“All the sugar and twice the caffeine.”
While most soda companies tend to downplay their caffeine content, a new product popped up in the 80s that not only didn’t shy away from mentioning the chemical, but proudly touted its enormous quantities on the side of every can. Jolt was a cola with a purpose, offering twice the stimulation for anyone who looked to soda for a quick pick-me-up.
Jolt was first manufactured in Rochester, NY, the creation of C. J. Rapp. Upon its introduction in 1985, it received significant media attention and, as a result, flew off of store shelves. The company shrewdly aimed their marketing at the college crowd, who could always use a little extra bit of alertness for those late night study sessions, and the strategy worked. It also benefited from some significant product placement in 1993, when the product was prominently featured in such popular films as Jurassic Park, Hackers, Men at Work, Deep Impact and Wayne’s World 2.
The Jolt Cola Company eventually changed its name to Wet Planet Beverages and began diversifying its product line to include a wide variety of Energy Drinks. They introduced a whole new spectrum of flavors, licensed their name to a line of chewing gum, and started offering smaller cans of the product to compete with the uber-successful Red Bull craze. Today, unless you live in California, your chances of finding an actual Jolt Cola are slim, although the line of Jolt energy drinks are still sold worldwide, including the “Power Cola” flavor. Still, these aren’t the same as the original soda, which actually wasn’t a bad tasting soft drink.
If your late-night study sessions were fortified with a can or two of Jolt, or if you bought a can just to see what all the ruckus was about, we’d love to hear your memories in our comments section. Tell us what you remember about this infamous soda from the 80s that everyone was talking about.