Sierra Mist Gets Tapped Over No. 8 Soft Drink Brand

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BOSTON ( -- The Pepsi Bottling Group said today it would cease producing and distributing 7 UP in favor of PepsiCo's Sierra Mist at the end of the year, a move likely to temporarily hinder the country's No. 8 soft drink brand.

Pepsi Bottling Group, based in Somers, N.Y., distributes about 15% of 7 UP volume, which accounts for 2% of total volume for its parent, Dr Pepper/Seven Up, a division of Cadbury Schweppes.

The brand now will

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be almost solely distributed by independent bottlers, or those unaffiliated with Pepsi or Coca-Cola Co., up from about 60% now.

A spokesman for Dr Pepper/Seven Up said the company plans to keep 7 UP in its current markets and that advertising, through WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York, would not be affected.

Though the shift will cost sales in the near term as distribution is being worked out, Beverage Digest editor John Sicher said 7 UP ultimately would benefit from increased focus from the independent bottlers. He also said the Pepsi system's emphasis on Sierra Mist, launched in October 2000, would boost the brand in the next year or two.

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