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Caleb's Kola: Craft Soda by the Makers of Pepsi

"Tested batch after batch"... "sustainable Fair Trade cane sugar"... "a special blend of spices from around the world"... "a distinct foamy head."

Is this the description for a new, artisan, exotic beverage? In a way, yes. And no.

The above words are part of the launch campaign for Caleb's Kola, Pepsi's new foray into the craft beverage market.

See also: Coca-Cola Life: Stevia-Sweetened Coke Available at the Fresh Market

The cola, named after Caleb Bradham, a North Carolina pharmacist who created the original recipe for Pepsi in 1893, goes back to the turn of the 20th Century by formulating this new incarnation of soda made with sparkling water, fair trade cane sugar, African kola nuts, brown spices, and a "hint of citrus."

Not very many details are out on the soda, which is available at limited Costco stores, but according to Bevreview, a trademark for the beverage was filed in January 2014, with the soda giant trying the new formulation at "pop-up" beverage bars as early as 2013.

Caleb's Kola is a welcome change of heart for Pepsi and the start of what could be a trend among big-name soda manufacturers to fade out chemical sweeteners from sodas. Pepsi is also launching PepsiTrue, a green-labeled version of its flagship soda, sweetened with real sugar and stevia leaf extract. Pepsi True has 30 percent less sugar than regular Pepsi and contains no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.

Coca-Cola recently started marketing Coca-Cola Life, a stevia-sugar-blended cola that's already on sale at Fresh Market stores in South Florida.

Pepsi True will be available nationwide through online retailers in mid-October. So far, no word on when Caleb's Kola will come to South Florida. If you want to see it at your local Costco, Pepsi is requesting that you email [email protected] or tweet to @Calebskola.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss

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