We Tried Pepsi’s Three New Fruit Flavors
If it feels like everything you drink is getting fruity, you’re not crazy. Beer is getting less boozy and more produce aisle-influenced. And, as more Americans ditch old-fashioned colas for crisper soft drinks like seltzer, so too have the major soda brands seen fit to try to refresh their customer bases with fruit juice-inspired beverages. Between January 2018 and January 2019, Diet Coke released Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Twisted Mango, Zesty Blood Orange, Blueberry Acai, and Strawberry Guava flavors, opting to roll them out in slimmer cans to showcase the brand’s new look. And regular Coke and Coke Zero both got an Orange Vanilla iteration in February. The next major player to try to squeeze into this emerging market? Pepsi, which today announced the release of three new flavors, all of which contain “a splash” of real fruit juice, according to the company.
Available today, Pepsi Lime, Pepsi Mango, and Pepsi Berry flavors are on store shelves in 12-packs of the familiar 12-ounce cans, and, after June 14, 2019, in slim 12-ounce cans in eight-packs at Walmart and Target stores exclusively. The flavors join Vanilla and Wild Cherry as flavors available in the regular (as opposed to Diet Pepsi) line of products in addition to, of course, the original Pepsi.
Representatives of the brand stopped by our office to offer us a taste of the new products and our first response was, we were surprised to find, that all three flavors were much fruitier than expected. The cola takes more of a back seat, letting the respective lime, berry, and mango flavors shine. The most familiar was, perhaps, the Lime considering both Pepsi and Coca-Cola have previously had lime products on the market, and it’s not all too far off from the lemon colas that were popular in the early- and mid-2000s. The Berry certainly had the rounded blueberry flavor which tastes a bit richer than your usual Pepsi. The Mango stood out as the most unexpected, though elicited the most mixed reactions of those who tried it.
The Pepsi team also offered the new flavors mixed into cocktails — tequila and Mexican beer mixed with Lime in a salt-rimmed glass; lemonade (and no booze) mixed with Berry; and bourbon and orange juice mixed with Mango with a maraschino cherry — all of which were pleasantly enhanced by the cola flavor and piggybacked on the juice component to create otherwise familiar mixed drinks. For regular soda drinkers, the new flavors were a refreshing change of pace, for non-soda drinkers, the fruit flavoring was enough of a draw to get them on board (especially with the cocktails at the very least).
Pepsi is also innovating with its more traditional cola flavor, too. Taking a cue from cold brew coffee and stout beer, the brand introduced Nitro Pepsi, the first-ever nitrogen-infused cola, earlier this year around the Super Bowl, with plans to expand the product at venues and restaurants at some point in the future. I tried it, and it’s certainly an interesting experience. Read more about that here.