I’m a Coke drinker. And not in that generic “everything in the South is called Coke” sense, I mean I drink Coca-Cola. I don’t drink Pepsi. I occasionally drink Dr. Pepper. I think at one point in my youth (and by youth I mean like when I was 10) I drank Dr. Pepper exclusively, but since then it’s always been Coke. I think at one point I was so adamant about Coke instead of Pepsi that I would refuse to drink Pepsi at all and even avoid restaraunts due to it, which isn’t so hard to do. I’m not so nuts about that anymore but there are still places lower on my “go to” list because of it.

I forget if Pepsi owns them or they’re owned by the same company or just exlusive or what but the same company owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. This is why you’ll often see in newer places two or more of these three grouped together, like a Taco Bell with a Pizza Hut Express in it. These three serve Pepsi products exclusively. So when I go to Taco Bell I had to drink Pepsi. Of course if I go to a place that serves Coke, I drink Coke, but when the options are Pepsi products, I decided to experiment a little. So I tried Mountain Dew, and I found it goes real well with Chalupas and the like. Then I tried Mountain Dew Code Red. I liked that, too – it basically boiled down to Cherry Mountain Dew. That worked so well that there’s now Mountain Dew LiveWire. It’s orange, so I figured it was Orange Mountain Dew, but it’s basically Tang with caffene. Oh well.

What I find odd about Mountain Dew LiveWire is that the bottles and cans of it proclaim “Only Available Summer 2003!”, so I presume that after August it will become scarce and disappear entirely. What I don’t get is why. Back on the topic of Taco Bell, I notice that they oftentimes introduce a new product, like the Gordita or the Frito Burrito, with the phrase “for a limited time only”. Since some items like this never go away and others do, I can only assume that it’s a proviso – that way when it doesn’t go over well and they pull it, it doesn’t look like a failure. But unless they’ve got something up their sleeve, Mountain Dew LiveWire is going away no matter what, since it’s clearly marked that way.

I’m not sure if my perception is right, but it always seemed to me like the cola market was one whose products rarely changed. This may have something to do with the old new Coke and Crystal Pepsi fiascos, but with rare exception Coke and Pepsi sold what they did and tried their best to sell more and more of it. Then at some point they figured out a couple of things – first that there was more profit to be had if they could successfully unveil more products, and second that new beverages that were unable to tie into the existing brand names were pretty much ignored. So in the last few years we’ve seen new cola products that are either variants of existing ones, like MD Code Red, or just use the name, like MD LiveWire.

I think the first for a long time was MD Code Red, which was so popular it had a computer virus named after it (the guys who found it were drinking it at the time). Coke followed with Vanilla Coke, which was their first variant since Cherry Coke. Astute and older observers usually note that these are the sorts of variants that were available at soda fountains and are still done at places like Sonic. Vanilla Coke was so successful that Coke changed the Cherry Coke labelling to match and later unveiled Diet Vanilla Coke and Diet Cherry Coke. Pepsi then decided to unveil Pepsi Blue, which was “berry fusion” or something. I never had it, but apparently it was like blueberries mixed with Windex. I think it’s pretty much been phased out. Coke has pulled together Sprite Remix, which is Sprite with citrus flavors. I had one once – they were handing it out at a movie theater. No thanks.

I was surprised to learn that Dr. Pepper is actually owned by Cadbury/Scweppes, so it doesn’t matter how bad chocolate eggs or gigner ale sells so long as there are people like my cousin-in-law Richard in the world. Dr. Pepper is like that rock group with the smaller but fanatical cult following. They unveiled Dr. Pepper Red Fusion, which, like MD Code Red, is pretty much Cherry Dr. Pepper. Not bad. And with their 7up line they unviled dnL, a drink whose logo looks like 7up upside down. Whereas 7up is clear in a green bottle and caffene free, dnL is green in a clear bottle and caffinated, so the Bizarro 7up. It’s not bad, but I think it’s destined to be a fad drink.

So what I’m really curious to see is if they follow through with the LiveWire bit, and how long we’ll still be able to see Pepsi Blue in stores. In the meantime, I have a dentist’s appointment next week – anyone care to guess why?