Well folks, the day is finally here. No, I'm not talking about The Rapture, or even Axl Rose putting out Chinese Democracy II.
Mountain Dew Pitch Black has returned to store shelves. It's official. It's here.
How do I know?
For I have tasted it.
Regular Halloween Addict readers know my love affair with this beverage. If not please re-read THIS, THIS annnnd THIS.
And it's magnificent.
As I've mentioned in other posts, sometimes the anticipation of the moment is greater than the moment itself. When Pepsi heard my pleas and sent me a complimentary sample to try, I had some apprehension at getting a chance to drink this soda again.
Would it still hold up?
Would it be as good as it was years ago?
After staring at the bottle for a minute I finally dove in.
Taking the first sip, I thought something was wrong.
I know that time clouds the memory so before panic set in, I staved off my internal exclamations of “They changed it! It’s not as good! Dammmmn you!!!!!” (imagine that said in a Charlton Heston/Planet of the Apes-way).
I took a second sip… then a third. Ahhhhh... that’s Pitch Black, alright.
You may wonder what the big deal is. "It's just a soda!" you'll yell at me. True. But let me explain why it's great:
1) It’s a CAFFEINATED GRAPE soda with a Mountain Dew twist. As far as I know there are no other caffeinated grape sodas on the market. None. Trust me. I've looked around and I can't find one. So that alone makes it unique.
2) A discontinued flavor is back. Ten years ago, the idea of a major beverage company bringing back a discontinued niche flavor was unheard of. But Mountain Dew (a division of Pepsi) is pioneering a new social media driven program called DEWmocracy that uses the various social media platforms to bring the flavors to the people. We cried out "Pitch Black!" and like a carbonated Superman, PB swooped in singing "Here I come to save the daaaaaaaaay!"
3) Lastly: sodas are a part of our lives. It's not just a "flavor" returning, it's a memory.
Scientists have done studies that found that smells and tastes are often the strongest sense memory triggers. When I first twisted the cap off that bottle of Mountain Dew Pitch Black and took that first sip, I time traveled back to those times I was enjoying PB at Halloween's past.
There I was at 12:30 in the morning, building a large Headless Horseman prop in the backyard for a Halloween party.
A second sip and I remembered enjoying a can in the car on the way to the latest Universal Halloween Horror Haunt.
A third sip and I was on my way to a costume shop to get the last remaining pieces for my Rob Zombie costume that year.
As Pitch Black was usually brought out around Halloween time, it was a bittersweet victory. Sure I get my Pitch Black back, but I only get it for the summer.
I, like many, had a few questions I wanted answered and Pepsi was glad to answer a few questions for me. So here are some the questions and answers Mountain Dew Pitch Black fans may have wanted to know:
HALLOWEEN ADDICT: Why the decision to bring back Mountain Dew Pitch Black in May when the flavor had been associated with the late Fall Halloween season for all of its previous limited releases?
PEPSI: "Mtn Dew is re-releasing Mtn Dew Pitch Black as part of its Back by Popular DEWmand™ program, a new initiative to bring back fan-favorite flavors in limited time only cycles, which will kick-off this spring.
"For background, Back by Popular DEWmand™ was developed to reward Mtn Dew drinkers for their support with an opportunity to influence the brand’s programs, and will launch with the re-release of Mtn Dew Pitch Black, Mtn Dew Supernova and Mtn Dew Typhoon."
HALLOWEEN ADDICT: Is there a more precise date than "May" for when fans can find Pitch Black on shelves?
PEPSI: "The official launch date for Mtn Dew Pitch Black along with Mtn Dew Supernova and Mtn Dew Typhoon is May 1st, but timing can vary by a few days from market to market depending on inventory. Please note, Mtn Dew Typhoon will only be sold at WalMart SUPERCENTERS."
HALLOWEEN ADDICT: Is it true that the "limited release" will only be 8 weeks from its debut? Any chance that would be extended due to popularity like Mountain Dew Throwback?
