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Pepsi’s new nitrogen-infused cola that’s ‘softer than a soft drink’

Billed as “the first-ever nitrogen-infused cola”, Pepsi has announced the forthcoming US-nationwide launch of Nitro Pepsi — an innovative new soda that will arrive this March.

Carbon dioxide in beverages is, literally, a natural fit. When yeast ferments things like beer and wine, these microbes give off CO2 to make the drinks fizzy — a precursor to modern sodas with their forced carbonation. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add other gasses.

Nitrogen is already a common — if not typical — gas added in drinks like beer and cold brew. And now, Pepsi is bringing nitrogen to mainstream soda.

Of course, for those new to nitro, the question is likely “Why the heck would I want to drink a cola with nitrogen?” And it’s a good one. The technical answer is that carbon dioxide has larger bubbles and can impart a slightly acrid taste whereas nitrogen’s smaller bubbles are less explosive on the palate.

Pepsi describes the results as “softer than a soft drink” (an admittedly well-conceived expression).

“It’s creamy, smooth and has a mesmerising cascade of tiny bubbles topped off by a frothy foam head.”


Interestingly, Pepsi has actually been working on its nitrogen soda since at least 2019, when the prototype was described by one commentator as “richer and fuller on the palate” and “to drinking a Pepsi float, but without any ice cream involved”.

Nitrogen also creates a different drinking experience. Guinness — which was an early adopter of canned nitrogen technology — became famous for their “widget”, and Nitro Pepsi utilises a similar “unique widget placed at the bottom of every can.”

The addition of this device means the soda should be consumed differently: Serving it cold but not on ice and then “hard pouring” the can into a glass to let the nitrogen cascade.

“While soda has been a beverage of choice for so many consumers over the past century, some people still cite heavy carbonation as a barrier to enjoying an ice-cold cola,” Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s VP of marketing, said in a statement.

“With this in mind, we wanted to come up with a new way for people to enjoy delicious Pepsi cola, but with a new experience around the bubbles.

“Much like how nitrogen has transformed the beer and coffee categories, we believe Nitro Pepsi is a huge leap forward for the cola category and will redefine cola for years to come.”

Both varieties of Nitro Pepsi will be sold in single-serve cans and four-packs, in two different varieties: Draft Cola and Vanilla Draft Cola. The official release date is March 28.


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