Back in April, we were searching the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database, looking for mentions of new beverages that might be appearing.
At the time, we came across the following listings:
Diet Mtn Dew White Flash
Filing Date: December 2, 2008
Published for Opposition: February 24, 2009
Diet Mtn Dew Ultra Violet
Filing Date: December 2, 2008
Published for Opposition: March 3, 2009
Since that time, while White Flash seems to have been a dead end, Diet Mtn Dew Ultra Violet actually became a reality. In the months since that finding, we've tracked the development of this drink, from sightings to package designs to official confirmation. That came on August 5 when PepsiCo issued a press release confirming what we discovered back in April. Every now and then, it's fun to get stuff like this right!
That said, yes, Diet Mtn Dew Ultra Violet has arrived. It's a limited edition flavor extension for Diet Dew, the first "shorttermer" for the brand. Available for 10 weeks, from August 10-October 19, it's available in 20 oz. bottles and 12 oz cans (in both 8- and 12-Pack packaging).
We've seen a lot of Dew flavor extensions in recent years, but this is the first that's just a diet flavor… there's no regular version. Why would the folks at Mountain Dew go that route?
It's no secret that Pepsi's been having a rough go in the marketplace these past couple of years. That's part of the reason they went through a massive rebranding campaign that kicked off last year… including their new logo. Has it worked? Well, the Tropicana redesign was scrapped and reverted back to the pre-redesign look. Gatorade's "G" campaign hasn't really done anything to help sales (The Wall Street Journal reported that "Volume sales of Gatorade for the first six months of this year dropped 17.5%, and market share slipped 4.5%, to about 75% of the sports-drink market."). Mountain Dew rebranded as Mtn Dew, even though the new Mountain Dew Voltage flavor stuck with the old look. Pepsi generated a lot of positive buzz with Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback, only to botch the marketing of those drinks with horrible package design (something they look at fixing in December, but talk about a missed opportunity). Oh, and they fired their head marketing guy.
Which leads us back to Diet Mountain Dew. Despite the fact that things look less than positive for the beverage company, Diet Mountain Dew was the #9 top selling soft drink last year, and among just 2 products in the top 10 that saw growth year-to-year (Diet Dr. Pepper was the other, per Beverage Digest). Thus, it makes sense that PepsiCo should try to grow this brand a little. After all, while there seems to be a zillion regular Dew spinoffs out there, there's only Diet Dew, Caffeine Free Diet Dew, and Diet Dew Code Red for those looking for something with no calories. With this context, it makes sense that Pepsi would start experimenting with diet-only extensions of their Dew brand.
Diet Mountain Dew Ultra Violet — or Diet Mtn Dew UltraViolet, depending on which press release you read in regards to the spelling — comes to us featuring the new "Mtn Dew" logo spelling. The labeling is shiny, with a silver and light purple color scheme embedded in a design that seems like sharp shards of glass/ice in the background. Emphasis on the label is placed on the phrase "Zero Calorie Dew", while the flavor of Ultra Violet is explained as a "Flash of Natural and Artificial Mixed Berry Flavor."
The drink itself is colored light purple, unlike any Dew flavor I've seen before. I can see how the color would be attractive to a female market, though the label design is rather edgy with the revised "Mtn Dew" look. Upon opening the bottle, you are greeted with the standard sweet scent associated with some of the recent Mountain Dew spinoffs… see Voltage, Revolution, Supernova, Alliance Blue, and Horde Red/Game Fuel. You know the smell I'm talking about? The one that has a somewhat berry/cherry element to it, yet hints at way too much syrup? Yeah, that one!
So what does Diet Ultra Violet taste like? To be honest, I found a lot of similarities with the now-defunct DEWmocracy flavor, Mountain Dew Revolution. Sure, the beverage is purple and not light blue like Revolution, but the flavor profiles were close. It's a light berry flavor, not as over-the-top and sweet as the DEWmocracy-winning Voltage drink. It's actually pretty good, and I must admit that I preferred Revolution to Voltage in the DEWmocracy voting, so it was nice to see a bit of that flavor return.
That said, this is a diet drink, after all, so you are expecting that diet aftertaste… and unfortunately, there is no escape from that! Diet Mountain Dew Ultra Violet is sweetened with a combination of aspartame and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K). This is where I include my classic BevReview disclaimer that I'm not a fan of diet drinks, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. That said, Ultra Violet was more than tolerable in this area, which surprised me quite a bit. The decent flavor profile and tolerable aftertaste leads me to believe that this flavor could have longer legs than the limited edition it was launched into. If nothing else, it provides a good bit of variety in the Diet Dew offerings, which as we've previously discussed, is sorely needed.
Diet Mtn Dew Ultra Violet
Carbonated water, citric acid, natural and artificial flavor, potassium benzoate (preserves freshness), potassium citrate, aspartame, pectin, caffeine, gum arabic, acesulfame potassium, brominated vegetable oil, Red 40, Blue 1
This is diet, thus there are 0 calories. In fact, the folks at Pepsi want you to remember that. Over on their Product Facts website, they note that "Diet Mountain Dew Ultra Violet combines the light citrus flavor of Diet Mountain Dew with a refreshing juicy flash of mixed berries without the calories." Sounds tasty when they put it that way, doesn't it?
A 20 oz. bottle contains 0 g of fat, 50 mg. of sodium, and 0 g of carbs. Diet Mtn Dew Ultra Violet breaks down to 4.5 mg/oz of caffeine, the same as original Mountain Dew.
Overall, Diet Mountain Dew Ultra Violet is a rather tasty entry in the Diet Mtn Dew cannon of flavors, hinting strongly at the retired Revolution flavor. The aftertaste is surprisingly tolerable and a good tradeoff for those looking for a zero calorie beverage that still has that caffeine kick associated with Dew.