Pepsi Natural: Well, *Someone* Gets It

Pepsi Natural
This is one of my favorite times of year: the snow is melting, the days get warmer, there’s a hint of freshness to the air… and Coca-Cola made with real sugar returns to the store shelves for a little while, anyway.
But I can’t tell you how surprised I was when I walked into the Dominick’s in Elk Grove Village last night to find a display featuring this neat new product: Pepsi Natural. According to this press release:

Pepsi Natural is made with all-natural ingredients, including lightly sparkling water, natural sugar, natural caramel and kola nut extract. The amber-hued cola gets its color from natural caramel and natural apple extract. From the amount of bubbles to the foam that rises to the top of beverage when it’s poured, Pepsi Natural offers a brand-new cola experience.

Count me in. I bought a four-pack of 12 ounce bottles for $3.99 and popped it in the fridge.
This evening, I opened up a bottle and poured it into a glass, no ice. My verdict: it’s pretty nice. It’s not as sweet as regular Pepsi and comes off “cleaner” at the start. The kola flavor that usually gets buried inside regular PepsI’s (and Coke’s for that matter) formula is prominent at the end. I think it has a nice, subtle taste, not really comparable to Pepsi or Coke.
Will I buy it again? Possibly. Since it doesn’t taste quite as sweet as regular Pepsi I have the feeling this will be a refreshing alternative on a hot summer day.
Pepsi Natural has 150 calories per 12 oz serving and 39g of carbs, just like a regular Pepsi.
Pepsi Natural is available in Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas and New York. It’s part of a campaign called “Refresh Everything” which includes another sugar-formulated Pepsi product called “Pepsi Throwback” and a companion “Mountain Dew Throwback,” which evidently are based on their 60s and 70s heritage. Despite the unfortunate names, I’ll be seeking out the “Throwback” products, which are supposed to be available only for eight weeks beginning April 20. I’ll have a review here when I find them.
I’ve been saying for a long time that Coca-Cola should introduce a premium product made with the original original formula made with sugar (and no, not the recipe with cocaine). They should put it in those 8-oz glass bottles you see especially around Christmas time and charge a premium for the whole thing. They may not make kabillions, but they would certainly goose up the sales of their flagship product. I guess they just wanted to let Pepsi try it first, sort of– Pepsi Throwback will come in a 12-oz can.
I hope someone at Coca-Cola headquarters is paying attention.