PEPSI: "Due to the number of permanent flavors on shelves at this time, Mtn Dew cannot produce Mtn Dew Pitch Black, Mtn Dew Supernova or Mtn Dew Typhoon permanently.
In an effort to reward fans for their support and passion for the brand, Mtn Dew will bring back the flavors for a limited time only. While it will be approximately 8 weeks, it is not a set amount of time and availability will vary depending on the popularity of each flavor and how quickly inventories sell out."
HALLOWEEN ADDICT: With the return of Pitch Black is there any chance that the Pitch Black Freeze Icee that could be found in Target stores will return?
PEPSI: "We have no plans for that at this time."
HALLOWEEN ADDICT: Much like the seasonal Jones Halloween sodas, can Mountain Dew fans expect to see any new MD flavor releases or special packaging to tie in to this year's Halloween season?
PEPSI: "We have no plans for any Halloween-specific product or packaging innovations this year."
HALLOWEEN ADDICT: Is Pitch Black only available in 20 oz. bottles or are 6 or 12 packs of cans available too?
PEPSI: "As of right now Mountain Dew Pitch Black is available in 20 oz. bottles and 12 pks of 20 oz. bottles." [Note: This policy may have changed since the interview as Paxton from Cavalcade of Awesome found a 12 pack of MDPB at his Winn Dixie. Pic is HERE.]
So there you have it. Some straight answers.
I have a glimmer of hope that the popularity of Pitch Black will carry sales beyond July. Which leads me to my last topic:
WHERE CAN YOU FIND PITCH BLACK?!
I'll admit I had some problems at first. I hit up my hole-in-the-wall convenience store that always seems to carry every incarnation of Mountain Dew. After 2 weeks of nothing, -POOF- there it is was! I snagged 5 bottles.
As I paid for it the cashier looked at the bottle and said "Oh. New one, huh?"
"Yeah. It's a Limited Edition. Great stuff."
I stopped by that same store a few days later and all the Pitch Black was gone.
The Diet Supernova and Diet Voltage sat there untouched.
My heart started beating fast. Uh oh. It's begun. I need to find a steady supply.
I went out into the world to try and find more.
After randomly trying three 7-11 stores and 2 gas station convenience marts, to no avail, I found THIS PEPSI ITEM LOCATOR WEBSITE.
Just select your beverage (Pitch Black OF COURSE) and put in your zip code and it tells you where the closest place to buy it is.
I was skeptical at first as it recommended a few random 7-11s and a LUMBER STORE, of all places.
I thought I would put it to the test. I WENT to that lumber store. After walking around finding nothing but... well, LUMBER... I walked toward the register and there was a tiny soda refrigerator at the front. Sure enough, STOCKED with Pitch Black. Amazing.
I tested the Item Locator further by visiting a Chevron it recommended as having Mountain Dew Pitch Black. Bingo.
In closing, and to use an old expression: don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
I'm ECSTATIC that Pitch Black is back.
If I HAD to find ANY fault with it at all it would be this: I like Pitch Black in the Fall.
I LIKED that it was an UNofficial Halloween soda.
Heck, check out the graphic from the Mountain Dew Facebook site to the left (click to make bigger) where they acknowledge that it was a Halloween release soda (not a "Q4 release" a "Halloween" release).
Also: I think I liked Pitch Black 2 that had the "Sour Bite."
AGAIN: I'm nit picking here. I don't want Uncle Pepsi to read this and think "They're NEVER happy! I give and I give!" (And then Uncle Pepsi goes to make himself a sandwich in disgust.)
I'm going to try and stock pile a few bottles for October in the hopes that it can make the journey (though the "Best By" date will have been long past).
I also found that a little squeeze of fresh lime gives it a "Sour Bite"-like twist. Just a tip.
I look at it like this: if a long lost favorite friend were to drop by unexpectedly, would you yell at them "What the hell are you doing here? I'm not ready for you! Come back in October!" and slam the door in their face?
You'd embrace that friend. Invite them in. Say how happy you were to see them. What an unexpected surprise. And then you'd talk about those great times you had and make new great times... all while sipping a Mountain Dew Pitch Black...