Stranger Things: What did New Coke taste like, and how to buy it on the Coke Store

Stranger Things New Coke
Coca-Cola introduces New Coke in conjunction with Stranger Things Season 3. Pic credit: Coca-Cola/Netflix

Coca-Cola is bringing back a limited quantity of New Coke in a collaborative effort with Stranger Things Season 3 ahead of its premiere on Netflix.

When Coca-Cola first introduced the New Coke formula back in 1985, it was intended to replace Classic Coke. “New Coke” was introduced as part of the intensifying 1980s soda wars with rivals such as Pepsi.

The company promised consumers at the time that New Coke had a better flavor than Classic Coke and that Classic Coke would be retired and completely replaced by New Coke.

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However, the new product flopped as consumers did not show any enthusiasm for it, and after only about three months Coca-Cola was forced to bring back Classic Coke and retire New Coke.

Although New Coke was rebranded as Coke II in some markets, this is the first time since 1985 that the product is returning under the New Coke branding.

New Coke returns for Stranger Things Season 3

New Coke is returning to the market ahead of the upcoming Stranger Things Season 3, which premieres on Netflix on July 4.

Stranger Things creators Ross and Matt Duffer approached Coca-Cola and suggested bringing back New Coke as a way to promote the upcoming season of Netflix’s supernatural/horror drama, according to CNN.

It also gives Coca-Cola an opportunity to test the product with a new generation of consumers and explore the possibility of bringing it back permanently.

Stranger Things Season 3 is set in the summer of 1985, the time that Coca-Cola introduced the New Coke version of its world famous cola beverage.

Stuart Kronauge, Coca-Cola’s senior vice president of marketing in North America, said that they had to search their archives to recover the unique recipe for New Coke and bring it back to life.

What did New Coke taste like?

Coca-Cola introduced New Coke in 1985 based on the conviction of its marketing strategists that Coke’s slipping sales relative to Pepsi was because American tastes for soda were changing and that if Coca-Cola did not do something about it, it would lose the soda wars to Pepsi.

According to Mini Sheraton, Time’s food critic, despite the hype, New Coke really wasn’t much different from Classic Coke.

“New Coke seems to retain the essential character of the original version in that it, too, imparts faint cocoa-cinnamon overtones and has a balanced, smooth body with no sharpness or overpowering flavor,” Sheraton wrote. “However, it is sweeter than the original formula and also has a body that could best be described as lighter. It tastes a little like classic Coca-Cola that has been diluted by melting ice.”

“[Although] the new Coke approaches the sweetness and thinness of Pepsi, it does not have the lemony aftertaste,” Sheraton continued. “Therefore, I still prefer [Classic] Coke. I suspect that those who have preferred Pepsi will continue to do so.”

How to buy it on the Coke Store

A limited quantity of New Coke will be made available starting on Thursday, and you will be able to get it only while the supply lasts. Coca-Cola says it has produced less than 500,000 New Coke 12-ounce cans and that it expects the quantity to run out very quickly.

Starting on Thursday, you can get New Coke the following ways:

— As an extra when you purchase at least two limited edition Stranger Things Coke or Coke Zero Sugar in 8-ounce bottles online at, starting at 5pm ET on Thursday, May 25.

— From Stranger Things-themed pop up vending machines that will be installed in select cities around the country this summer, starting in New York on Thursday.

— As a giveaway when you buy a gift or ticket at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta on select days, starting June 3.

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