Archive for Coca-Cola

All hail the “Throwback”

Posted in Odd with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2010 by macmystery

Dew ... old school.

I’ll try and make this brief, because it’s ridiculous I’m writing about this … and even more ridiculous you’re reading it.***

In the spring of 2009 (May 31 to be exact) I published a blog post entitled Beware the Throwback. Pepsi had released it’s limited run of ‘Throwback” beverages, including Mountain Dew. While on a camping trip in Tennessee, I purchased a 12-pack.

Upon my first taste of the Throwback Dew, I determined something was amiss … and I wrote about it. The folks at Pepsi had re-introduced real sugar to Dew, but in the process they removed the orange juice, … a cost-cutting measure I would guess.

The result was what I thought to be a weak beverage. The kick was missing. So I wrote about it. The Throwback drinks ran their limited time in the stores and were gone.

Well, as several readers have told me, Pepsi has re-released the Throwback Pepsi and Mountain Dew. And this time, the OJ is back. I held off on writing this until I could actually find some (they’ve been out since Dec. 28) and try it. And it was near perfect. (I haven’t tried Pepsi since I’ve always disliked it, real sugar or not. I’m a Coke man.)

This time, according to Pepsi’s all-things-Throwback Web site, the limited run will last until Feb. 22.  Go get you some.

*** My original Beware the Throwback post has received 2,200-plus direct hits. In and of itself, that’s not a large number. But when you consider I average about two dozen blog hits a day, most from family and friends likely, 2,200 in eight months is a significant number of hits. Thanks for the business.

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Coca-Cola … The Real Thing

Posted in Odd with tags , , on July 2, 2009 by macmystery
Refresco!

Refresco!

Dylan rode with me Saturday to take some trash to the dump, and after we were through, we stopped at a convenience store for a “special drink.”

That’s what Dylan calls it when he and I are out together and we stop somewhere and each get a Coke or a Sprite in the small glass bottle. What was the norm in my childhood is a novelty now.

(Side Note: For what it’s worth, Dylan is hooked on the glass bottles … he’s since kept the bottle and is drinking everything from milk to orange Kool-Aid out of it. I have a strange child.)

I had intentions this day of getting a NEHI grape soda, but Dylan said, “Daddy, there’s big Cokes up at the top for you.”

Sure enough, at the top of the cooler were the bigger 12 oz. Cokes. I almost dismissed them, my mind set on the NEHI, until I noticed something strange. On the bottle of the tall Cokes was the word “Refresca.” Huh?

So I pulled one down and noticed that aside from “Coke” and “Coca-Cola,” all the words on the bottle were in Spanish.

Why would they have Mexican Cokes, I thought? The bottles each had a small white sticker with the nutritional information and the ingredients printed in English (all this was omitted form the bottles of the Mexican Cokes).

It didn’t take much reading to see the difference and to decide I didn’t want a NEHI.

Ingredients: Carbonated water, SUGAR, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine

Sugar.

No corn syrup.

Real sugar.

Amazing. And sad. And disappointing.

I find it ironic that while the rest of the world gets “The Real Thing” in every sense of the phrase, American consumers get corn syrup because it’s cheaper than sugar.

Forget our jobs, they’re sending all our Cokes to Mexico.

UPDATE: I have since found several articles online about Costco selling Mexican Cokes out west for the past four years or so. And there was a Wall Street Journal front page story from a couple years ago about the high demand for Mexican Cokes.

Beware the “Throwback”

Posted in Odd with tags , , , , , , on May 31, 2009 by macmystery
Not all it's cracked up to be.

Not all it's cracked up to be.

UPDATE: Pepsi re-releases Throwback drinks, with a correct formula this time. See All hail the Throwback.

OK, it’s been quite a while since I posted anything, so to mark my return, I’ve decided to tackle a tough topic, but one I dearly love.

Mountain Dew.

You can see this is going to be a bear.

Growing up near Atlanta, when it comes to soft drinks, I’ve always been a Coca-Cola guy.

Hands down.

