Have you ever been browsing the insufficiently extreme soda aisle at your local grocery store and found yourself wondering, "What ever happened to Surge, one of the most extreme caffeinated soft drinks of the 1990s?" Well, you're not alone. Surge was a popular but extremely short-lived carbonated phenomenon that embodied '90s-ness so purely, it petered out pretty much exactly when the '90s did.
Even though the Coca-Cola Company dominated the overall worldwide soda market for decades, when it came to citrus-flavored drinks, its products could never compete with Pepsi's neon-yellow goliath, Mountain Dew. After years of trying to snag market share from Mountain Dew with the decidedly-not-extreme Mello Yello, Coke switched gears and tried to beat them at their own teen-focused game by rolling out Surge in 1997. But Surge never found a real foothold in the market and, after a series of missteps by one of the most controversial marketing minds in the business - and then even more missteps by his successor - the soda was finally discontinued in 2003.
It seemed like Surge had lived a short but wild life, filled with chaotic commercials featuring soda-obsessed teenagers risking their lives to "feed the rush" and trampling one another for a shot at chugging a bottle of glowing green ooze. But Surge loyalists would not go so quietly. In the mid-aughts, a small but determined group of headstrong Surge-ites rallied the internet to demand that Coke bring Surge back, and in the end, they actually succeeded. Here's the winding, twisting tale of Surge's rise, fall, and eventual rebirth.