Pepsi Patio: The little known origin of Diet Pepsi

Sodapalooza

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 Patio(via USASoda.com)

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).

Grape PatioRoot Beer PatioStrawberry PatioOrange Patio

(Via USASoda.com)

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:

1964 Diet Pepsi can

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.

Mt Dew UltraViolet

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.

Other Pepsi articles:
1. Pepsi modifies it’s logo and packaging
2. New Mt Dew flavor decided by the people; And the people are WRONG
3. Gettin’ ready for summer with Pepsi Summer Mix

Advertisements

15 Responses to “Pepsi Patio: The little known origin of Diet Pepsi”

  1. Paul F Peterson Says:

    Wow!!! “Patio” was an actual soft drink??? Mad Man writer Matt Wiener really got me this time. I figured for sure, they made that one up. What a name? What was Pepsi thinking?? Even Ann Margaret herself couldn’t have helped that one!!!

  2. My girlfriend watches that show and i thought Patio was BS to until i googled it lol. Wow what a dumb name for a pop

  3. And if you were a soda drinkier in the mid to late 1960’s you can tell me how Mountain Dew was first marketed. Think, “Yahoo, Mountain Dew”

  4. I still have “Bye bye sugar, hello Patio” in my head since watching that episode!

  5. Seems like you are a true expert. Did you study about the issue? haha..

  6. Patio and Diet Pepsi photos are copyrighted and used without permission.

    • You are right, John. I am sorry about that. I had linked to the cans to your site, but I forgot to put the via credit in the article. I have updated giving you the proper credit for the photos.

      Sorry about that.

      By the way, your site rocks. Keep up the good work. Love the variety and depth of your can collection.

      Pax

  7. i found a patio bottle in a cypress tree lake off of a river that you can only get to in the summer time when the water is down, i didnt know what to think of it and ask everyone , no one had heard of it either but hear it is wow!

  8. Actually the Patio line of other flavors lasted until the late 70’s when it was dropped. I have 2 Patio cans in my collection, one from 1965 or so and another from 1975. Both root beer

  9. phyllis talley Says:

    bring back the ultra violet….it;s the favorite drink for my son…we both have diabetes…we can’t drink sodas with sugar…we fell in love with diet mtn dew ultra violet…are you sure you don’t have some sitting in a warehouse…

  10. There is a drink @ Bojangles called Patio Red Cherry…It is great!

  11. There is a drink @ Bojangles called Patio Red Cherry…It is great! I wish I knew where I could buy some in 2 liters, cans, etc

  12. Have you ever considered creating an e-book or guest authoring on
    other websites? I have a blog based on the same topics you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my audience would value your work. If you are even remotely interested,
    feel free to send me an email.

  13. Patio also had the best cherry soda ever, I’ve looked for a replacement since I was a kid. Apparently it can still be found in some Bojangle’s chain restaurants, but there are none near me 😦

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: