Dew Process: PepsiCo Stunt Takes a Pop at Bloomberg’s NYC Soda Ban


In the 1920s and early ‘30s of New York, as Prohibition ruled the land, folks didn’t have to go without a drink. There were speakeasies aplenty back on those days that would be happy to quench your thirst as long as you didn’t mind needing to remember the password, being ready to dump your liquor at the drop of a hat, and having a few extra bucks to help pay off any police that happened by the place.

The folks at Mountain Dew seem to think that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is about to return the Big Apple to those long-gone days if his suggested bill — which could be passed today — winds up restricting consumers from buying sodas that are bigger than 16 ounces goes through. Some call it a gamble; Bloomberg says he’s looking out for the long-term health of his city’s dwellers and visitors.

The whole thing has got Mountain Dew execs and indeed the entire beverage industry agitated — and not because of the caffeine in their beverages, either. The PepsiCo-owned soda brand has teamed up with “cultural production” studio New York Art Department to plaster ads around New York City that say “Prohibition” and feature a 17 ounce, vintage can of Mountain Dew (long before it was abbreviated to Mtn. Dew). To drive the message home, a smaller message quips: “Also available in legal sizes!” 

On a more serious note, New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, an industry coalition backed by the American Beverage Association, says more than 250,000 New Yorkers have signed a petition. While small business and industry lobbying has failed to sway New York City’s Board of Health, which appears poised to pass the ban on Big Soda (update: it passed), you can be sure Bloomberg’s public health watchdog is unhappy with another move Mountain Dew has made as well.[more]

The soda maker is now selling Mountain Dew A.M., a combo of Mountain Dew and Tropicana orange juice, on Taco Bell’s new FirstMeal breakfast menu. PepsiCo will announce another extension of the brand next year that will be sold in stores and includes juice, Mountain Dew Kickstart, the AP notes.

Just be sure not to drink more than 16 ounces of the stuff if you’re having it in New York, unless you’re in one of the new big-soda speakeasies, of course.