Limited-time flavors and variations of soda seem to come and go just about every month. Whether it’s a quirky new flavor or a limited-edition release that’s meant to mark an upcoming holiday, the sad truth is that many of these flavors will be gone before you know it. Quite a few simply don’t stand the test of time, whether they’re hit by marketing issues, taste problems, or changing fads. But that doesn’t mean that these drinks don’t grow a cult following before they disappear from store shelves.
While Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and emerging brands like New Wave Soda are among the most popular options available today, most of us wish that we could also pick up a can of Vault, Pepsi Blue, or even New Coke just one more time. Unfortunately, due to a lack of popularity, scant funding, or other scandals, these flavors have been discontinued. For many, there is no promise that they will appear ever again.
That doesn’t mean we can’t pine for these extinct sodas or even advocate for their return. Do you find yourself dreaming of trying a fizzy flavor from your childhood? Keep reading to learn more about the top discontinued sodas that we desperately miss.
Dr Pepper Berries & Cream
From time to time, the creators of Dr Pepper want to mix things up by adding a few extra flavors to the standard line-up that already includes 23 tastes (via Dr Pepper). Dr Pepper Berries & Cream was first introduced in 2006 (via Elite Daily). Released as a part of the permanent Dr Pepper line-up. it featured blueberry and raspberry flavors as the "berries" and vanilla flavor as the "cream."
Despite the company’s intentions, the bright purple can and its contents didn’t last for very long on the supermarket shelves. Dr Pepper Berries & Cream was discontinued in the U.S. only later that year (via News5 Cleveland).
Though it wasn’t popular during its first run, Dr Pepper Berries & Cream was re-released over a decade later in 2022. However, those hoping to get a taste were disappointed when they tried to find this re-released soda in grocery stores or their local gas stations. During the second release, the flavor was only available to winners of a sweepstakes. As per the brand’s Instagram, only members of the Dr Pepper’s Pepper Perks rewards program could enter, leaving some fans feeling left out.
At the height of the early 2000s trend of celebrities promoting soda via flashy commercials, the brightly-hued and berry-flavored Pepsi Blue was released to great fanfare in August 2002 (via Just Drinks).
In its first year, Pepsi Blue sold around 17 million cases (via Snack History). But its popularity dropped significantly in the drink’s second year of existence. The novelty may have worn off or consumers may have become more conscious of the fact that Pepsi Blue contained the controversial Blue 1 food coloring, as USA Today reports. This dye, which gave Pepsi Blue its vibrant namesake color, has been banned in countries like France and Norway because of a suspected link to brain cancer, according to The Healthy. However, the EU later walked back its alarm in 2010 and allowed for use of the dye (via the European Food Safety Authority).
Whatever the cause, Pepsi Blue disappeared from retailers’ shelves with little fanfare in 2004, as per Snack History. However, it did return in May 2021, available to consumers for a limited-time run. They had to move fast, however, as it disappeared once more later that year (via USA Today).
With most new foods and beverages undergoing product testing for months or even years before release, it’s surprising when a seemingly well-vetted soda still flounders upon its release. But Coca-Cola BlāK, a coffee-flavored version of the largely beloved original, was almost universally hated. Anderson Cooper even spat out the soda while trying it live on "Live With Regis and Kelly."
Coca-Cola BlāK hit shelves in 2006 (via Food Ingredients 1st). It featured regular Coke infused with coffee flavor, then sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup and zero-calorie artificial sweetener. The syrupy drink carried a bitter aftertaste from the aspartame and coffee flavor.
The flavor was discontinued in 2008 (via CNN). While it has never been re-released, Coke has given coffee-infused sodas another try in recent years. In 2019, Coke’s chief technical officer, Nancy Quan, said that Coca-Cola BlāK was a "trend before its time," and that the brand was ready to give the idea another try, believing that consumers’ tastes had evolved.
This next soda is one that many consumers might not realize has been discontinued for more than two decades now, though some of the changes have been pretty major. Mr. Pibb first hit the soda scene in the early 1970s, in response to the debut of Pepsi’s popular Dr Pepper (via Texas Monthly). Coke originally tried to name its drink "Peppo," but Retro Planet reports that the company changed course following a lawsuit filed by Dr Pepper. As a result, Coke named its new release "Mr. Pibb."
In 2001, the drink was replaced by Pibb Xtra, a similar take with some added flavor, as The Plain Cheese notes. While Mr. Pibb was marketed as having cherry and other flavors, the new Pibb Xtra now added cinnamon to the mix for a supposedly bolder taste. When the new flavor emerged, the old was unceremoniously booted. Though it sort of lives on as the heavily modified Pibb Xtra, the truth is that Mr. Pibb has disappeared.
