Pepsi Will Release a 'Cocoa' Cola This Winter

Slated for early 2021, the new flavor will be a wintery mix of hot chocolate and cola.

Over the years, plenty of cola flavors have been released—cherry, vanilla, coffee, etc.—with varying degrees of success. This winter, Pepsi is hoping our sweet tooths get the better of us—and it seems they might be taking a jab at their old pals Coca-Cola along the way.

Yesterday, Pepsi announced plans to release a new drink that adds a winter-appropriate, hot chocolate spin to the brand’s signature soda, billed as “a delicious blend of cocoa (and hint of marshmallow!) mixed with Pepsi cola.” Certainly, chocolate lovers may be sold on this idea regardless of what Pepsi decided to call it, but the name itself is noteworthy, too: Pepsi “Cocoa” Cola. (The quotation marks are theirs, not ours.)

Chocolate Pepsi Cocoa Cola
PepsiCo, Inc.

“There is nothing more classic than hot cocoa on a winter day, but this year has been anything but typical,” Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s vice president of marketing, said in the announcement. “So why not bring together the delicious taste of a Pepsi with the delicious, wintery taste of chocolate and marshmallow and bring some unexpected joy to our fans this season? We are confident we nailed Pepsi ‘Cocoa’ Cola and can’t wait to get this in the hands of cola fans this winter.”

Reinforcing the idea that this new beverage—which could just as easily have been called Hot Chocolate Pepsi—isn’t solely a troll of their biggest rival, Pepsi points out that “Cocoa” Cola will be their second soda inspired by a sugary treat this winter: Back in November, the brand released a limited-edition Pepsi Apple Pie flavor. And Pepsi points out that hot chocolate has been especially popular this year, thanks in part to “those cocoa bombs that [have] taken the internet by storm.” Still, it’s hard to simply ignore the implications of Pepsi’s chosen moniker for the soda sounding all-too-close to the name of their chief rival. When pressed as to whether this was some post-Cola Wars trolling, Pepsi replied with the following: "We simply set out to deliver a delicious new take on a winter classic with Pepsi 'Cocoa' Cola. The name reflects the authentic flavor innovation we were able to create for our fans."

And actually, Pepsi has been pretty mum on specifics for this forthcoming soda altogether. The brand has promised that Pepsi “Cocoa” Cola will be released later this winter, but for now, we should simply “stay tuned for details coming in 2021!”

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