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Polis Report

Mister Jones

By Rafer Guzmán

Beverage companies are creating some peculiar flavors these days. Check out the bottles of soda in the cooler at the trendy cafe: there's padlock flavor, sidewalk-grafitti flavor, and even pierced-navel flavor.

Actually, those are just the black-and-white photographs on the labels of Jones Soda. The flavors--cherry, grape, orange, raspberry and lemon-lime--are a little more familiar.

With its bold, silver-on-black logo, arresting snapshots of urban life, and heroin-slang slogan ("I've got a jones for a Jones"), this could be the world's first successful postmodern soda, the drink of the rave-industrial dance-club set.

One can imagine the following TV ad: "You've been dancing to the Chemical Brothers for six hours. You've got just one hit of E left. You need something to wash it down. That's when you reach for a Jones."

Jones looks like a smart drug, but it tastes like Crush. It's 30 percent less sweet than the average soda, according to 32-year-old founder Peter van Stolk. And rather than aim for world domination, Jones attempts to maintain a regional identity: This month, photographer Victor Penner is wandering San Jose, snapping pictures for potential labels.

"We have a youthful way of thinking in an industry dominated by guys older than me trying to sell to kids younger than me," says van Stolk. "We did something unique. There were 438 iced teas introduced into the U.S. last year. What were they thinking? Hi, I've got a new iced tea?"

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From the May 16-22, 1996 issue of Metro

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