Lots o’ Soda: Diet Sun Drop

Though this may be on the verge of changing — Dr. Pepper, having owned the brand for a while, is starting to ramp up its marketing and distribution and use it as a competitor of Mountain Dew — but Sun Drop is a valuable lesson in the risks of underselling.  First developed in the ’30s in St. Louis, it developed a loyal following all up and down the Mississippi River, especially in the deep South and Minnesota.  On first gulp, it’s a little lighter and less sweet than Mountain Dew, but with a distinctive flavor that comes from the presence, albeit in minuscule amounts, of orange juice.  It’s also got massive amounts of caffeine — far more than Dew, which is famous for its get-you-hopped-up factor.  Even better for fat slugs like me, the diet version contains even more caf than the regular dose:  the sports-drink abomination known as Vault is the only American soda that has more caffeine content than Diet Sun Drop.  Curiously, neither the jolly ol’ OJ content (and the concomitant bogus claims of healthfulness it would allow them to make) nor the nearly coffee-esque levels of caffeine are used as selling points by the manufacturers.  Instead, they seem to be going for a more or less generic eXXXtreme-soda-eXXXperience, of the sort that could be stuck carelessly onto any citrus soda.  Why they don’t take advantage of not one, but two, fairly unique selling points is beyond me, but hey, I just drink the stuff.  I should give their marketing department free advice?

2 SHOTS LICKED so far.

  1. Robert
    02/22/2011 at 7:48 AM

    Regular Sun Drop is excellent. What’s odd, though, is that the canned and PET bottled versions maintain high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener, while the glass bottles use sugar. (Side note to mention that we now live in a time where “real sugar” is used as a selling point. The snake has eaten its tail.) This is another thing that the Sun Drop people do not use to their advantage. They should, especially since Mountain Dew “Throwback” has been successful for Pepsi, and it includes both the Orange Juice and actual sugar with which Mountain Dew was originally made.

    I like how you can see actual orange pulp floating around in the Sun Drop bottles. I can, of course, only speak about the regular version because I’ll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I willingly consume a diet soda, but it takes all kinds to make a world…

  2. Christina F
    10/19/2011 at 10:29 PM

    There is some marketing afoot, although not particularly astute. They had a special fridge just for the Sun Drop on the Real World Las Vegas. I don’t know why I know that! Probably something someone scribbled in the used copy of The Archaeology of Knowledge I picked up recently.

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