Review: Sprite Cranberry

Sprite Cranberry is the first flavor extension for the brand in a long time. This beverage follows in the footsteps of the famed Remix releases (2003-2005). Unlike PepsiCo’s Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash, which has been a limited edition flavor for the past 8 years, Sprite Cranberry is clear, retaining the look of the core brand.

Sprite Cranberry

Sprite Cranberry

Sprite last experimented with flavors in the early 2000s, first with Sprite Remix Tropical in 2003, then Sprite Remix Berryclear in 2004 and finally Sprite Remix Aruba Jam in 2005. However, since then, we haven’t seen much flavor innovation in the brand, other than a jump into the “Zero” category, as well as some Stevia experiments with Sprite Green and Sprite Select.

Why Coke decided now was a good time for a Sprite holiday flavor is behind me, though they may have been looking at sales of competitive flavors, such as Cranberry Splash, as well as Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s Pomegranate 7Up and 7Up Mixed Berry. Most likely, sales of these products, like those of flavored ginger ales, increase around the holidays due to their use as mixers for alcoholic drinks.  It also is a good way to deploy a new zero calorie flavor, given the limited options available.

Sprite Cranberry was announced in October, though I’ve had a hard time finding it here in the Chicago area. It’s being released in 2-liters (for both regular and Zero), 12 oz cans (for both regular and Zero), and 20 oz bottles (for regular only), but distribution seems pretty limited for areas beyond grocery stores. On top of that, given the clear appearance, it’s actually hard to identify unless you are going out of your way to look for the red label.

As far as appearance, Sprite Cranberry comes packaged in the same look/feel as traditional Sprite, including the iconic-shaped PET bottles. It’s a clear beverage, so it looks like every other Sprite drink you’ve seen on the market. There’s a lemon-lime scent present, accented with a fruity berry element. Carbonation is strong, resulting in a high “burp factor.”

The flavor itself is surprisingly light, with a small cranberry accent present, mostly in the aftertaste. This drink is primarily a Sprite, with subtle flavor added, much like the other Sprite Remix flavors of the past. The flavor does stick with you, however, in a syrupy way, given that high fructose corn syrup is used in the full-calorie version (vs. “real sugar” in Sierra Mist’s rendition of the cranberry taste).

Sprite Cranberry is a good short-term beverage, though it’s mostly vanilla in its execution. While a festive novelty flavor, there’s nothing too exciting about it. It’s Sprite with a little berry flavor. End of story. I applaud Coke for bringing some taste extensions back to the brand, and hope this isn’t the last we see of them.

Sprite Cranberry
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavors, citric acid, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate (to protect taste).

A 12 oz serving contains 150 calories, 65 mg sodium, and 39 g carbs (39 g sugars). Caffeine free.