Considering the seemingly endless supply of weird beverages and odd soda flavors still available today, it seems hard to believe that the 1980s and ’90s produced so many infamous and (somewhat bizarre) now-discontinued drinks. But sometimes, that’s the way it goes — some horrible sodas continue to be produced for more than a century, while other amazing drinks have a tragically short shelf-life. Others spring up as part of a poorly planned publicity stunt, and then return as a soda “sequel,” as if such a thing were possible.
12. Hi-C Ecto Cooler (1987 – 1997)
Hi-C’s Ecto Cooler was a bright green orange-flavored drink released in 1987 as a product tie-in to the cartoon “The Real Ghostbusters” — and considering that product tie-ins come and go even more frequently than television series, the drink shouldn’t have survived for as long as it did. However, it was so popular that it outlasted the cartoon series by six years, which was canceled in 1991.
By 1997, the Slimer character became completely unrecognizable to a generation of children born well after the cartoon ended. The product was rebranded as “Shoutin’ Orange Tangergreen,” and later as “Crazy Citrus Cooler.” It was discontinued altogether in 2007.
11. Surge (1997 – 2003)
Speaking of bright green beverages, Surge was a glowing, sickly colored neon liquid that was similar to Mountain Dew, but still “truly original and amazing” — at least, according to the online fan club that sprung up in the 2000s, begging the Coca-Cola Company to bring back the precious fizzy sugar water.
Available from 1997 to 2003, Surge was extremely tubular and totally awesome to the max, as evidenced by their TV commercials featuring a bunch of bad ass kids rolling down hills in oil drums and trampling over piss-stained couches in a race to get what appears to be the only remaining bottle of Surge on the planet. I guess those radical dudes really needed to get their daily supply of “carbos,” whatever the hell those are.
In 2005, Coca-Cola introduced a similar soda called Vault, which amazingly contained 50% more caffeine than Surge or Mountain Dew. Vault hung around for six years and was discontinued in 2011.
UPDATE: In September 2014, Coca-Cola announced it would be bringing back Surge to be sold exclusively online via Amazon.com.
10. OK Soda (1993 – 1994)
The Coca-Cola Company basically spent the ’90s desperately pandering to Generations X and Y. Whereas Surge appealed to all the gnarly extreme sports nuts (i.e., teenagers sitting at home playing Doom and Myst) spawned by Dan Cortese, OK Soda was an earlier beverage that humored disillusioned slacker hipsters.
The odd fruit-flavored cola was introduced in 1993 in a variety of urban test markets. It featured can artwork by alternative comics artists Daniel Clowes and Charles Burns, as well as cynical, quirky marketing that poked fun at traditional advertising. The advertising campaign tried too hard and the soda was gross, and the drink vanished after only seven months.
9. Pepsi Blue (2002 – 2004)
Pepsi Blue tasted as bad as it looked — and if you think Mountain Dew is too sweet, be grateful you never experienced this abomination. It was introduced in 2002 and was discontinued in 2004 — except in Indonesia, which has experienced a massive increase in diabetes and obesity in the past decade. Just saying.