Pepsi Fire Spices Up Summer Soda Season

If you’ve ever sipped an ice-cold Pepsi and mused about the lack of a spicy cinnamon finish, this story is for you.

Following in the hallowed traditions of limited-edition varieties like Crystal, Mojito and Kona, PepsiCo today announced the launch of Pepsi Fire, a cola spiked with a cinnamon-flavored twist, available nationwide for an eight-week period beginning on May 22.

“Summer is one of the most anticipated times of the year, and Pepsi Fire is going to ignite this season with an unexpected and spicy twist to our classic cola taste,” said Lauren Cohen, director of marketing at Pepsi, in a press release.

Made with natural and artificial cinnamon flavor, Pepsi Fire will be available in 20 oz. bottles and 12-packs of 12 oz. cans at major retailers across the country. The soda, which uses the tagline “Starts Cold, Finishes Hot,” is part of Pepsi’s “Get It While It’s Hot” summer promotion campaign.

A limited edition Pepsi Fire Slurpee frozen drink is also available now exclusively at participating 7-Eleven stores.

For its summer campaign, Pepsi has partnered with social media platform Snapchat on a new promotion it described as “the first of its kind.” From May 22 through July 16, specially marked packs of Pepsi Fire, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Zero Sugar and Pepsi Wild Cherry will contain a “Snapcode” that users can read using Snapchat to unlock exclusive app features, including special lenses, filters and a new Pepsi mobile game.

“We know Pepsi fans love spending time on Snapchat, and we are excited to offer them a chance to Snap their way to one of one-thousand gaming consoles, a trip to Lollapalooza or a ‘Conan’ show meet-and-greet,” Cohen said in a press release.

Pepsi Fire is not the soda giant’s first flirtation with cinnamon: the flavor profile for Pepsi Holiday Spice, a limited-edition variety which sold in the U.S. and Canada in late 2004 and again in the 2006 Christmas season, included hints of the spice.

And while new to the U.S. consumers, Pepsi Fire has appeared in foreign markets including Mexico, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and other countries for some time.

Social media reaction to the soda’s announcement and the now-available Slurpee has ranged from curiosity to outright disgust, with comments frequently noting the concept as a non-alcoholic answer to the popular cinnamon-flavored whisky brand Fireball.

In an on-air report, Alyssa Julya Smith, an anchor for news network Cheddar, categorized the launch as an effort to help consumers forget about Pepsi’s much-ridiculed television ad starring Kendall Jenner, which was subsequently pulled from airwaves.