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Maple Syrup Pepsi! What Will They Think of Next?

Have you heard the news? The good people at Pepsi have tapped into something very interesting by teaming up with IHOP to create maple-flavored soda pop. 

That’s right…Maple Syrup Pepsi!

But don’t run out to look for it in your neighborhood convenience store.

The “highly limited edition” Maple Syrup Pepsi was only made available as part of a social media marketing campaign that invited Twitter and Instagram users to share photos of their pancake breakfasts with the hashtag #ShowUsYourStack.

Though the official promotion has concluded, the after-market for the specialty item is brisk — albeit at not-so-sweet prices. Recent offerings on eBay included $75 for two 12 oz. cans; $30 plus $13.40 shipping for one can.

Maple Syrup Pepsi definitely scores points as a fun marketing gimmick.

But it is any good?

Here’s the official message from Pepsi:

“There is truly nothing quite like the indulgent taste of Pepsi Maple Syrup Cola,” said Pepsi’s chief marketing officer Todd Kaplan. “Sweet maple syrup blended with the refreshing taste of Pepsi cola. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with IHOP on this special initiative, as it isn’t often we get to bring together two iconic brands to satisfy the cravings of pancake and Pepsi lovers alike.”

SO…IS MAPLE PEPSI ANY GOOD?

Our crew checked out reactions by several online reviewers, each of whom expressed high hopes for the IHOP–Pepsi cola-boration. 

First up is a skeptical review from Spoon University, an online food magazine intended for college students. The review starts out on a positive note:

“Few things awaken the senses like the smell of pancakes and maple syrup in the kitchen. In partnership with IHOP, Pepsi is celebrating pancake lovers everywhere with a new highly limited-edition flavor, Pepsi Maple Syrup Cola, that combines the indulgent flavor profile of maple syrup with the crisp, refreshing caramel notes of a Pepsi.”

But when the reviewer actually begins drinking the beverage, the critique takes a sharp turn: 

“Upon my first sip, I immediately tasted very fake, very sweet maple syrup, quickly followed by the classic caramel taste of a regular Pepsi. The more I drank, the more I tasted the Pepsi, but the maple remained prominent. It was ultimately how I imagined it — like drinking super sweet, carbonated Pepsi cola that had been spiked with an ungodly amount of maple syrup.”

Hmmm, perhaps Pepsi should have dialed back the syrup a bit and used SAPJACK instead of the fake-tasting stuff.

A more favorable review comes from “The Today Show” website, which praises the highly creative packaging design as an “absolute towering masterpiece of marketing.”

Seeing the can itself — “dressed to impress with a shimmering golden tiara of syrup” — heightened the anticipation for the reviewer, who said, “I can already feel my expectations shifting from gimmicky disaster to genuine celebration.”

The first sip produced the following reaction:

It’s the familiar Pepsi with an acceptably convincing maple finish. I was curious about whether it would be heavy or syrupy, and it really isn’t … but it does have an impression of richness, almost like a memory layered over the flavor, successfully pouring syrup over the flapjacks of my heart without coating my tongue.

Making Things with Maple: A Brief History

Of course, Pepsi’s Maple Syrup Cola is not the beverage giant’s only adventure into unusual flavors; the company has also tried Mango and Wild Cherry, as well as a nitrogen-infused option called Nitro Pepsi. 

It’s also not the first time that a major beverage company has created a maple-inspired soft drink. Coca-Cola’s Canadian division has created a Quebec Maple flavor (“real cane sugar with a hint of maple flavour”) that can be found online at Amazon, eBay, and elsewhere. 

Those curious about maple-flavored soft drinks may also want to investigate this maple syrup soda or one of the many varieties of maple root beer.

And if we’re allowed to stretch the limbs of our imagination even further, our crew came up with a wish list of everyday food and beverage items that we’d like to see next:

What Maple-Inspired Food/Drink Should Be Next?

  • Maple Syrup Pizza – Sweeten up that slice with a little maple drizzle. Some piemakers already use things like honey, so why not the true taste of the forest? We see you, Dominos.
  • Maple Syrup Potato Chips — Yep. You heard us Lays. We expect this sweet chip to be in your next round of innovative chip flavors.
  • Maple Fries — Some people love to drizzle cheese and gravy on their fries, so pouring some syrup isn’t much of a stretch. McDonald’s is likely already making these.

From pancakes to marinated steaks, maple syrup is a star ingredient in many a mouth-watering meal. 

That’s why the crew here at SAPJACK takes such extra-special care of our 20,000 acres of maples here in the magical hills of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Thank you, maple trees!

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