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Sun Drop, also marketed as Sundrop, is a citrus-flavored soda produced by Cheerwine. It has a yellowish-green color imparted by Tartrazine. Among soft drinks, it is known for its high caffeine content (63 mg per 12 oz can, 9 mg higher than a 12 oz can of Mountain Dew, but not as much as Vault with 70.5 mg per 12 oz can). Orange juice is an ingredient in the drink, and remaining pulp matter from the orange juice provides some of the soft drink's taste and appearance.
Sun Drop was developed in Missouri, by Charles Lazier, a salesman of beverage concentrates. While riding around town in the family car, Lazier quickly scribbled a recipe for a new soft drink on a small piece of paper which he handed to his son, Charles Jr. The younger Lazier worked as a lab technician at his father’s plant, and soon began work on the formula. Two years later, Sun Drop Cola debuted at the American Bottlers of Carbonated Beverages Conference in Washington, D.C. The Sun Drop formula was patented on April 15, 1930.
The drink was marketed in several Southern states under names such as "Sundrop Golden Cola" or "Golden Girl Cola." The brand was acquired and standardized by Crush International in 1970. Crush International was purchased by Procter & Gamble in 1980, which sold its soft drinks holdings to Cadbury Schweppes plc in 1989. Cadbury Schweppes plc demerged in 2008, with its beverages unit becoming Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which currently produces Sun Drop.
Prior to the sale to Cadbury Schweppes, Procter & Gamble introduced several new Sun Drop flavors in 1985, including a reformulated Diet Sun Drop brand using aspartame instead of saccharin. A third brand, Cherry-Lemon Sun Drop, was introduced that same year. In February 2002, the brand introduced Caffeine-Free Sun Drop to the portfolio after the company received numerous requests from loyal consumers for a caffeine-free version of their favorite citrus soft drink. A diet variant of Cherry Lemon Sun Drop was introduced 2014.
Sun Drop has maintained popularity in many parts of the southern United States, especially in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and parts of the Midwest, including Wisconsin and western Minnesota. Similar to other regional drinks with a cult following, fans outside bottling areas have been known to pay large amounts to have the drink shipped to them. Families have sent it to U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
Sun Drop is the official drink of the nationally recognized "Fancy Farm Picnic" in Fancy Farm, Kentucky.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group distributed Sun Drop nationwide beginning in 2011, with a new campaign that features an updated web site, a Facebook page, and a promotional deal with MTV. The Sun Drop marketing plan is a component of Dr Pepper Snapple's efforts to expand its non-cola soda sales and is targeting drinkers of PepsiCo's Mountain Dew brand of soft drinks in the United States. Sun Drop's expansion occurred several months after Coca-Cola brought its high-caffeine citrus drink Mello Yello nationwide.
Dr Pepper Snapple entered into an agreement with MTV's marketing agency, Scratch. Scratch will develop new Sun Drop advertising and branding, including a new design for the can. MTV will also feature Sun Drop in programming, including on its reality series The Real World.[when?]
There are six varieties of the drink:
- Sun Drop (green can/label, 63 mg caffeine per 12 fl oz can; 105 mg caffeine per 20 fl oz bottle)
- Diet Sun Drop (white can/label, 68 mg caffeine per 12 fl oz can; 114 mg caffeine per 20 fl oz bottle)
- Caffeine-Free Sun Drop
- Caffeine-Free Diet Sun Drop
- Cherry Lemon Sundrop (64 mg caffeine)
- Diet Cherry Lemon Sundrop
Sun Drop that is bottled in glass bottles is typically sweetened with sugar instead of corn syrup, providing a slightly different taste.
- The Caffeine Database, retrieved 2009-02-20
- "History". Retrieved 2010-05-15.
- "Sun Drop". Beveragesdirect.com. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
- "Sundrop". Retrieved 2009-11-28.
- Bauerlein, Valerie (2010-12-09), "Bigger Splash Planned for a Niche Citrus Soda", The Wall Street Journal, retrieved 2011-01-11
- Wineka, Mark (2016-12-01). "Cheerwine buys Sundrop Bottling of Concord". Salisbury Post.
- "Sun Drop". Retrieved 2012-02-03.
- "Vanishing WIsconsin - Returns keep bottlers afloat". Retrieved 2010-10-01.