Lately, there has been a lot of talk about Mountain Dew spin-off beverages. Let's recap those we've examined, shall we?
- Mountain Dew Code Red (2001)
- Mountain Dew Blue Shock (2002, 7-Eleven Slurpee flavor)
- Mountain Dew LiveWire (2003, limited/full-time)
- Mountain Dew Baja Blast (2004, Taco Bell exclusive)
- Mountain Dew Pitch Black (2004, limited)
- Mountain Dew Pitch Black II (2005, limited)
- Mountain Dew MDX (2005)
Energy drinks seem to be all the buzz as of late. Coke's Vault is taking aim at Dew by marketing itself as "drinks like a soda, kicks like an energy drink." MDX seems to be a small strike back from Pepsi regarding that product. But even before all this, the Mountain Dew brand was tied to an energy drink back in 2001. That product was "Amp Energy Drink from Mountain Dew."
One of the "scams" of energy drinks, in my opinion, is how they say they are giving you all this energy and stuff, but they do it via a smaller-than-normal can at like twice the price. Case in point: the can of Amp I tested measures 8.4 oz, but cost like $1.20. What's the deal with that?
This product promotes the fact that is has nifty natural additives and stuff like maltodextrin, ginseng, taurine, B vitamins, and guarana. Apparently, all that stuff gives you energy. It would have nothing to do with the fact that Amp has 8.875 mg of caffeine per ounce (vs. the 4.5 mg found in regular Dew).
That said, the packaging is pretty cool. Color scheme is black and Dew green, with a funky Amp logo. I think the main selling point of this product is the addition of the Mountain Dew logo below the Amp logo. You look at that and it's like "oh, so this is from Dew." It sets it apart from the ton of other energy drinks out there. One feature I thought was pretty nifty was the yellowish-green pull tab at the top of the can. Nice touch. The labeling also promotes the official website for the drink, AmpEnergy.com, which at the time I visited offered downloads called "Amp 6 Packs"… basically 6 minute music sets by artists intended for use on college radio.
Upon opening the can, I noticed that this beverage very much smelled like Mountain Dew. And when you drink it, it tastes like Dew… at the start. However, at the end of your tasting, you notice something else there. It's hard to place, but it feels a bit hearty and unique. Tasty and different. Not like a regular soda. Interestingly, even with this different "finish" to the drink, there is a very neutral aftertaste, which was surprising.
Drinking the can (which given the small size, didn't take long), I noticed a distinctive tangy-ness on my tongue, probably associated with all the weird stuff they pumped into this drink. Overall, the taste was Dew-based, but mostly fruity… an interesting fruity, that is. It was nice, not all fake and sugary like you find with so many citrus-like drinks these days. It tasted authentic somewhat.
Overall, I liked Amp. I didn't really notice a big "buzz" from the beverage. I can't really think of a reason why I'd buy it again. It's just too pricey. It will be interesting to see how Mountain Dew MDX factors into the sales picture with Amp. Will it help or hurt sales? Will one replace the other? Are they clearly targeted at different audiences? We shall see!