Premium Cola, The Ethical Cola Company

How about a cola company that does no advertising or marketing? Donates one cent per bottle sold to offset its carbon footprint? Where every customer can look at the company’s bank account, and if they disagree with how the founder is running things, can argue to have his share reduced? It’s called Premium Cola. There’s no salaries, no office, and no bosses, per se. All decisions are made equally by members of the cola collective. The drink is only sold to select locations in accord with the Premium Cola ideologies. Sound impossible to sustain?

Premium Cola started in Germany in 2001 as a protest project among lovers of a soda called Afri-Cola that had turned its back on them. The brand had changed its formula to one that was lower in caffeine and less strongly flavored. Afri-Cola devotees banded together, reverse-engineered the formula, and started brewing and selling their version of the soda. In 2006, owing to lackluster sales, the makers of Afri-Cola changed back to the original formula. But by that time, Premium Cola had evolved past a fan effort into something more, something more like the distilling and bottling of drinkable ethics.

Uwe Lübbermann Talks To PSFK (About Premium Cola) [psfk]
Premium-cola [Wikipedia]
Afri-Cola [Wikipedia]


Edit Your Comment

  1. ChrisC1234 says:

    Offset the carbon footprint of a CARBONATED beverage? HAHA. This sounds like a lot of people who have nothing better to do with their time… Maybe they should expend all of this time and energy to something that can actually HELP people, instead of making another calorie-laden soft drink (which the world COULD do without entirely).

  2. Buran says:

    @ChrisC1234: Or maybe people who waste time whining about things on blogs could actually support companies who are supporting efforts to get us carbon-neutral.

  3. hellinmyeyes says:

    I love the concept, but we’ll never see that sort of transparent organization here, at least to any scale.

  4. shan6 says:

    I’m not going to bother them if that is their hobby/what makes them happy. I don’t seem much of a point in what they are doing, but at the same time it makes me feel good that people took matters in to their own hands when the company they fallowed went a different direction.

    Could I be more indecisive today?

  5. MercuryPDX says:

    Sounds a bit like []

  6. humphrmi says:

    @Buran: Sorry but donating money to offset new, additional carbon you emit doesn’t go anywhere toward making us carbon-neutral. It does make people feel better about emitting more carbon though.

    The true carbon-neutral approach would be to stop emitting new carbon exhaust, perhaps by – oh, I don’t know, let’s say – not producing yet-another calorie-laden soft drink?

  7. mattshu says:

    Al Gore is getting richer by the moment.

  8. Ben Popken says:

    @Chrisc1234: The carbon offset is for the emissions of the trucks that deliver the beverages…

  9. Hoborg says:

    @ChrisC1234: Er, I don’t think this is a charity organization, it’s just a business. If they choose to be more socially responsible, good for them, it’s better than if they didn’t. But they aren’t saving the world, and don’t have to. I’d buy this soda.

  10. MaliBoo Radley says:


    At this moment, I can’t think of anything more mainstream and commerical than Jones. It’s everywhere.

    The only real positive to Jones soda is their use of real cane sugar. It tastes better and it’s better for you

  11. MaliBoo Radley says:


    “making another calorie-laden soft drink “


    “producing yet-another calorie-laden soft drink”

    Oh, you two! Get a room!

  12. f0nd004u says:

    @radleyas: In mexico (and many other places i’m guessing) Coca-Cola makes their soft drinks with real sugar also, due to local laws regaurding food production (e.g. the mexican gvt. knows that corn syrup is awful for you and banned it in soft drinks). They also use glass bottles, which are returned to the store you bought it at and then sent back to the factory, sanitized, and re-used. I have a bottle of sprite I bought about 3 years ago that has a bottle from 1991.

    So, the coke tastes much better, and it helps the environment by not dumping tons of plastic in landfills. And this is in Mexico! I don’t see why similar laws can’t force big cola companies to do this in America.

    @MercuryPDX: I love jones. Also, I love the Portland Mercury. =).

  13. MaliBoo Radley says:

    Yeah, I know … I go to my local mexican grocery to buy my coke. Also, I used to live in England, who also use sugar in their coke.

  14. MaliBoo Radley says:


    I wish I could edit my posts …

    I also meant to add that I couldn’t give a fig about the glass bottles and so forth. I wouldn’t mind my coke being served in seal skin. Honestly. I just want it to tast good.

  15. humphrmi says:

    @Ben Popken: Of course. Still, I love that phrase, “Carbon Offset”, as if some greenbacks magically make the carbons disappear.

    I understand, the money goes toward efforts to reduce carbon emissions. That’s great. I also give money to make the environment better, and so should everyone, including Coca-Cola and Pepsi. I wouldn’t be surprised if they already do. But using that as justification for making yet-another product that the world doesn’t need doesn’t mean that the carbon emissions from that activity magically disappear; they just get “paid for”.

    A more socially responsible approach would be to not start a new enterprise that emits carbon in it’s production and/or delivery cycle for an unnecessary additional cola product to begin with. But sure, if you gotta start a new enterprise, don’t make it sound like you are some hifalutin “we’re better than everyone else” company just because you donate money to someone else to reduce carbon.

