Pepsi Patio: The little known origin of Diet Pepsi
I was watching the season 3 premier of Mad Men a few weeks ago and one of Sterling-Cooper’s big new clients is Pepsi Cola and a “new” soft drink called Patio (I put new in quotes because the show takes place in 1962-1963). I thought the Mad Men writers were making this soda up because I’d never heard of it before. Naturally, being the soda enthusiast (ie, “dork”) that I am, I had to look it up. Lo and behold, Patio actually existed and was, in fact, released by Pepsi Cola as their first diet soda offering.
Pepsi released Patio in 1963 as a response to Diet Rite cola, which was the very first “diet cola” on the market. In the ’60s, housewives were becoming more and more health and diet conscious so these diet sodas were becoming more and more popular. Patio was Pepsi’s entry into this growth market.
Patio may have the distinction of being one of the worst names for a soda ever. EVER. Could they not come up with a better name? Pepsi Chair? Pepsi Closet? WTF?! The writers of Mad Men even have the characters making fun of the Patio name in the episode. Coca-Cola missed a HUGE opportunity by not releasing a Coke Credenza in 1964.
Patio came in a variety of flavors like Grape, Root Beer, Strawberry and Orange. Click the cans to see a few of the other flavors like Ginger Ale and Tonic Water (not technically a flavor, I know).
Pepsi did not have enough capital to market this soda correctly so it was discontinued within a year. In 1964 the Patio concept was rolled into Diet Pepsi. While the concept remained, a “diet soda” for the ladies, the extra flavors were dropped and only the cola flavor was kept. Here’s what the “just released” 1964 Diet Pepsi can looked like:
And that is the little known genesis of the soda we know as Diet Pepsi. Interesting, because I had no idea Patio even existed.
So see, TV can be educational. If you aren’t watching Mad Men on AMC, I have to ask, “Why not?”
Ok, in other Pepsi news, they’ve released a new flavor extension to Mt Dew. Already out there is Code Red (cherry), Livewire (orange) and Voltage (Raspberry; Supernova and Revolution were discontinued). Mt Dew Code Red is the only one available in regular and diet. Livewire and Voltage are regular only. The new flavor is called UltraViolet and it’s only available in diet. The first and only Mt Dew flavor extension to be offered in only the diet variety. The flavor is the regular Mt Dew citrus combined with a “mixed berry” flavor that reminds me of Mt Dew Revolution.
I liked it at first, but it’s incredibly sweet and I had trouble actually finishing the bottle. Code Red is still my favorite Mt Dew flavor followed closely by Livewire. UltraViolet (so close to UltraViolent, isn’t it?) been out for about a month, so no doubt you’ve seen it out there on the shelves. Actually, I’ve only seen the 20oz bottle, I have not seen it in cans just yet. Give it a try.