Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Pepsi Maximum Challenge

I never had much use for Coca-Cola. I've always found the most popular option suspect, found the taste just "okay," and naturally gravitate away from the bright/red end of the spectrum towards the dark/blue. Meanwhile, while I dug the patriotic cans, second-best option Pepsi always tasted flat and boring. So, for most of my life, I was an unfaithful, alternative drinker (though I had more flings with Mountain Dew than most.)

Well, a man gets older, puts on a few pounds, loses some teeth, and realizes its time to settle down with a nice diet soda. This happened to me about 2 1/2 years ago, but never content to settle, I gave just about every one on the market a spin. What I discovered fairly early on was that Pepsi Max was the one to beat.

Pepsi Max has been available outside the United States since 1993, but key sweetening agent acesulfame potassium kept it off the shelves for years pending FDA approval. Per Wikipedia, "A separate formulation of "Pepsi Max" was introduced in the United States on June 1, 2007 as 'Diet Pepsi Max'. Unlike the international beverage, its ingredient label mentions ginseng, and the drink contains nearly twice the caffeine (46 mg vs. 24 mg per 8 fl oz) compared to Diet Pepsi." Let me tell you, as an alternative to "doing the Dew," the Max was a delightful substitute. It had a bite missing from regular Pepsi and Coke alike, and I felt the difference an "Invigorating Cola." It also had a very subdued, sophisticated logo I was all over. I drank the stuff like life water, and if it's true that aspartame gives brain lesions to lab rats, I will be your perfect first human case study for extreme abuse.

I was extremely disappointed when "diet Pepsi Max" tried to appeal to the beer & hotdogs crowd by switching to a more pointy, extreme logo. It was like Rob Liefeld had taken over art chores on an Alan Moore book, but in pop form. A diet drink for bros, yo! Blessedly, the revamp did not extend to the drink itself, and the new look was swiftly nixed by a line wide revamp.

After years of ugly, overly busy logos, Pepsi went all Eurocentric and riding the Obama wave, simplified their look like crazy. Now simply "pepsi max," it looks like Ikea, but still tastes borderline illegal, and I can totally roll with that... especially if you plaster it all over Kim Kardashian's ass.

And so, I will now take (in truth continue) the Pepsi Maximum Challenge, in which I will compare the Cadillac of diet pop with its many competitors. I do this because I'm obsessive, and because I'd like a different kind a filler post from when I get behind.
Pepsi Natural


Nicholas Ahlhelm said...

So I take it you weren't a fan of Supreme?

Diabolu Frank said...

Supreme the super-hero, or some cola I never heard of?


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