During a recent road trip that my wife and I took along the East Coast, we were able to experience a number of beverage brands and flavors that don’t really have distribution here in the Chicago area. One of those was Tropicana Twister Soda Grape. Another was the highly-caffeinated citrus beverage, Sun Drop.
A Cadbury Schweppes brand, Sun Drop is pretty much their version of Pepsi’s Mountain Dew or Coke’s Vault. The biggest difference is the caffeine count found in the drink. Sun Drop has 5.25 mg of caffeine per ounce, which higher than Mountain Dew’s 4.58 mg/oz, but not as much as Vault’s 5.83 mg/oz.
The drink looks and smells much like Mountain Dew. It’s shelved in a green-tinted bottle, with the beverage itself being yellowish in color. The flavor, however, is much sweeter and “edgier” than either Dew or Vault. This might be associated with the inclusion of orange juice concentrate as part of the ingredients. Carbonation was high, creating a very “bubbly” drinking experience, producing a high burp factor.
Even though Sun Drop is made by the #3 producer of soft drinks in the U.S., it’s very regionalized in its availability. It’s often found in the Carolinas, which is where we found our bottle. According to Wikipedia, it call also be found in “the Jackson Purchase area of western Kentucky, south-central and northeastern Wisconsin, the Tennessee Valley, Rolla, Missouri area, and west central Minnesota.”
I found the drink very enjoyable with a good taste. The flavor was pretty much what you would expect from a Dew/Vault clone, however the aftertaste contained more of a citrus flavor, emphasized by a distinct syrupy-influence. Sun Drop is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and a 20 oz. bottle will run you 325 calories.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing this beverage more available across the country. It could definitely use a graphics improvement and a modernizing of the logo, but I think it would do pretty well. I really wonder why Cadbury Schweppes has not enhanced the exposure of this brand. It’s pretty good!