Sierra Mist Has Been Discontinued, Is Its Replacement Any Good?

Pepsi is quietly replacing Sierra Mist with a new lemon-lime soda in its place. We tasted it to see how it stacks up.

Sierra Mist
Photo: Sierra Mist

On January 11, PepsiCo announced the addition of its brand new lemon-lime soda, Starry, to the Pepsi line-up, which includes brands like Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Brisk. However, true PepsiCo fans know that the company already had a lemon-lime-flavored soda that had been around for over 20 years: Sierra Mist.

With Starry's debut, PepsiCo quietly discontinued Sierra Mist to rebrand and reformulate its lemon-lime soda.

"The demand for lemon-lime flavored soda has never been greater, with category growth accelerating since 2019, there's a significant opportunity now to give people a choice in an area that's been dominated by one brand for years," according to a press release.

PepsiCo is, of course, talking about Sprite. While Sierra Mist was one of America's top sodas, bringing in $1 billion in sales every year according to Newsweek, Sprite was earning five times that amount.

Starry Lemon Lime

To better compete with Sprite, PepsiCo created Starry which is "the perfect balance of lemon-lime flavor and sweetness compared to the competition," according to Danielle Barbaro, Vice President R&D at PepsiCo Beverages North America.

Starry even has the tagline "Starry Hits Different" — which is a phrase that a lot of fans use to describe Sprite at McDonald's.

Starry is already available at retailers nationwide. It's caffeine-free and comes in regular and zero-sugar versions.

Is PepsiCo's Starry Any Good?

Because Starry is replacing Sierra Mist, the assumption is that it's a better, upgraded lemon-lime soda. According to a PepsiCo representative, "Starry has higher citrus flavors that are true to fruit and more aromatic which delivers a more balanced, cleaner, crisp finish than Sierra Mist."

The only way to truly know is to blind taste test the two side-by-side. This proved to be harder than anticipated as Sierra Mist is essentially gone from all grocery store shelves. However, after finding one of the final cans of Sierra Mist, I blindly tasted the two — and ultimately, Starry won.

Starry has a very powerful citrus flavor and it's much more crisp. It tastes more like a Sprite — and I actually think it tastes like a McDonald's Sprite because of its crispness.

Compared to Starry, Sierra Mist is lackluster in citrus flavor. It tastes almost flat and bland.

Because the ultimate goal is to compete with Sprite, creating Starry was a great move on Pepsi's part. But let's pour one out for the fallen Sierra Mist who served us well for 20 years — just maybe don't pour out your Sierra Mist because it might be the last one you ever have.

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