Return Of Crystal Pepsi Confirmed, But You Can’t Actually Buy It (Yet)

Its_back_CRTA few months ago, the word on the street was that Pepsi was bringing back a carbonated ’90s icon, Crystal Pepsi. The clear-caffeine-free beverage lives in our collective memory a a product that was briefly very popular and then disappeared the following year. Pepsi has announced that the product will come back as part of a giveaway to promote the company’s rewards app, Pepsi Pass.

They plan to give away 13,000 cases to Pepsi Pass users who enter the contest. That’s nice, but what bout people who would prefer to buy their beverages, or who don’t want to download any more apps? That’s the question: Pepsi hasn’t announced whether they plan to actually put the beverage back into production indefinitely.

Crystal Pepsi was surprisingly popular for a brief time. (I remember liking it, but was too young to have developed good taste at the time.) The public enjoyed it for a while, then probably came to realize that a caffeine-free cola that wasn’t brown and that didn’t quite taste like cola made no sense.

At least there was a commercial that aired during the Super Bowl in 1993 that hasn’t aged particularly well, so we can laugh at it.

The inevitable comparison is to Surge, which Coca-Cola brought back in a small batch as an e-commerce experiment last year, selling out within hours and eventually reaching retail store shelves. Surge, at least, was around for six years: long enough to build up a respectable and nostalgic fan base when Coca-Cola brought it back. A special giveaway is one thing, but are there enough people with fond memories of Crystal Pepsi who are willing to exchange actual money for the stuff?

In any case, Pepsi has taken to social media to market to a population that is largely too young to remember the product. The effort did give us this great ad, which tells a great and memorable story: Crystal Pepsi never went away, but simply retreated to a secret floor at Pepsi headquarters where it’s still 1993.

Will the new version taste like the old one? Someone who remembers the original clearly from more than 20 years ago will have to win and let us all know.

CRYSTAL PEPSI RETURNS [YouTube]
CRYSTAL PEPSI FAQ [Pepsi]