Over the years, Coca-Cola has released several unique flavors of its signature soda. Only a few, like Cherry Coke, have stood the test of time. Coca-Cola with Lime wasn’t so lucky after its 2005 debut (via BevNet).
Despite the popularity of a similar diet version that had previously made waves, Coke Lime didn’t catch on and was soon discontinued (via Coke Products Wiki). Diet Coke Lime held on for more than a decade, but also disappeared in 2018, as per BuzzFeed News.
If you’re one of the few that loved Coca-Cola Lime, you’re in luck. While you won’t find the drink in bottles or cans, you can make your own Coke Lime at any Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, which allow you to add flavors like lime, cherry, and vanilla to any of their existing soda flavors. This flavor is also still available in some international locations, including Japan and New Zealand (via Coke Products Wiki).
Vault is one discounted soda that left a definite hole in the market. Launched in June 2005, Vault was marketed as a cross between an energy drink and a smooth, refreshing soda (via Snack History).
After its initial release, a slew of flavored versions of Vault was also released, including Red Blitz and grape. But by 2011, Coke decided to focus its energy on its Mountain Dew competitor, Mello Yello, and let Vault fall by the wayside (via Convenience Store News).
If you’re missing this soda, you may be in luck. Rumor has it that Surge and Vault contained many of the same ingredients, as per The Soda Wiki). Surge was another briefly-lived Coca-Cola flavor that was discontinued in 2003, but saw a resurgence in recent years. If you’re dedicated and lucky, you may be able to experience Vault via a can or glass of Surge, as per Tasting Table.
Like its Coke competitor, Pepsi has released a variety of flavored versions of its classics. Some, like Pepsi Wild Cherry, have stood the test of time. Others, like Pepsi Vanilla, haven’t been so lucky.
Pepsi Vanilla was originally released in 2003, likely as a direct response to Vanilla Coke, which had already hit shelves the previous year, according to CNN Money. The flavor managed to stick around for a few years before it was discontinued in 2008 (via Design Farm House).
Just over a decade later, the flavor re-emerged, according to The Impulsive Buy. However, information about the release was scanty and it seems to have once again disappeared from stores. But as PepsiCo hasn’t officially announced that it’s been discontinued, fans of this hard-to-find soda may still hold on to some hope. It’s possible is one flavor that could make a reappearance again shortly.
Mountain Dew Pitch Black
Mountain Dew’s overwhelming success and cult-like following have spurred dozens of spin-offs since its 1940s debut (via PepsiCo). Some, like Mountain Dew Code Red and Baja Blast, have garnered cult followings and become permanent flavors. Other seasonal releases sometimes see an annual re-release. Yet more fade into Mountain Dew legend and lore, as was the case with Mountain Dew Pitch Black.
First released in 2004, Mountain Dew Pitch Black was originally meant as a special release for Halloween (via ComicBook.com). Despite its name, the dark soda was purple, with a grape flavor and a stunning 75 grams of sugar per can.
Mountain Dew Pitch Black was discontinued later that year, though it’s occasionally reemerged, including a limited release in 2019, as per the brand’s Twitter. A now-deleted Reddit post suggested that Pitch Black would be released for a limited run in January 2023, as per the Mountain Dew Wiki. With a little luck, fans of the flavor may have a chance to try the drink again soon.
If you love a sip of bubbly Sprite on a warm summer day, then you may be interested in some flavored variations on the original. To that end, the flavored Sprite Remix line first emerged in 2003 (via The New York Times). The first, Sprite Remix Tropical, naturally featured a fruity, tropical flavor and proved to be popular, selling 55 million cases in the first year.
Despite this success, the flavor was retired the following year to make way for a brand-new Remix, Sprite Remix Berryclear, which featured berry flavor and a purple-tinged can that replaced the red and yellow of the tropical flavor (via BevNet). In 2005, a flavor shake-up once again took place, as Sprite Remix Berryclear became Sprite Remix Aruba Jam. The final flavor contained a mix of coconut, orange, strawberry, and pineapple, mixed in with the original Sprite flavor. The final flavor was hit with mixed reviews, and marked the end of the Sprite Remix line of flavors, as per Ephemeral Noms.
In our own 2021 poll, the tropical flavor of the Sprite remix series was voted the drink that respondents most wished would return, beating out Crystal Pepsi, Jolt, and other discontinued drinks.