  16. MaliBoo Radley says:


    Did you notice that they only produce the soda for their local market within Germany? It’s not even available nationwide across Germany. A country, I might add, that is no larger than two Wisconsins. My point being that there isn’t a huge amount of cabon being expended by this company.


  17. miran says:

    I use the Soda Club stuff. I’m ok on their diet cola syrup (can’t deal with sugar or corn syrup). I’d like to know other places to get a good soda concentrate. CO2 canisters are refilled, bottles are reused, and I don’t have to haul 2 Liter plastic or glass bottles anywhere. Cost benefit isn’t really there by much but I like not having to trek to the store when the soda is finished.

  18. LTS! says:

    Soda in the United States used to be made with sugar, and as stated above in most countries outside the United States it still is. It’s much better tasting, and technically better for you, although it’s certainly not healthy.

    Of course corn farmers complained, so subsidies were introduced and that allowed corn syrup to become incredibly cheap. Since everyone wants to save a dime, HFCS was introduced and there you go… crap in a bottle.

    Now, ethanol is popular, so the cost of corn for HFCS is going up even with subsidies. Unfortunately the growth of processing for ethanol outpaced the supply of corn and vehicles demanding it, so the industry is stagnating and the costs will fall again. I say unfortunately because it could have lead to HFCS being taken out of soda. Also unfortunately is the rising costs of everything else because corn is replacing other crops as it becomes more financially viable for farmers.

    Tequila prices rose because Mexican farmers began replacing agave fields with corn, it’s more lucrative to them. Sucks for tequila lovers.

  19. lostlo says:

    @radleyas: In that case, you should care about the bottle. Coke from glass bottles tastes much better than the plastic. The plastic leaches chemicals into the coke. Cans are also superior to the plastic.

    I’m not one of those hysterical types who insists that plastic will kill us all, but I do find coke in plastic bottles to be gross.

    I’m not sure how coke in a seal skin would taste, but I’m betting it would be even worse than plastic bottles, heh.

  20. timmus says:

    Yeah, we don’t buy any HFCS soda either. It’s either Mexican Coca-Cola for us (thank god we live in Texas) or nothing.

  21. JustAGuy2 says:


    You’re partly right. The reason that US consumers get HFCS in their beverages is due to subsidies, but the primary culprit is the US sugar industry, not the corn industry. Sugar producers have a lot of political clout (mainly b/c they’re in Florida and can swing votes there, along with donations), and they’ve been able to get the US to impose very high tariffs on imported cane sugar, keeping domestic prices very high. As a result, HFCS is cheaper, so soda companies use it.

  22. ahwannabe says:

    and then there’s Open Cola…

  23. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @timmus: I am in L.A. and I actually got a Costco membership just because they have cases of Mexican Coke…mmmmm. Of course I found out there is a ton of stuff thier that makes the fee worth it. But it all started with my desire to have the REAL real thing….

  24. humphrmi says:

    @radleyas: Oh! So small amounts of unnecessary carbon discharge are OK? I’ll keep that in mind the next time one of the militant environmentalists gives me a hard time about having a fire pit in my back yard. I’ll just tell them – “Chill!” Then I’ll send a penny for each log I burned to the EUETS, and it’ll be just as if I never burned them.

  25. Android8675 says:

    @ChrisC1234: Calories are NOT the problem people, the problem is people don’t go outside anymore! Do you think Coke in the 20s had less calories than it does today? Doubtful, get yer fat ass off the sofa and take a 30 minute walk, 15 minutes away from your house in any direction, then turn around and walk back.

    IMO, the world can NEVER have enough soft drink varieties.

  26. MaliBoo Radley says:


    Sounds like a plan to me.

    BTW, I think you might be one of those “militant environmentalists” that you speak of.

    Out of curiousity, what would you consider a necessary carbon discharge? Is it the one that drives your hemp clad heiny to the co-op?

    Again, chill.

  27. varco says:

    @Android8675: Coke in the 20s may not have been less calorie-dense, but I’m certain the portion sizes were smaller. All those antique coke bottles are 8 or 10 ounces while a modern-day portion size can range from 12 to 20 to 32 to 44 or more ounces.

    Also, people are a lot less physically active.

  28. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    Just tell them, “You know, when you exhale; carbon dioxide right there buddy!” That usually shuts them up.

  29. Consumer-X says:

    As long as purchasers can pretend that they are making some sort of “difference” then this stuff will sell. People prefer painless pretend solutions to problems rather than painful real solutions.

  30. topgun says:

    If it mixes with rum….that’s all that matters.

  31. MrEvil says:

    @f0nd004u: The reason Coca Cola makes their soda with cane sugar in Mexico is not because the Mexican government banned it it’s that cane sugar is quite abundant in Mexico and the rest of South America for that matter. The reason most soda is sold with HFCS in the US is because cane sugar is HIGHLY tarriffed to protect gulf-coast sugar farmers in Mississippi and Alabama. Our domestic sugar production can’t keep up with the demand for cokes and Corn syrup is much more abundant.

  32. ahwannabe says:

    @varco: also, Coke didn’t start leaving out the cocaine until 1929, and cocaine has no calories. Ask any model.

  33. kracer22 says:

    I always have one of these after I’m through clubbing some baby seals.. AHhh So Refreshing!