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Pepsi Throwback Throwdown
Soft drinks are poison, but to the extent I occasionally choose such poison, I prefer Coke to Pepsi (or 7-Up to either). I never cared for Pepsi's exaggerated sweetness, or its marketing or even its logo, which has always been lacking compared to Coke's iconic script, and today looks like some state's D.O.T. logo from the late 70's. I have, however, been curious about this Pepsi "Throwback" that is out for a supposedly limited time, boasts about being made with "real sugar" and is implicitly superior or otherwise preferable to the current formulation. So today at the grocery store I bought a 20 oz. of each for a taste comparison. Cans would have been ideal, but I suppose these plastic bottles would do:

I smoked some homegrown Ohio killbud to prime my palate, marked the underside of two identical, disposable plastic cups, one with "REG" and the other with "TB," and poured the corresponding drink into each. Then I closed my eyes and shuffled them around for a couple minutes, left the room, came back and did it again til I couldn't tell which was which. The cup to my right tasted stale and flat, but was immediately nostalgic and did bring back a very brief splash of childhood memories. The one on the left was bigger, more acidic and gassy, with a finish reminiscent of liquid cellophane. I then checked underneath the cups and found that the one on the right was, as suspected, the old version, which is, at it turns out, superior to the current iteration. I think Pepsi may be pulling the opposite of a New Coke here. But neither was good enough to stop me from pouring the remainder of both bottles down the sink.

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I've heard the reason soda companies have been experimenting with sugar is because high fructose corn syrup prices have skyrocketed with the diversion of so much of the corn crop to (mandated/subsidized) ethanol production. That it's well timed with a growing public suspicion of HFCS just makes the marketing easier.

I don't drink much pop, but I'd welcome the change for when I do. Actually, it'd be nice to see this switch back to sugar in a variety of food products, not just pop.

I picked up some of the Mountain Dew Throwback and really liked it. Normal MD is a bit too syrupy for me.

I liked Mtn. Dew as a kid, but recall it changing for the worse at one point; I'll try this Dew Throwback as well.

On a tangent--this new term "throwback" for nostalgic stuff is nails-on-the-blackboard to me. Sounds like "throw-up" + "backwash," plus I equate it with the way it was used in my own throwback era--to refer to old-school Jim Crow-ers, etc. I believe this "throwback" term comes from the NFL, which has been dressing up players in old-style jerseys and calling them "throwbacks" (to sell more ugly jerseys, of course). Would be interesting to trace. Anyhow, good post--I'm a Coke man also when the chips come down. I actually took the Pepsi Challenge at a state fair back in the day; did it twice, got different results the two times....

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