Sunday, February 19, 2006

Coca-Cola's Vault energy drink

So, Coca-Cola’s got a new drink out and I guess we, the adoring public, are supposed to be wetting ourselves in an unfathomable craze for this new product.  Or, at least that’s how I was led to believe.  Walking around my local Wal-Mart there were hundreds of bottles of this stuff everywhere.  Besides in its preordained space, I noticed it lurking in the freezer section, behind hairspray, and I think I even saw one elderly woman pushing a bottle around in a stroller.

Before I jump too deeply into things, allow me a paragraph to digress about the beverage industry’s holy savior Coca-Cola.  I remember as far back as being a toddler and my Dad leaving half-full glass bottles of Coke all around the house.  Inevitably in the middle of what felt like every single night, I would stumble out into our living room, lit only by the muted television set with my Dad’s snores as the soundtrack to the ritual, and steal a sip from one of these discarded bottles.

Enough waxing nostalgic, what’s to be said about Coca-Cola in today’s present society?  Well, first off—they spend more money on advertising than any other company.  That’s a solid fact.  If you took a third of that annual amount, and used it beneficially, let’s say, donated it to some non-profit organizations that fed underprivileged children or were dedicated to scientific research, then surely we’d all benefit.  But, what do we get?  Every holiday season my television is (or was, I don’t have TV since I moved out last summer) bombarded with carefully calculated images of polar bears slipping on ice (as if they hadn’t adapted to their polar surroundings by now, for fuck’s sake?) drinking bottles of Coke (where did those come from?) and filling us with cheer.  I call bullshit!

And to think, I was aiming to make this a short piece and calling it a night!  I haven’t even mentioned the product I’m reviewing.  So, with those grievances aired above, forgive me for not being overly eager to jump on the bandwagon and celebrating the newest drink in Coca-Cola’s gang—supposed energy drink Vault.  The big selling point they’re promoting with Vault is that it “drinks like soda, but kicks like an energy drink”.  Well, for all the hoopla surrounding it, it better drink like the liquid equivalent of Yoda, and kick like Bruce Lee on heroine.

I’ve always felt when reviewing a beverage for my humble website, it’s always best to use a wine glass to fully showcase the drink’s visual qualities. It’s not like I use a wine glass every time I open a can of Dr. Pepper.  However, I do have a predilection to crazy straws.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect in terms of hue and color, but was met with lasting disappointment upon the spewing forth of generic yellow soda.  I know it sounds like nitpicking, but hey, reviewing things is my hobby and I take it seriously!  I’m not suggesting a color of mind-blowing proportions, but please, give us something different for a change.  The flavor is listed as “Citrus” on the bottle, so easily limes classify as a potential candidate under that listing, could it have been so hard to give us a olive green colored soda?  And the reason this is particularly perturbing, is Mountain Dew recently released an energy drink—which is surely as yellow as the piss I’m about to take on my computer.  How many yellow sodas must we endure?

Besides obvious links to powerhouses Mountain Dew and Mellow Yellow, there are some underlying ties to forgotten sodas of yesteryear, specifically Kick and Surge.  Let’s talk about taste, as undoubtedly that’s what most of you are most interested in.  They’ve broken absolutely no new ground here, folks.  It is my duty to inform my beloved readers that, like Public Enemy once said, “don’t believe the hype!”  It tastes very familiar at first; reminiscent to Mountain Dew, with an aftertaste that reminds you you’re drinking something under the “energy drink” label, so there’s more going on in there than we’re entirely sure of.  But, for the most part you’ll likely experience disappointment, especially if you were hoping for something new.  As far as I’ve seen, these things are only being sold in 1-liter bottles, and I assure you, nobody needs that much sodium.

In terms of its efficiency as an energy drink, I can’t really credit it with being very successful.  After drinking about half the bottle, I did feel a bit jumpy, as if I was experiencing a pretty serious sugar induced high—similar to those achieved after drinking several cups of premium coffee.  But, shortly afterwards, I fell suddenly asleep during the first few minutes of a DVD I was watching.  Obviously, it didn’t give me too much energy; but, I did have a dream where I was trading important government documents for candy to a large moose made up entirely of wood and sour cream, somewhere in the outskirts of Montana.  Maybe Vault vaulted my subconscious into previously unforeseen areas of oddity?

In conclusion, Coca-Cola disappointed me on all fronts.  The design of the packaging is lackluster, the drink poor and uninspired, and I predict ultimately, Vault will be disappearing from shelves forever in the near future.  Pick up one soon… no, not to drink, but as a souvenir because these will be gone forever by the end of the year.

Overall Grade: C- 

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