As someone who dislikes coffee while also being anything but a morning person, caffeine is important. That leaves a few options, and the option I choose most often is Coke Zero.

It’s a ridiculous habit, one bad for my teeth and probably my kidney function as well, but there are worse habits out there. (Or so I tell myself.) I’ve always been transparent about it; when I was single, my dating profile listed “Coke Zero” as a desert island item on one of the many questions you answer to complete your profile. When I first met my girlfriend’s mom as she picked us up at the airport for a visit, she handed me a Coke Zero she’d brought along, having been informed of my habit. Friends would text me invites to watch games with “BYOCZ” at the end.

I was even drinking one this morning when this news story popped into our Slack channel, announcing that Coke was killing off Coke Zero and replacing it with Coke Zero Sugar, a different formula, starting in August. Here’s proof!

The can is just sweating, I’m not crying, I swear.

Coke Zero sales were actually up last year, Business Insider notes:

In the US, Coke Zero sales grew 3.5% in 2016, compared with Diet Coke’s drop of 1.9% in the same time period.

But apparently the new version is doing well in foreign markets, well enough that Coca-Cola decided it was time to drop the hammer and rebrand. The new name, Coke Zero Sugar, is meant to imply that there’s zero sugar. Of course, when you’ve spent more than a decade branding Coke Zero as the sugar-free alternative to Coke, then add “Sugar” onto the name, it’s fair to wonder whether people will just assume it’s Coke Zero plus sugar. But hey, I’m sure they have plenty of focus group data to rely on, Coke has definitely never made a colossal branding misstep before!

The new version is probably going to taste very similar to the old version. I understand that. Lately, I’ve even been drinking Diet Coke, as my favorite small town bar here doesn’t offer Coke Zero, and though I grew up with a passionate distaste for Diet Coke, after a decade of Coke Zero I’ve found I prefer it to the regular version. And in a worst case scenario, I’ll just drink more water, something I should probably be doing anyway. I’m sure the new, stupidly named version will be fine. I’ll get it in the Coke Freestyle machine at Five Guys and be okay with doing so. I might even buy Pepsi Max for a while out of protest.

But it won’t be the same. It was such a stupid guilty pleasure (though, if I’m honest, I enjoyed them guilt-free) to have, and it’s gone despite other people enjoying it too.

We had a good run, Coke Zero. I’ll lift one of my remaining cans in your honor.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.

3 thoughts on “Coca-Cola announces Coke Zero will be phased out in favor of something called Coke Zero Sugar

  1. Jay, I’ll just get started with Coke Zero Sugar sucks. It tastes more like Diet Coke than Coke Zero. And I don’t like Diet Coke. I can’t understand their thinking. Taking a very popular beverage and making it a step back. The unique flavor is gone. There is still a hint, but not enough to keep me interested. I was going to stock up on Coke Zero, but screw them. I have five cans left then I’m done with it.
    It’s like when they discontinued Vanilla Coke about ten or so years ago. I did stock up on that. Even bought cases from ebay. Then it magically reappeared about a year later and it was dead to me. The Zero version tasted nothing like the full calorie kind.
    I usually have some Pepsi with Real Sugar on hand, but haven’t bought it in a while cause I’m trying to lose a few pounds. So I guess I’ll default back to my Pepsi with Real Sugar. Then I’ll take the 90 minute drive north and grab some Mountain Dew and Dr Pepper. Both with Real Sugar.

  2. Wow, super sucks. Will have to change to pepsi after a life of being a coke guy. Zero sugar suck compared to my beloved coke zero. Sigh.

  3. You were wrong, really wrong. CZS sucks, really sucks. Flat, no bite, too sweet, little flavor and a terrible tinny aftertaste. I’m never buying another Coke product again. New and improved? Bullshirt!!!

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