla. Gravitate toward Fanta? Opt for Olipop’s Orange Crush. Craving A&W Root Beer? Grab one of Olipop’s Classic Root Beers.
Overall thoughts on Olipop
Between the added health benefits, traditional cola taste, and the slight caffeine boost, Olipop’s Vintage Cola flavor is definitely staying in my drink rotation. However, the sparkling tonic soda does have a few drawbacks. For one, the Vintage Cola is significantly more expensive than your average Diet Coke pack, priced at $35.99 for a 12-pack. (A 12-pack of Diet Coke costs $7.99) Additionally, Diet Coke is available in every grocery store, pharmacy, and convenience store, not to mention in restaurants, bars, etc., while Olipop is only available in a handful of retailers across the U.S.
I’ll still turn to Olipop when that Diet Coke craving hits. Since it’s available at my local grocery store in single can, it’s a bit more accessible to me than to the average consumer who may have to order a 12-pack online. And while it’s not (yet) in the fountain at the Chipotle around the corner, well, a girl can certainly dream.