A Retro Soda Returns and Brings Memories Back With It

By October 19, 2014
  5

When you really think about the past, what comes to mind? Some meaningful event, or an accomplishment that you made? Something you saw that’ll stick with you for the rest of your life?

What about a smell?

This past weekend, it was a smell that took me way back to the late 1990s. I picked up one of these new, 16 oz. “tall boy” cans and popped the top, and placed my nose against the top, closed my eyes, and inhaled slowly. All of a sudden, I was transported back to Christmas day of 1998. My brother and I had just received perhaps the best Christmas gift we’d ever had, a Nintendo 64, and we were feverishly playing against each other in the awesome pro wrestling video game WCW/nWo Revenge. Late into the night we played, amazed at the fact that we had a game system with 3D graphics in our house, and we were drinking this green, caffeine-filled citrus soda as we joyfully hit each other in the game with chairs, DDTs, and Scorpion Death Drops. I remember my 5th grade self thinking: “Nintendo 64 is the FUTURE.

Then, I opened my eyes. I was back in 2014, and I was back in my apartment looking down at the vibrantly green can that I had just opened. I raised it to my lips and took a sip, and almost just as quickly I was transported to another late 1990s memory again. It’s kind of amazing how taste and smell can so quickly take you back, but when a soda you and your friends loved as a kid has been discontinued for at least the past ten years and makes a sudden, unexpected return. That’s the case with Surge, a soda that was originally planned as a “Mountain Dew Killer” by the Coca-Cola Company, which has been resurrected due to popular demand from the efforts of a Facebook movement designed to restart manufacturing of the drink.

It's a little greener than I remember, but that smell and taste totally takes me back to a time when grunge style and boy bands ruled the Earth.

It’s a little greener than I remember, but that smell and taste totally takes me back to a time when grunge style and boy bands ruled the Earth.

When it first appeared in the late 1990’s, Surge was marketed as an “extreme” drink, and is very much a product of it’s time. The screaming green and red label on the front looks like it was designed to try and capture the overtly rebellious, grungy zeitgeist that seemed to dominate the 90’s, but the label also doesn’t exactly look like it’s out of place today. The reappearance (or reSURGEnce, if you will) of the drink is just the latest small example of how social media can directly influence people and organizations, but beyond that, the re-manufacturing of Surge on this small level also makes for an interesting question: is there a place for things like this today?

I think so. Surge was a drink that attached to a niche pretty quickly, and it was a pretty common sight back in its heyday to see a few empty cans (and maybe a few full ones) in front of people feverishly playing their N64s or original PlayStations. It’s return could easily fill kind of a void left first by its discontinuation, and that seems like a lot of fun.

It still tastes the same, which should be great news for people that loved it during its initial run, and its high sugar and caffeine content now being delivered in a tall boy can will likely give you a moment of hyperactivity that may or may not be good for you. People are aware now, more than ever, about the dangers of too much sugar consumption, and a lot of people have sworn off sodas, which I can both understand and respect. If you’re a fan of the old drink, though, and want to smell that smell and taste that taste once again, or if you like an occasional soda and haven’t ever had the opportunity to try it, then maybe seek it out.

Trust my 11-year old self: “it’s radical.”

The following two tabs change content below.
Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.