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Frequently Asked Questions
I have compiled a list of the most common questions I receive at Sodafinder.
Please read through this before submitting your question or comment.
You indicate that Mr. Pibb has been discontinued yet I've seen it recently. Did you know this?
The Mr. Pibb I speak of is not the current incarnation that is widely available in the United States. People who have access to "Pibb" are finding Pibb Xtra, which is a reformulation of Mr. Pibb that was released in summer 2002. At the same time, bottlers were allowed to use up their remaining stocks of real-deal Mr. Pibb, as coke ceased production of the syrup to make it. Buy summer of 2003, all Mr. Pibb was gone and replaced with Xtra. Anything sold as "Pibb" to this day is "Pibb Xtra".
Next time you think you see Mr. Pibb, check carefully as you will see the word "Mr." does not appear anywhere on the product. Also remember that many fountains serving "Pibb Xtra" never changed the label from the old "Mr. Pibb". Ask the restaurant to confirm the selection by checking the concentrate cannister or bag-in-box and you will see.
If you believe you found Mr. Pibb, of course, take a pic and let me know!
(Original Mr. Pibb and Pibb Xtra shown above. They are not the same!
Real-deal Mr. Pibb cannot be purchased anymore.)
Can you get any Crystal Pepsi?
Unfortunately, no. The original Crystal Pepsi as we remember it went away some time around 1993 where I live. Perhaps later or earlier where you are. I do not have any now.
Before it went away for good, Pepsi, in order to convince soda-drinker's brains that it isn't 7up, changed the flavor slightly and added cherry flavoring. It has also been reported that in some parts of the country, lemon flavoring was added. This did not last, or perhaps they didn't give the drink much of a chance.
The beverage continued to be sold in South Korea. I do not know if it is still sold there today.
For a Christmas 2005 limited release, Pepsi released Pepsi Cléar in Mexico.
The only clear sodas that aren't lemon-lime out now are birch beers and cream sodas. Frozen Run, sold on this site, is one. Polar also manufactures a clear birch beer. Jones Soda manufactures a clear cream soda. In Canada, all cream sodas possess a much richer, almost red cream taste, yet are clear. Barq's Cream Soda Canadian, sold on this site, is such a flavor.
(Crystal Pepsi Can)
Can you get Surge? I loved that stuff!
A lot of people did!
Surge was released in 1997 by Coca-Cola. It was primarily Mello Yello with a little more caffeine and orange juice. The brand's launch was pushed out by lots of screaming and yelling in the advertisements. Teenagers drank it down by the gallon. Teenagers, though, don't make a lot of money, and coke decided it was time to retire the drink.
By the end of 2002, most markets were selling Mello Yello in its place.
By 2003, most markets didn't have Mello Yello anymore either.
Mt. Dew trumphs it in most of the United States and coke decided it was not worth competing against. Mello Yello cannot be found in the Northeast. This is the same reason why you cannot buy Pibb Xtra in most of the northeast as well. It is only in fountain, and even that is limited as most national chains have fountain licensing for Dr. Pepper, even in coke shops.
In 2005, Coke released a new beverage called Vault. Since then, diet and "code red" variants have emerged. It has been reported that the formula for Vault is almost identical to Surge's, however, any Surge fanatic will tell you they aren't even close.
My last can of surge left my hands in 2003.
(My friend Jake Stephens holding the first Surge can we found, from a vending machine at an I-95 rest stop in Alexandria, VA. January 1997. This was my first soda run ever to find Mr. Pibb.)
Can you get Josta, O.K. Soda, Fanta Red Cream, Citra, Mt. Dew Pitch Black or Pitch Black II, Tropicana Sugar Free Fruit Punch, Ramblin' Root Beer, or Diet Mello Yello.?
No. I do not have any of the above-mentioned products. Everyone of these products listed above have been discontinued by the manufacturer, and syrup is no longer produced. Therefore, local bottlers cannot obtain the concentrate to produce them.
Josta was marketed by Pepsi from 1997 to 1999 and only sold in limited markets.
O.K. Soda was produced by Coca-Cola and again only sold in limited areas from 1995 to 1997.
Fanta Red Cream was a flavor I do not remember personally, however, I do receive many requests for it. I would imagine that Coke has phased this out and replaced it with Barq's Red Cream or Red Flash, which is sparcely available.
Citra was Coke's version of Squirt. It is also essentially foreign Fresca. Fresca in the United States is a diet soda, but not elsewhere. Citra was phased out Summer 2003. It is reported that Summer 2004's release of Fanta Citrus was the identical product to Citra.
Mt. Dew Pitch Black was a grape variant of Mt. Dew, sold nationwide by Pepsi. It subsequently went away, and then the next year reappeared, reformulated and touting the name Mt. Dew Pitch Black II. It then, went away again.
Tropicana Sugar-Free Fruit Punch was discontinued Summer 2008 and replaced with Sugar Free Tropicana Berry.
Ramblin' Root Beer was Coke's root beer. Coke began nationally phasing this brand out when they obtained Barq's in 1987 and rolled it out to their local bottlers as the Ramblin' contracts came up for renewal. Hires is the closest thing to it that I have found.
