Top 12 Discontinued Sodas and Soft Drinks From the 1980s, 1990s, and Early 2000s

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

4. Jolt Cola (1985 – 2009)

Before the United States became a nation of sleepwalking zombies in need of a beverage market completely saturated with energy drinks, Jolt Cola burst forth proudly proclaiming that it contained “all the sugar and twice the caffeine.”

Though it became a pop culture phenomenon — appearing in Jurassic Park and Gremlins 2, receiving mention in Wayne’s World 2, and inspiring both Buzz Cola (“The Simpsons”) and Volt Cola (“Beavis and Butt-Head”) — the company faced hard times in the 2000s. After its parent company filed bankruptcy in 2009, Jolt Cola essentially morphed into an energy drink with the creative moniker “Jolt Energy.”

Jolt Cola

3. Josta (1995 – 1999)

While Jolt was merely a highly caffeinated cola, Josta was the first legitimate energy drink marketed in the United States. Introduced in 1995, Josta included not only caffeine in its recipe, but also guarana. It became significantly popular but was nevertheless discontinued by PepsiCo after only four years. Oddly, though guarana beverages are extremely popular in Brazil and other South American countries, no guarana sodas have ever taken off in the U.S.

Josta

2. Crystal Pepsi (1993 – 1994)

In 1993, PepsiCo, thinking that health-conscious consumers would equate “clarity” with “purity,” determined that a see-through caffeine-free cola drink would be the next big thing. It was not.

Despite a massive advertising push that included the beverage’s first television commercial airing during the 1993 Super Bowl, the drink did not catch on and vanished within a year. The imitators it spawned — Tab Clear and 7up Ice Cola (released in non-US markets) — lasted longer than Crystal Pepsi.

Pepsi has introduced plenty of failed products — such as the Pepsi “Wild Bunch,” Pepsi AM, and Diet Pepsi Jazz — but next to “New Coke,” Crystal Pepsi may be the biggest soft drink flop in history. However, while the Coca-Cola Company was able to simply reintroduce its original formula as “Coca-Cola Classic” (and thus reap the financial rewards), Pepsi likely saw no upside to this beverage bust.

Crystal Pepsi

1. Orbitz (1997)

By 1997, the World Wide Web was taking off. Many high schools and universities offered online access to students, and nearly 40 percent of all US homes had a computer. As private users flocked to the internet, brands and marketers scrambled to become a part of it. The future was here, and it was online — so why not create a futuristic drink that celebrated this medium of communication?

Orbitz was that space-age drink. Created by Clearly Canadian, it was advertised as originating on Planet Orbitz — “Prepare to embark on a tour into the bowels of the Orbiterium,” stated one ad — and it was marketed as a “texturally enhanced alternative beverage.” Really, it was just a fruity, transparent soda filled with suspended edible balls. The experience was like drinking fizzy bubble tea from a tiny lava lamp.

While it was certainly odd that the balls didn’t sink (no matter how hard you shook the bottle), the drink itself wasn’t terribly remarkable. However, what was significant about Orbitz was that the beverage’s official website, Orbitz.com, was prominently displayed on the cap and label. It was cheesy and set in some Epcot Center reject font, but it marked perhaps the first time a major snack or soft drink manufacturer emphasized its online presence and tried to utilize the Web as its main avenue of marketing.

I liked the stuff, but then I’ve always liked tapioca (and I loved Clearly Canadian), so the texture didn’t really bother me at all. But the public-at-large seemed to disagree, and the soda was gone within a year. The website, however, lives on as one of the world’s largest online travel agencies.

Orbitz soda


Click here for the Top 10 Best Discontinued Foods From the 1980s and ’90s

  • Matt

    Want SURGE to return? It’s going to happen– Join the Movement! http://www.facebook.com/surgemovement

    • Eighties Dude

      It happened! Too bad they screwed up and only sold it on Amazon :( For way too much.

      • Matt

        Coke has only sold it on Amazon for the MSRP $14 price. That’s a little over a dollar per 16 oz can. However, the retail price on Amazon is only accessible through Prime Pantry right now which requires an Amazon Prime account. This isn’t an ideal situation as we have posted in detail, but it is something we support because SURGE revival is still progressing and it offers another form of accessibility. Here is the link to SURGE on Prime Pantry: http://www.amazon.com/surge?tag=surge-movement-20

        That is not the exciting news though– be checking into the SURGE Movement on Facebook today. We are about to announce a huge update.

        Source: I’m one of three SURGE Movement admins and have literally worked my ass off on this every day.

  • Join the SURGE Movement on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/surgemovement Help us get SURGE back on the market!

    • Benjamin Eugene NElson

      I”m diabetic, sorry.

      • Sergio Arroyo

        not our fault

        • TokenMixedGirl

          I shouldn’t have laughed at that as hard as I did. It was involuntary.

    • Eighties Dude

      It worked!

    • Duncan Fisher

      I’m in Norway, and it never went off the markets here ;) Hope it comes back in the U.S.!

  • noidddd

    Jolt Cola still exists.

  • aj

    I want vanilla coke back on the market. Sucks it was just a limited edition thing.

  • Sondra

    I don’t care what this thing says I loved Crystal Pepsi! I was crazy I found this because we were just talking about it and Jolt last week!!!

  • Craig Simoes

    just refreshing http://www.surgesoda.com waiting for it to come back in stock!

  • Brandon Burns

    How dare you spout your ill tongue and disease the amazing name of Pepsi Blue!

  • adfasfsdfa

    Shut up

  • Jessica

    hey I was little kid in the late 90’s! I remember Pepsi blue’., grrr not avail in U.S. nor is M&MS crisp’., bunch of stinkers’., Nestel chocolate balls.., miss them I was a little eating’., them 3-5 years old., man wish they ‘d be a come back Nestle chocolate bar’., again I was a 2000’s kid!! yes I remember some things coming out when I was preschool-1st grade’.,

  • Tom Jefferson

    Qurist!

  • Insaneindamembwane

    I miss Pineapple Slice soda.

  • Insaneindamembwane

    You forgot New York Seltzer soda. God those were good.

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