Thursday, May 24, 2007

The return of Vanilla Coke

When I was a kid, cherry Coke was all the rage at soda fountains across the country. I drank to a different beat, getting my local soda jerk to whip up a vanilla Coke for me -- a squirt of the pale yellow vanilla syrup, a long pull on the Coke lever, and instant heaven in a glass.

Thus, I was pleased when Coca-Cola began mass producing Vanilla Coke (at one time also called Coca-Cola Vanilla or just plain V) in 2002, particularly since soda fountains had largely died out and tracking down one of the survivors was a tedious process.

Eventually, Vanilla Coke was distributed in 30 countries. However, because it never really outsold its first-year figures, despite Coca-Cola humbly calling it "the greatest innovation since Diet Coke in 1983," it was phased out in the U.S. and many other markets in 2005.

Luckily for fans of the stuff, it was reintroduced in New Zealand earlier this year and did well. Now, both Coca-Cola Vanilla and a sugar-free version called Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero are being distributed across the U.S.

Welcome back. I feel like a kid again.

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