Archive for April 26th, 2011


Time Travel Tuesdays: Soda Wars-Revenge of the Fizz

There are some things, friends, I’ve always loved. Friends. Family. Hamburgers. And on that list, let’s include that fizzy concoction that drips down into our 12-ounce cans from the dew-covered slopes of Heaven itself: soda. I do love soda, and I love when someone experiments with a new flavor of soda, and back on June 18, 2005, I talked about this love in the following column…


Brace yourselves, folks, it’s time for another incredible announcement in refreshment, a brilliant beacon of hope for the parched, a revelation unmatched by any since virtually an identical revelation about a month ago: there is (drumroll please) a new soda on the market!

Okay, technically it’s not a new soda, it’s yet another variety of an old soda. I discovered it just a few days ago as an enormous display of them stood out, calling to me from the Wal-Mart cooler that’s always broken. Ladies and gentlemen, we now have… Coke Zero!

I’m not sure what, exactly, qualifies this beverage as a “zero.” Zero calories, zero sodium, zero carbs, maybe? At any rate, it calls to mind another recent breakthrough, Sprite Zero, and of course makes it sound like they’re just trying to one-up their biggest competitor, Pepsi One. Of course Pepsi is planning to fire back in a few months with Pepsi Negative One, which Coke will follow with Coke Negative Infinity, which inevitably will lead to Pepsi Negative Infinity Plus One No Takebacks Nyeah Nyeah Nyeah. Royal Crown Cola, still not quite grasping the concept, is currently in development of RC A-Squared Plus B-Squared Equals C-Squared.

Pepsi should take comfort, however, in the fact that for once Coke is following their trend instead of the other way around. In the past we’ve seen Cherry Coke followed by “Wild” Cherry Pepsi, Coke with Lime followed by Pepsi with Lime, and Vanilla Coke followed by (this is the innovator) Pepsi Vanilla, which inexplicably featured, in its commercial, a delivery truck with giant speakers that bounced like an arthritic rabbit. Pepsi’s commercials make me think of that kid in high school whose efforts to join the cool crowd were so sadly pathetic that they let him hang around just because they felt sorry for him.

There was also Coke’s low-carb soda, C2, which was followed by Pepsi Edge, both of which, to the best of my knowledge, have vanished from the face of the Earth. I never drank Pepsi Edge, as the only Pepsi product I can stomach is the Cherry variety, but I did drink C2 a few times, mostly around my pal Chase because I knew he had an inexplicable hatred for the product and it would annoy him.

The only other blow Pepsi really struck first in the soda wars over the last few years was with Pepsi Twist, which featured lemon flavor in the Pepsi. Coke followed this, of course, with Diet Coke with Lemon, which would have been more innovative if people hadn’t been inventing the same flavor on their own in restaurants for years.

Other sodas, of course, are tossing their own efforts out to the public. We’ve had multiple varieties of Sprite Remix, Sierra Mist Free, Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper (a two-fer) and Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper, which I personally declare to be the nectar of the gods, assuming the gods drink soda.

Even bottled waters have joined the fray, with Dasani adding Raspberry and Lemon flavors to its roster and Aquafina throwing in fruit of their own, both beverages aiming for the “I know I should drink water but it tastes like… well… water” demographic.

I must admit, though, I’m surprised we haven’t seen a stronger showing from Fanta. In Europe, there are about a hundred different varieties of this brand of fruit-flavored sodas. Here in the states, we’ve only got the four basic flavors: strawberry, grape, orange and yellow. One would assume they’re busy auditioning additional Fantanas before they try to spring some of the other flavors on us. But come on, admit it — aren’t you curious as to what Kiwi Fanta tastes like? Yeah, me neither.

I’ve decided, however, that it is time to offer my services in the soda wars (and to collect the hefty paychecks that I can only assume would accompany such a prestigious position). There are two ways I would consider being such an operative. On the one hand, I would allow Coca-Cola to pay me millions of American dollars, for which in exchange I would begin offering them my ideas and taste buds to develop new flavors such as Chocolate Coke, Grape Coke, Cinnamon Coke and Coke So Good It Makes You Wanna Slap Your Momma.

However, if that didn’t pan out, I would also allow Coca-Cola to pay me millions of dollars to go work for Pepsi, where I would begin to push flavors like Turnip Pepsi, Rhubarb Pepsi, I Can Believe It’s Not Pepsi and, of course, Pepsi With Worcestershire Sauce, which would be a surprisingly popular flavor in Keokuk, Iowa, but would bomb everywhere else.

I am now accepting offers. In the meantime, folks, stay refreshed.

Blake M. Petit is sitting on a top-secret weapons in the soda wars. Three Words. White Russian Tab. Contact him with comments, suggestions or to start hurling money at him at

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