Diet Mello Yello was cancelled by most local bottlers as Coke began requiring them to carry Vault and Vault Zero. I do not know if this is a nationwide decision or only impacts specific areas.
Can you get Slice, or Dr. Slice, or Slice Zero, or Storm?
No. Slice, Pepsi's answer to compete with Sprite in the mid-80's, was a hit for a long time. It, however, was not sold everywhere since Pepsi maintained the rights to 7up in many markets. During Slice's run, the brand was used to extend out to the miscellaneous flavor profiles, such as orange, grape, strawberry, peach, pineapple, apple, fruit punch. This profile competed with Coke's Minute Maid line.
Unrelated initially, during the late 1990's Pepsi began test marketing "Storm", which was a new formula lemon-lime soft drink with caffeine. A diet variety was also created.
In the early 2000's, Pepsi decided it no longer wanted 7up in its nationwide system. Pepsi, having had a positively tested lemon-lime drink, took the formula for Storm, sans caffeine, and Sierra Mist was born. Slice held on for a little while with its extensions. Storm was never nationally released, however many collectors of the limited edition Star Wars cans from the trilogy re-release have at least two. Regular "Storm", and the aptly named "Light Storm" diet cans dawned Star Wars characters. Storm went away shortly before Sierra Mist appeared.
In conjunction with Walmart, Pepsi released Slice Zero, a new diet version in Orange, Grape, and Strawberry. It was only available from Walmart stores.
In an effort to bolster sales of the profile, Pepsi decided to retire Slice and use Tropicana, a well-known brand name they had acquired in the late 1990's with the purchase of Quaker Oats. They figured to sell juice-related flavors, consumers would relate better with it than Slice. At this time, any flavor that did not fit into the Tropicana brand identity was phased out. Dr. Slice, in some markets, was replaced by the local bottler's own concoction, like Dr. Wham or Dr. Denali, for example. Other bottlers signed an agreement with Cheerwine to begin selling that in its place. Some have replaced it in fountain with Dr. Wells. Slice Red was completely phased out.
In October 2008, Pepsi signed a new agreement with Cadbury Schweppes / DPSU to have nationwide rights to distribute Crush. Tropicana will be going away for carbonated beverages as of January 1, 2009 in markets that do not have Crush already. Non-carbonated items, such as orangeade, lemonade, and fruit punch will remain Tropicana for the foreseeable future.
As of April 2009, the Crush roll-out seems to be in full swing, with a majority of Pepsi markets selling diet and regular orange, and grape. Strawberry has appeared in some but not all markets. Interestingly, I have observed at least 3 markets where Crush has remained in the 3rd tier system. Every one of these markets has a commonality that there is already a 3rd tier Orange in the mainstream system. In these markets, usually, coke has Sunkist Orange. More to follow as this pattern, confirmed by me, has not been officially confirmed.
What's the deal with Pepsi Blue?
Sounds like some crazy idea... so crazy, people will drink it up! And they did.. for a little while. Pepsi Blue was released summer 2002 with much fanfare.
A lot of people loved it. It even prompted coke to release their own version under the Fanta product line called "Fanta Berry". I never particularly cared for Pepsi Blue, or Fanta Berry. The raspberry taste just doesn't appeal to me.
And apparently, it didn't appeal to most people after the fad wore off. Pepsi Blue blew off shelves more slowly over time, and was discontinued Summer 2003.
(Pepsi Blue 1 liter, found in Norfolk, VA summer 2002, and me holding a Fanta Berry 20 oz found in Chicago, IL Dec 2002 )
Can you get any of the following?
Fanta Melon from Japan:
Sodafinder will only purchase products available in the Continental U.S.
Discontinued, no new stock.
What's the date on my cans of soda? And is it safe to drink expired soda?
Soda does not "expire". The date on the package is provided as a "freshness date" or "best by date". All sodas contain ingredients that are mixed, and after some time will start to separate. After the date passes, there is not a magical transformation and breakdown of the product. And if the can remains intact and untampered, after several years, the seams of the can will start to separate. Carbonation will leak out first, and eventually liquid seeps out. Soda is difficult to store for more than five years.
The date printed on most regular soda is 9 months from the date of production. Dates on diet soda are usually only 3 months out from the production date.
Some sodas do not contain recognizable dates. The code on the can, however, can be deciphered. Like beer, this date is a “born on” date. To read it, find the 4 digits that are numeric. The first or last of these 4 is the year code. It may be a 8, 9, or 0 (2008, 2009, 2010). The other 3 digits are the ordinal date, meaning, the # of days since January 1st. You can usually divide this # by 30 to get an approximate day of the month. (There is a chart here that you can also reference). To then calculate the “freshness” time period, add 9 months for regular soda, or 3 months for diet.
Typically, soda in cans will be fine up to two years after the freshness date. Soda is a consumable item, and will taste different at any stage of storage. A soda two days old will taste different than one month, six months, one month before the expiration date, or one month after. Typically after a year and a half, the breakdown of regular sodas will reach a point where the difference in taste becomes noticeable. The ingredients in the can are not changing, and if consumed will pose no additional health risk than when the drink was new.
Diet soda, which contains artificial man-made sweetners, breaks down much sooner. I would not recommend drinking diet soda more than 6 months after its posted (or calculated) freshness date.