Review: Sun Drop

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.

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!


  1. Sun Drop, instead of being a "clone" of Mt. Dew or Vault, actually is the first citrus beverage of its kind, developed and introduced in 1949. Mt. Dew was not introduced until 1964, and Vault in 2006.

  2. I've lived in North Carolina all my life and plan to keep it that way–unless they stop selling SunDrop here. :-)

    Also, try to get your hands on a glass-bottled SunDrop if you can. They're made with sugar instead of corn syrup and taste even better.

  3. I grew up drinking SunDrop here in North Carolina there isn't a better citrus beverage made. I will be moving to DC soon and was hopping to find a way to enjoy SunDrop with out having to drive 6 to 8 hours to buy it. If you get a chance to try it glass bottles or cans are best!

  4. Oh, Sun Drop. My beverage of choice my entire life. In fact, I'm sipping a Diet Sun Drop at my desk as I type.

    I'm glad to see someone has pointed out that it's not a clone – SD goes way back. They used to bill it as the "golden girl cola" which amuses me greatly.

    Anyway, SD didn't originate in NC but its availability seems centered on here; it's most widely available in the western part of the state. Although everywhere I've moved in the state I've lobbied to get it carried in stores and it seems to take off. It's like missionary work.

    If you go too far up or down the coast you can't find it; I had a friend who lived in DC for a while and she'd have to make SD runs back to NC to fill her trunk with soda. When I go to Florida I have to take a week's supply in a cooler. Weirdly, though, I once found some in a gas station in rural Indiana. The people who worked there had never seen it, and it wasn't in their cash register computer. I figured it was a Sun Drop miracle.

    What's funny is that you mention the graphics but that *is* the relatively new packaging. When Cadbury Schweppes took it over they kinda slowly started to transition Sun Drop into their generic style of packaging.

    So, yay Sun Drop. For those who are curious, you can order it online here:

    And no, I'm not on the payroll. :)

  5. I just went to text message someone and it occurred to me that the wallpaper on my cell phone is of bottles of Sun Drop hahaha…

  6. We sell the glass bottled variety of Sun Drop at the Old 52 General Store in Sabin, MN and online. I have never had the plastic bottled version, but I can say that the glass bottled version is one of my favorite drinks. Yes, I do work for Old 52, but I do NOT get free soda from them, yet I find myself bringing home Sun Drop all the time…

    Visually speaking, the glass bottled Sun Drop is also much better looking than the plastic bottled one in the above picture.

  7. Do note that the actual taste of Sun Drop will vary in regards to where it's bottled. If bottled in the southeast, it usually has "pulp" in the bottom and tastes like it should. I have had Sun Drop from a bottler in IL, and it tasted almost soapy. Nothing like an AL or NC bottled Sun Drop.

  8. Rob Abernethy says:

    Sundrop goes nationwide in February, with heavy promotions by Wal-Mart and MTV.

  9. It appears Sun Drop's nationwide rollout is in full swing as I just picked up my first 20oz bottle at a local Walgreens here in South San Francisco, Ca. I actually bought it because I'd never seen or heard of Sun Drop before. I like it, definitely has more of a citrus flavor than Mountain Dew. Now if I could only find it with sugar instead of HFCS.

  10. Sundrop has long been the popular soft drink in southern middle Tennessee and there has long been a Sundrop bottling and distributing company in Tullahoma. Recently is is now available in Florida.

  11. SunDrop is mother's milk here in Southeastern NC where I live. In fact, it's probably in a lot of babies' bottles (cringe). That being said, it is unquestionably good how it is made here, don't know about other bottlers. The most citrusy, effervescent goodness you can buy. I too am glad to see someone make it clear that our beloved SunDrop is no clone either. God bless the King family for bringing it here. Drink on fellow fans!

  12. alleyrulez says:

    this stuff is all over the place now, I LOVE IT!

  13. Yeah, seeing it in Central IL now at Wal-Mart. It has Dr. Pepper/7-UP on the box as distributors. Tastes a lot like Mellow Yellow.

  14. Bob Kale says:

    Found it out here in Sahaurita, Arizona at my Fry's Foods…was curious about as I never seen it before…I may try a 12 pack now!

  15. traysay says:

    i thought it had a horrible after taste… like… really bad… lol..

  16. Sun Drop Kid says:

    "I found the drink to be pleasantly surprising and the flavor to be mildly arousing to my taste bud. The color and consistency of the drink was similar to Mountain Dew but the flavor took me for a ride that was truly unexpected. I had to drink a second can to confirm the deliciousness of the drink and found it was even smoother and more tingly going down the second time. As far as citrus based drinks go, this drink has moved into my the top slot in my life and I consider it to be top shelf!"

  17. Sun Drop tastes like the love child of Mountain Dew and Squirt, and is a very delectable drink. Because of the grapefruity undertones, I don't think of it as a Mountain Dew clone. It is similar, but distinct.

    It has a great bite going down, I just can't sip it. If I really try to hold make and make a 20-ounce Sun Drop last, I can't get much more than 15 minutes out of a bottle. Typically, I suck one down in five minutes or less and the 12-ounce cans? The crack of the pop-tab has barely stopped reverberating in the air by the time the can is empty!

    Sun Drop Diet is very good, too. It doesn't taste too "diety," unlike diet Mountain Dew (which tastes like a lawn-chemical cocktail, to me.)

    I tasted it years ago, don't know where, and liked it. I am glad now it is available in every grocery and convenience store in St. Louis. (Love to see what it tastes like from the restaurant fountain, but fat chance of that happening.)

  18. How can you call it a clone when it was introduced over a decade before my dew?

  19. Ok i dont get it i was liveing in nc most of my life and now in ky we have sundrop but no cherry lemon sundrop plzzzzzzz i need it lol

  20. Sundrop, Being from the South I waited 11 years for Sundrop to show up out here in CCalifornia. Well it finally did and now Ralph's is discontinuing it. I just want to cry!

  21. sun drop is the best and squirt is reaaly good to its hard to tell


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