Pepsi Just Launched Starry To Replace Sierra Mist

Sierra Mist is pretty young to be retiring. But the 24-year-old soda has been permanently removed from shelves by parent brand PepsiCo, per Today. Apparently, since its launch in 1999, Sierra Mist has failed to gain sufficient headway against lemon-lime soda giant Sprite. That's not surprising considering Sprite carries more than 8% of the retail soda market. The real difference between 7Up and Sprite is sales — Sprite carried $6 billion in sales in 2021 alone. All three lemon-lime flavored sodas ranked among the top 10 most popular sodas in the U.S. in 2021, according to Newsweek, but 7Up and Sierra Mist fell behind in sales. 7Up cleared less than a billion and Sierra Mist, which came in as the 8th most popular soda nationwide, only cleared $1 billion in sales. While those numbers don't sound too bad, apparently the brand's share of the market was only one-tenth of 1% and had been on the decline over the past five years, per CNN.

PepsiCo tried rebranding the drink in 2016 as Mist Twist. However, this just served to confuse those consumers who were loyal to the brand. Many, saw it as interchangeable with Sprite. And PepsiCo has leaned into that angle with their new product, which will be closer to Sprite in flavor.

Introducing Starry

PepsiCo's new gamble for a share of the crowded lemon-lime soda market is a product it's calling Starry, per CNN. The new lemon-lime soda comes in a perky, Instagram-ready Gen-Z green can, per Allure. It's also trying to court Gen-Z drinkers with plans to market the beverage on TikTok, as well as a slogan that borrows from internet slang: "Starry Hits Different." The brand's additionally counting on the younger demographic's tendency to reach for something new rather than the observed standards, hoping to make a splash with younger drinkers.

The new formula will supposedly have "higher citrus flavors that are true to fruit and more aromatic which delivers a more balanced, cleaner, crisp finish than Sierra Mist" (via Today). The new soda from Pepsi launched on January 11, 2023. The soda is caffeine free and available in a regular and a zero sugar variety. Apparently, market research performed by PepsiCo showed that "demand for lemon lime flavored soda has never been greater" (via KTLA). We'll see.