Thursday, July 21, 2016

Nostalgia Bomb! - Crystal Pepsi

What is it?
Crystal Pepsi was a "clear cola" released by PepsiCo. It had no caffeine, but had a flavour similar to a cola, with no lemon-lime or vanilla flavouring to delineate it from other clear soda pop, like 7-Up, Sprite, or some cream sodas.

When did it come out?
Crystal Pepsi was originally released from 1992 to 1993. During that time everything had to be clear or pure. This is when Zima hit the market. PepsiCo decided to try and sell a caffeine-free, clear, clean soda, but it didn't really catch on and only lasted in North American markets for about a year, with a slightly longer run in Europe.

The original packaging - I don't recall ever seeing Diet Crystal Pepsi
What about today?
In 2015 PepsiCo released a small batch of Crystal Pepsi in the United States and it sold very well. In mid-2016 it was re-released across the US and Canada as a seasonal drink.

Why do I remember it?
I don't think I drank copious amounts of Crystal Pepsi when it was first released, but I can clearly remember having it. A friend of the family actually worked at the local Pepsi bottling plant and brought us a bottle to try before it hit store shelves later that year. As I recall it didn't quite taste like regular cola and had much sweeter taste.

I can't say how much the new Crystal Pepsi tastes like the original, but I can say that it still has a slightly sweeter than cola taste. I know the new formula uses high fructose corn syrup, where the original product would have used actual sugar, so that might account for any differences. Also, this new formula contains 64mg of caffeine.

Crystal Pepsi today

Originally Crystal Pepsi was almost marketed as a "healthy" pop alternative; a clear drink with less caffeine and less sugar. These days no one was any illusions that there can be a healthy soft drink, so I feel like PepsiCo just left the caffeine and HFCS in there and let it fly.

I'm certainly not as excited about this Pepsi seasonal offering as I was for Pepsi Throwback, which I bought in copious amounts when it was released in 2013. I believe Throwback may still be available in the US - I hear there are even cherry and vanilla variants - but here in Canada it was only around for a limited time. That said, I'm enjoying a little taste of nostalgia with Crystal Pepsi and I think I'll be sad to see it go at the end of the summer.

Crystal Pepsi is a definite blast from the past!

Hope you enjoyed,