Looking for a unique edge in a weakening soft drink market, PepsiCo Inc. plans to launch a new malt-flavored version of Mountain Dew later this summer, according to Reuters. PepsiCo will initially test Mountain Dew Johnson City Gold at Kroger and 7-Eleven stores in select cities in the Midwest as well as Denver, Colo. and Charlotte, N.C. beginning in late August.
Mountain Dew Johnson City Gold – named after the Tennessee birthplace of Mountain Dew – will have a malt flavor and a “kick of lemon-lime.” The new beverage will retail for approximately $1.49 for a 16 oz. can, about $.50 more than the cost of a similar sized can of Mountain Dew.
PepsiCo spokesperson Andrea Foote told Reuters that the new product is not a foray into the craft soda space, but rather a unique offering for loyal fans of Mountain Dew. Foote noted that while malt-flavored drinks are popular elsewhere in the world, such products have yet to gain much attention in the U.S. However, the tiny subcategory may be gaining some steam. PepsiCo’s introduction of Mountain Dew Johnson City Gold follows Monster Beverage Co.’s launch of Ubermonster, a non-alcoholic energy drink made with a base of fermented malt, earlier this year.