Pepsi sucks.

In fact, I once won a bet by proving to a less-soft drink educated fellow than I that I could discern between Coke and Pepsi simply from the smell alone. But that’s for another time …

But for quite some time, if I’m drinking a mass-produced, over-sweetened, caffeine-loaded soft drink that’s not a Coke, odds are highly favorable that it’s Mountain Dew.

In fact, I’m enjoying some as I type this post.

Well, back in March, PepsiCo introduced “Throwback” versions of both Pepsi and Mountain Dew. I’ve no idea what the Pepsi version tastes like and I likely never will. But from the moment I became aware of this new Mountain Dew product, it was only a matter of when, not if, I would partake.

According to PepsiCo’s propaganda, the primary difference between the current version of Mountain Dew and the retro “Throwback,” besides the use of the old logo on the packaging, is the fact that retro version is made with real sugar instead of corn syrup.

Soft drink companies began moving to corn syrup in the 1980s, beginning with Coca-Cola’s marketing-ploy-disguised-as-PR-nightmare move from Coca-Cola to “New Coke” to Coca-Cola Classic, which is what we now know as Coke. For those too young to remember that fiasco, it’s all explained here. But the basic theme is that Coke used the ultimate cola shell game to move from sugar to the much cheaper corn syrup.

Now virtually all soft drinks are made with corn syrup, excluding some smaller independent brands and a few instances of bottling companies with grandfathered bottling agreements with the big companies that allow them to continue making their products with sugar.

If you’ve ever visited a Mast General Store in North Carolina or the Upstate of  South Carolina, you’ll find all of their glass-bottled drinks (excluding Coke) are bottled using real sugar instead of corn syrup.

Some people have speculated that our nation’s shift to corn syrup over sugar over the past 20-plus years is partially responsible for some common health problems (obesity, childhood diabetes, etc.)  I don’t think this has been proven, but it doesn’t sound entirely ridiculous to me.

Sorry, I’ve rambled. The point, besides a little background, is that these drinks like the ones at the Mast stores that are made with sugar DO taste different. Maybe even better. So I wanted to try the Mountain Dew.

So a couple of weeks ago, while on vacation in the mountains of Tennessee, I bought some Mountain Dew Throwback.

What a complete and utter disappointment. The difference between sugar and corn syrup is actually pretty easy to detect. The sugar has a different kind of sweet that’s hard to describe. I believe it’s sweeter. But it was obvious from the start that the Throwback edition of Dew was quite punchless. I noticed it, but thought  maybe it was me.

But eventually, I determined there was a legitimate weakness there, and I began to peruse the ingredients on the side of the can.

A-Ha! It was right there in green and white.

Most people never look at the ingredients on the side of their soft-drink cans. In fact, I usually wish I didn’t know what was in there. But I only had to get down to the third-most plentiful ingredient in the two versions of Mountain Dew to see what the problem was.

Aside from carbonated water and high fructose corn syrup, the next most plentiful ingredient in Mountain Dew is … orange juice. Most people don’t know that. After that is citric acid.

Imagine … a citrus soft drink with real citrus in it. That’s preposterous.

But if you look at the Throwback label, it goes from carbonated water and sugar (instead of corn syrup) straight to the citric acid.

No orange juice.

At all.

Zero.

A first, I had simply been disappointed that a version of one of my favorite beverages with real sugar instead of corn syrup was so crappy.

But now I wonder if this isn’t the beginning of  a New Coke-like marketing ploy, instead. Maybe Pepsi is trying to play a shell game and eliminate expensive orange juice from Dew’s formula without the average  customer knowing.

So I guess I kinda had two points I wanted to establish …

1. Mountain Dew Throwback sucks. An indisputable fact.

2. When a major American corporation promotes a product that is supposed to give you something that you could only get in years gone by, it’s probably valid to ask what else they’re taking away from you while you aren’t looking.

By the way … Midnight Oil has given way to Joni Mitchell. Both respectable musically, but Joni’s easier on the eyes. But not too much.