Although Coke and Pepsi dominate the world’s soda market, there have been plenty of other brands that have made an impression, including some that have come and gone, and left us wishing for just one more sip!
First released in 1996, Orbitz was a fruity soft drink that came in a unique curvy bottle (via Atlas Obscura). While some might argue that it wasn’t a soda because it lacked carbonation, it stood out in coolers and on shelves thanks to the colorful gel pieces that floated in the bottle. This gravity-defying drink came in several fruity flavors, including vanilla orange, raspberry citrus, and pineapple banana cherry coconut.
Orbitz was produced by the Canadian Beverage Corporation, which also released flavored waters. Its new release was popular enough to be distributed across the U.S. but, by 1999, popularity waned and the drink disappeared. Despite its short lifespan, the drink still pops up frequently on social media, especially when users wax nostalgic for the ’90s.
Before Red Bull or Monster entered the picture, another energy drink paved the way. Jolt Cola was arguably the first energy drink, though it was created before the term became popular. According to Better Marketing, the canned drink was first introduced in 1985 and was advertised as having double the caffeine of regular soda. The marketing specifically targeted a younger audience that included students and young adults.
Jolt Cola quickly gained a reputation that was either good or bad, depending on who you asked. Its edgy marketing and unhealthy ingredients made it a hit with teens. Unlike other sodas, Jolt Cola enjoyed a long run, before ultimately being discontinued when the company went bankrupt in 2009 (via Soda Pop Craft). A version of the drink was briefly reintroduced in 2017 at Dollar General stores and through Amazon but was once again discontinued in 2019.
Even if you didn’t live through the era of the Jolt Cola craze, you may have still seen its signature red can or heard the name. It was guzzled by Dennis Nedry, the villain of the first "Jurassic Park" film. It was also parodied in many animated TV shows, including "The Simpsons" with its Buzz Cola, said within the show to have "twice the sugar, twice the caffeine" of regular soda (via LiquiSearch).
The same year that Jolt Cola was disrupting the soda industry, Coke was attempting to do the same. In an attempt to stay competitive in the world of soft drinks, the company decided to produce New Coke.
Released on April 23, 1985, New Coke was described by then Coca-Cola Company chairman and CEO, Roberto Goizueta, as "smoother, rounder, yet bolder — a more harmonious flavor" (via History). But the company didn’t release New Coke as a new line of drinks that would hit shelves alongside the original flavor. Instead, it simply made the new formula the standard Coke, marking the first change to its signature formula in 99 years (via Coca-Cola).
New Coke was a massive dud, lasting just 79 days. Indeed, it went down as one of the biggest blunders in marketing history. While the flavor may not have been a hit, we’d still like to take a sip for history’s sake.
The early aughts were a popular time for citrus-flavored sodas. Pepsi joined the game early, releasing the lemon-flavored Pepsi Twist in 2000 (via AdWeek). This wasn’t Pepsi’s first try at a lemon-flavored soda. In the 1970s, it released a lemon-flavored diet cola called Pepsi Light. According to History’s Dumpster, the early version’s lemon flavor was used to cover up the bitter aftertaste of saccharin, an artificial sweetener. When the flavorless aspartame became available, Pepsi dropped the lemon flavor and released Diet Pepsi.
Pepsi Twist saw some initial popularity. It was even released in several dozen other countries, though in some, the lemon flavor was swapped for lime (via The Soda Wiki). While you might not be able to buy this variety of Pepsi in a can anymore, this is one discontinued flavor that you can create at home, simply with a few lemon slices and a cold can of Pepsi.
Decades before Diet Coke became the healthier alternative for soda lovers around the world, Tab reigned supreme. Introduced by the Coca-Cola Company in 1963, Tab was the brand’s very first diet soda (via Snopes). If you ever had the chance to try Tab, consider yourself lucky. That’s because the soda suffered low initial sales that might have ended other flavors, and was infamously unpopular amongst corporate leaders (via Fast Company). Beginning in the 1960s, Tab was reformulated several times as several artificial sweeteners were banned in the U.S.
But Coca-Cola held on and Tab would later become the most popular diet soda in the U.S. Even after Diet Coke was introduced in 1982, Tab continued to be sold. However, by 2019, Tab accounted for just 0.1% of sales of diet cola around the globe. When the Coca-Cola Company decided to downsize its portfolio, Tab’s 57 years of production came to an end (via The Conversation). Fans of the drink were given until December 2020 to get their fix before the bright red cans disappeared from store shelves.