Pepsi blurs boundaries with new coffee-cola drink

It looks like PepsiCo could beat its rival Coca-Cola to market with a new coffee-cola drink. Pepsi is trying to perk up its soda sales with Pepsi Café. The coffee-cola drink includes roasted Arabica coffee and has nearly twice the caffeine as regular Pepsi.

The drink, which hits stores in April, comes in two varieties: original and vanilla. It will be distributed nationally, but PepsiCo has not finalized advertising plans. Coke’s version, Coke Plus Coffee, will be available in international markets, however, they haven’t announced a US launch despite months of speculation. The reintroduction of coffee-cola drinks comes as North American soda consumption continues to decline annually. But Pepsi and Coke are betting that consumers would still like an afternoon pick-me-up that combines the taste and carbonation of soda with coffee flavours.

Pepsi Café

“We know that the consumers today are looking for products that meet the needs of energy, indulgence, and refreshment during that afternoon pick-me-up occasion. At Pepsi, we’ve known the potential of blending cola and coffee for years and after striking the perfect balance, we cannot wait to introduce Pepsi Café to the US,” Todd Kaplan, VP of marketing for Pepsi, said in a press release.

Continuing to blur boundaries

Pepsi Café continues a trend of blurring boundaries in the beverage industry. Earlier last year the company experimented with “Pepsi Sparkling Rosé,” a zero-calorie, rosé-flavoured cola created exclusively for BravoCon. It’s worth noting, however, that this isn’t the brand’s first shot at a coffee-cola drink. In 1996 the brand sold “Pepsi Kona,” which was backed with an ad starring Tom Jones. Pepsi said that short-lived drink was “ahead of its time,” and alluded to the current trend of ready-to-drink iced coffee products as evidence that consumers are ready for Pepsi Café. 

What are your thoughts on this highly-caffeinated coffee-cola drink? Is it something you might be interested in?