Coming Soon: 7Up with new “crisper” formula

It wasn’t that long ago that we were writing about a new “natural” formula for 7Up. It was 2006, in fact. At the time, the folks behind the drink were excited to be “the first mainstream carbonated soft drink brand to address consumer demand for a great tasting lemon-lime soft drink made from 100 percent natural ingredients.” Thus, a new version of 7Up was born.

And we hated it.

7Up (2006 Formulation)

7Up (2006 Formulation)

In our May 2006 review, we noted the following:

Upon opening the new formula, it smelled like good ole 7Up. However, the taste was different. It still was the traditionally “clean” taste associated with this brand, but something else was there as well. I couldn’t quite place it, but it had similarities to Sierra Mist, which in my opinion, was not a good thing. I’m not a big fan of Mist. The aftertaste is different, but I think I liked the older version of 7Up better.

The problem with 7Up was not the formula. The problem was marketing and support from its owners, Cadbury Schweppes [later renamed Dr Pepper Snapple Group]. Hopefully they put some promotional muscle behind this and its sister brand, Dr. Pepper.

We still stand behind those comments. Around the time, 7Up Plus appeared with its horrid flavor extensions (Mixed Berry, Island Fruit, and Cherry). The flavor wasn’t broken. Distribution was lacking, promotion was lacking, “buzz” was lacking. But the flavor was still good.

2006: "Now 100% Natural" vs. 2007: "100% Natural Flavors"

2006: “Now 100% Natural” vs. 2007: “100% Natural Flavors”

Ironically, the “natural” claims of the 2006 reboot of 7Up got Cadbury Schweppes into trouble with the Center for Science in the Public Interest which threatened to sue the company because the “natural” drink still used high fructose corn syrup. 7Up eventually backpedaled on their claims, changing “100% Natural” to “100% Natural Flavors”. They continued this new claim on Pomegranate 7Up and Cherry 7Up Antioxidant.

In any case, it looks like the formula for 7Up is back on the drawing board again. This from The Wall Street Journal:

Dr. Pepper Snapple To Reformulate 7UP; Ad Campaign Planned
May 24, 2010
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–Dr. Pepper Snapple (DPS) is reformulating its 7UP brand, adding new graphics to its packaging and launching new advertising around the brand in a move that could help boost volumes of the drink in the fourth quarter.

In an interview, the company’s chief marketing officer, Jim Trebilcock, said the newly “restaged” 7Up will hit U.S. stores in September and that the company is using technology to give the drink a “crisper” lemon and lime taste. Trebilcock said the relaunch could help raise the brand’s volumes as soon as the fourth quarter.

7Up is a key brand for Dr. Pepper in the U.S. and is the company’s second largest carbonated drink after its namesake Dr. Pepper. “We grew 7Up last year. We wanted to see if we could accelerate it,” said Trebilcock.

So, it looks like we’re getting a “crisp” flavor back to 7Up. Of course, if they just made it with real sugar, that would go pretty far in differentiating this lemon lime from the likes of Pepsi’s Sierra Mist and Coke’s Sprite. It’s not like the idea hasn’t been floated by their competitors (um, Sierra Mist Natural?) Plus, given how 7Up’s market share was about 1% in 2009 vs. Sprite’s dominant 5.5% (per Beverage Digest), it could use a little love.

In any case, it looks like we may see the new 7Up in the fall. I know we’re not alone in curiosity wondering about the new taste!