My dear readers, today I got a literal taste of nostalgia. While rummaging through a friend’s storage area in what would be a forlorn attempt to clean it out, I stumbled upon a can that literally contained much of my childhood in a can: Surge soda. Though long drained of its sugary carbonated contents – and frankly, even if it hadn’t been, I’d be more than wary of drinking a can of pop almost as old as my younger sibling – it proved more than enough to distract both myself and the group of friends helping clean to forget about the task at hand for what would become an hour-long nostalgia bender. For those of you that remember Surge, I’m sure we’re not the only ones at this point.
For those of you who don’t remember, Surge was a soda sold by Coca-Cola in the mid nineties in an attempt to compete with Pepsi’s Mountain Dew. Though it of course failed in this endeavor, it was more than adept at carving its own niche as a soda, notable for its sharp lime taste, dark green coloring, high sugar and caffeine content, and it’s marketing campaign, it had become a staple with many people prior to its 2003 cancellation, issued by Coca-Cola because of the perceived failure of the drink to make a dent in Mountain Dew.
Part of the reason I would reckon the drink is as remembered and iconic today is that for the people who grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s like myself, this was the soda that defined a generation much like New Coke or Crystal Pepsi had the generation prior, with more than a few hundred ADHD misdiagnoses coming from this one soda alone I’d wager. Like so many other products of the 1990s, it would be marketed with an ‘extreme’ edge, even being one of the original sponsors of the X-Games – after all, what soda could define the generation that briefly pretended skateboarding was cool than the soda so caffeinated that it branded itself as ‘The Fully Loaded Citrus Soda’.
Of course, much like the X-Games and various ‘extreme’ 90s fads, around the early 2000s, the popularity began to wane, ending in the soda’s cancellation in 2003, oddly enough, except in Norway, where it is sold as Urge to this day. Oddly enough, another possible factor in its cancellation was Vault, Coca-Cola’s unofficial replacement which was rolled out not long after the cancellation of Surge. Many Surge fans noted the drink tasted like a Surge off-brand, and many treated Vault as the soda spiritual successor to Surge, prior to its own 2011 cancellation.
Of course, having grown up in the late 1990s/early 2000s, I guzzled more than a few pints of Surge in my own time, and even to date, remember It fondly, not just for being a cornerstone of so many meals of my childhood, or for the all-night sleepovers fueled by a Surge 2-liter, but for the taste, which I argue to this day was one of the better sodas I’ve ever had, and that’s not just the nostalgia talking – while in Poland last summer, I managed to buy a can of Urge, and it was every bit as good as it was when the ‘S’ was tacked on the front.
I would wager I am far from the only one that remembers this particular soda fondly, but you don’t have to take my word for it – like so many other objects of yesteryears near and far, those who remember Surge fondly have gathered online, and likes a few other things from the 90s, has sparked something of a movement to bring it back, one that has boomed in the last year since Vault was cancelled, most notably in the form of the SURGE Movement, which in addition to having 21,000 people in two groups and growing, just bought a billboard in Atlanta near Coca-Cola HQ boasting a rather clever tagline…
Now that’s living up to the legacy of a soda that boasted being loaded ‘with Carbos’.
While I don’t know if they can, the last year has seen nostalgia bring more than a few things back by popular demand, including Toonami, so I’d say there may be more than a small chance we may see Surge surge back onto store shelves – if it does, they can certainly count on me to buy more than a can or two, what about you?