New Coke

New Coke

Perhaps one of the darkest days in soft drink history occurred on April 23, 1985, when a true American icon was altered beyond all recognition. Yes, this is the day that Coca-cola announced to the world that it was changing its formula. And for traditionalists, It’s a day that will live in infamy.

Why, you may ask, would the company tamper with one of the most recognized and beloved products in the world? The simple answer is…paranoia. Pepsi was gaining a bigger share of the market and the execs at Coca-Cola got nervous. Thinking that the public would prefer a sweeter soft drink, they replaced good ol’ sucrose with high fructose corn syrup and rolled out New Coke. Beloved television personality Bill Cosby was recruited to introduce a somewhat skeptical public to the “improved” product.

To the portion of the populace who always preferred the sweeter taste of Pepsi, New Coke was right up their alley, or would have been, were they not already Pepsi drinkers. Millions, of course, lined up to sample the new flavor but not everyone was celebratory.

For the many diehard Coke fans out there, this was nothing short of blasphemy and they were livid, especially Southerners, who took great pride in their homegrown soft drink. Negative responses came from everyone from the Chicago Tribune to Fidel Castro, who called the new drink “a sign of American capitalist decadence.” Meanwhile, the folks over at Pepsi couldn’t have been happier:

Within three months, the company realized it had made a serious error in judgment, and on July 10, 1985, they announced the return of the original formula, which would be now know as “Coca-Cola Classic.” The only problem was, it really wasn’t the original formula, as the high fructose corn syrup remained in place of sugar, but was dialed back a notch to reduce the sweetness and make the product closer to how people remembered it.

Today, if you want a better idea of what Coca-Cola originally tasted like, you only need hunt down one of those glass bottles of Coke from Mexico. They still use sucrose south of the border, and one sip will greet you like an old friend, transporting you back in time to the glory days of Coca-Cola. Hopefully, with the recent popularity of “throwback” sodas from Pepsi and Mountain Dew, Coke will eventually jump on the bandwagon and re-introduce a sugared version of their soft drink. When that day comes, Coca-Cola can once again call itself “The Real Thing.”

How well do you remember the introduction of New Coke? Were you a loyalist, appalled that someone would tamper with such an iconic beverage, or were you in the minority that preferred the new flavor? Do you indulge in the Mexican version from time to time, to remember just how good a sugary Coke once tasted? Share your memories of Coca-Cola, both old and new, with all of us in our comments section, as we look back on a tragic day in soft drink history.

5 Responses to “New Coke”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Celeste says:

    This year marked 25 years since the boner of the century and to this day they’re still talking about it. :)

  2. jennifer harris says:

    I can’t remember what it tasted like.

  3. James Hedrick says:

    I remember the New Coke well, it became a sweet tasteless soft drink with no recognizable taste from the Classic version. I think the real reason they tried to introduce a new version was greed. The New Coke had none of the orange and clove flavoring of Classic Coke. The cost or orange oil and other spices had gone up in price. When Coca Cola switched back to Classic Coca Cola they offset their problem by buying Minute Maid, most likely to produce their own orange oil flavoring for the soft drink at a lower or at least fixed cost. I am glad they switched back to the older formula because I had completely stopped buying the crappy New Coke, the CEO most have genetically been a non-taster or an idiot. The next best at the time was RC Cola. Time to enjoy a “Atlanta water” and a smile.


Leave A Comment...