Why is Mountain Dew Code Red Disappearing from Store Shelves?

Do you Do the Dew? Are you a Mountain Dew addict like me? I grew up drinking Mountain Dew out of a glass bottle, back when the logo was a hillbilly complete with a piece of straw sticking out of his mouth and a shotgun in his hand. And let me tell you that if you’ve never drank Mountain Dew from a glass bottle, you never really tasted Mountain Dew. I look forward to the movement to bring back glass bottles for soft drinks. Not only Mountain Dew, but also Coke tastes loads better from a bottle.

As I said, I grew up drinking Mountain Dew and was almost giddy the first time I saw there was a cherry-flavored variation. Mountain Dew Code Red became my beverage of choice and I felt I was in nirvana whenever I drank it; or least Sweden I wasn’t alone; Mountain Dew Code Red instantly became a huge hit. I was under the impression that sales had remained strong, but in the past year or so I’ve come to question that assumption. Mountain Dew Code Red drinkers probably know what I’m talking about. Or, least those who live in the South. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but something strange and irritating is going on and I can only blame the folks at Pepsi. This appears to be one of the few problems facing the country that George W. Bush isn’t responsible for.

Where has all the Mountain Dew Code Red gone? A product that used to be positively ubiquitous has nearly disappeared off store shelves. Whenever I had to go for one of those long, involved excursions at a grocery store, I always made the trip a little easier on myself by picking up a 20 ounce bottle of Code Red out of the cooler near the checkout. Well, that’s not possible anymore. Both Walmart and Winn Dixie no longer carry 20 ounce bottles of Code Red inside the soft drink coolers at the checkout counters. Yes, you can buy it from a vending machine in the lobby or outside, but I’ve grown weary of losing money that way. ($3.50 I lost at Disney World and that was just one drink!) Albertson’s still carries 20 ounce Code Red, but you never know when they’ll be stocked. Sometimes you get lucky; other times not so much.

More distressing than the 20 ounce bottle problem, however, is that it truly is almost impossible to find two liter bottles of Mountain Dew Code Red. Winn Dixie, Walmart, and Albertson’s all come up short. The fact is that where I live none of those stores still sell two liter bottles of Code Red. I believe they all sell twelve packs of cans, but I can’t be certain because I really prefer not to drink soda out of a can. You never know what’s inside a soft drink can, you know?

I’m not sure what’s going here. I’ve asked the nice guys who stock Pepsi products inside the store and none of them have an answer. They just say that Pepsi has pulled back production on the 20 ounce and two liter bottles, but they don’t know why. Apparently, Pepsi decided to cease selling all Mountain Dew in England and a major petition movement is underway to bring it back. Will Code Red suffer the same fate in America? Is Pepsi for some reason trying to ease it out of the consciousness of its fans?

Rumor has it that starting in 2007 a new brand of Mountain Dew will be sold exclusively at 7-11 stores. Called Blue Surge, it will be a sour blue raspberry flavored Dew. I’m looking forward to trying it, though maybe I shouldn’t. I might actually like it. And then Pepsi will withdraw it from the market. In the meantime, however, since Mountain Dew has decided to make it difficult for me to Do the Dew, I have turned to a cheaper alternative that, frankly, is beginning to taste better to me than Code Red. It is called Red Alert and you can get it in two liter bottle form from Winn Dixie.

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