Magnus Kolstad, Flickr
Magnus Kolstad, Flickr

10 Discontinued Beverages Coveted by Collectors

Magnus Kolstad, Flickr
Magnus Kolstad, Flickr

Nostalgia hounds often seek out a variety of oddball collectibles to scratch that yesteryear itch—even unopened bottles and cans of long-discontinued beverages. From the iconic to the downright bizarre, the following gone-but-not-forgotten libations still have their fan-bases, some of whom shell out pretty serious cash for these vintage potables.

1. Crystal Pepsi – 1992-1993

gavin rice, Flickr

Not even a splashy debut commercial featuring Van Halen during Super Bowl XXVII could stave off extinction for Pepsi’s short-lived translucent cola. The so-called “Clear Cola” hit the scene in 1992 and was discontinued barely a year later. A citrus version called simply Crystal shared a similar fate. It saw a brief resurrection in the mid-2000s in Mexico, where it sold as “Pepsi Clear.” Today, a yellowed 16-ounce glass bottle of the stuff can be had on eBay for around $40.

2. Billy Beer – 1977-1978

Chris Coyier, Flickr

Another notorious beverage of yore sought by collectors is Billy Beer, a brew promoted in 1977 by the late Billy Carter, kid brother of then-President Jimmy. The younger Carter, a Georgia gas station attendant with a reputation as a drinker and a bit of a hayseed, was approached by the Falls City Brewing Company to lend his name to the brew. It was a failure and may very well have been the final nail in the coffin for the brewery, which closed down after more than 70 years in business in 1978. Today, an unopened six-pack will set you back about $50 on eBay.

3. New Coke – 1985

Coca-Cola has touted its famous secret formula for decades, but in the mid-'80s, the company decided to shake things up. They tweaked the formula and introduced “New Coke” to a dubious public in 1985. The new, sweeter flavor was almost universally panned, and Coca-Cola, responding to customers’ negative reaction, re-introduced the original formula after less than three months, re-branding it “Coke Classic” in the process. Over the years there has been speculation that the switch was merely a sly marketing ploy, but the rumors are largely unsubstantiated. Collectors looking to own some of the ephemeral beverage can find bottles or cans on eBay ranging from $15 to over $100.

4. Surge – 1996-2002

Magnus Kolstad, Flickr

Surge was an attempt by Coca-Cola to compete for the “in-your-face attitude” territory that Pepsi’s Mountain Dew had staked out. A citrus-flavored soda, it was marketed as an energy drink of sorts, touting itself as “a fully-loaded citrus soda with carbos” (carbos!). The commercials featured teenagers doing “extreme” things like hurdling over ratty couches in a race to snag a single bottle. The drink developed a bit of a cult following, and seizing on the enduring demand, Coca-Cola reintroduced Surge in September 2014 as an exclusive on Amazon.com in 12-packs, which quickly sold out and found their way to eBay, where prices range from $8-15 per can to more than $50 for a 12-pack.

5. Josta – 1995-1999

Perhaps doomed by being slightly ahead of its time, Josta by PepsiCo is widely regarded as the first bona fide energy drink put out by a major beverage bottler. Launched in 1995, it was a fruity concoction containing guarana, one of the most highly-caffeinated plants known to man. There are no current active auctions, but recent prices online for a six-pack have hit $250.

6. Orbitz – 1997-1998

Before there was the online travel booking service, there was the soft drink. Orbitz was unleashed on the market by the Clearly Canadian Beverage Company in 1997, each bottle packed with tiny, brightly colored gelatinous balls, giving the drink a lava lamp-like appearance. The short-lived refreshment, which came in a variety of mixed fruit flavors, barely lasted a year. A bottle of Orbitz today will set you back around $20 on eBay—around the same price as an actual lava lamp.

7. Citra – 1996-2004

Citra was a grapefruit-dominant citrus-flavored soda put out by Coca-Cola in 1996. Citra graced store shelves for more than eight years before it was re-branded in 2004 as Fanta Citrus, which itself was shortly thereafter discontinued. The original Citra, however, was introduced in test markets in India last year to gauge interest for a wider national rollout. A can of the original U.S.-marketed Citra costs about $4 on eBay, with bottles going as high as $19.49.

8. Pepsi Blue – 2002-2004

A more recent belly flop in the world of soda was Pepsi Blue. As the name suggests, the soda was known for its glass cleaner-like blue tint. Pepsi pumped huge sums of money into promoting it, recruiting the likes of Britney Spears for television spots, and partnering with a host of corporate sponsors from the New York Mets to Volkswagen. While Americans’ taste for the berry-flavored soft drink never really took off, it remains a popular beverage in parts of Asia, and you can buy cans on ebay for around $5.

9. Pitch Black Mountain Dew – 2004-2005, 2011

Released in 2004 as a Halloween-themed version of the popular soda, Pitch Black Mountain Dew was a dark-purple, grape-flavored soft drink, promising “a blast of black grape.” Pitch Black also had a sequel—a sour version with the moniker Pitch Black II was released for a limited time for Halloween 2005. It also had a brief promotional reappearance in the summer of 2011. While discontinued in the U.S., Pitch Black fanatics can still get their hands on some in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Philippines, or Singapore. Vintage cans on eBay go for about $8 each.

10. Jolt Cola – 1985-2009

bjoern, Flickr

The drink on our list with the longest staying power by far is Jolt Cola, which fueled countless all-night cram sessions and had kids bouncing off the walls at birthday parties for nearly 25 years. The super-caffeinated drink, put out by the defunct Wet Planet Beverages, boasted that it contained twice the caffeine of regular colas. As stiffer competition emerged in the energy drink market, Jolt tried numerous gimmicks to stay relevant like wacky noise-making packaging and a widely expanded selection of flavors, even lending its name to a line of gum. Wet Planet went belly-up in 2009, taking with it an iconic former staple of dorm fridges everywhere.

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Central Press/Getty Images
Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
Central Press/Getty Images
Central Press/Getty Images

Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 119th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."


Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."


Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."


By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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iStock
11 of the Most Extreme Junk Foods Ever Created
iStock
iStock

It should come as no surprise that National Junk Food Day is traditionally celebrated on July 21—smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer, when the streets run thick with ice cream trucks and county fairs boast the kind of fried treats that can only be described as “awesome” (both in the modern sense and the more dated, whoa, we are in awe of that usage). But National Junk Food Day shouldn’t be celebrated with commonplace junk food; oh, no, it deserves something far bigger and better. So save your potato chips and chocolate bars for another day, and get ready to try some truly wild treats.

1. THE KFC DOUBLE DOWN


KFC

Perhaps the most unexpectedly clever way to create a new extreme junk food item is to turn a non-junky foodstuff into something that just oozes calories and decadence. Fried chicken giant KFC knew that—and played it up to major effect—when they introduced the KFC Double Down to America back in 2010. The sandwich foregoes the most traditional aspect of any sandwich (the bread!) and substitutes two fried chicken filets. In between the two pieces of chicken? Bacon, two different kinds of cheese, and the Colonel’s “secret sauce.” There’s no room for a bun here, folks.

2. PIZZA HUT'S HOT DOG STUFFED CRUST PIZZA

We may associate items like fast food pizza and hot dog-stuffed anything with all-American palates, but cheesy juggernaut Pizza Hut saw things a bit differently. In 2012, the chain introduced a pizza with a hot dog-stuffed crust to our neighbors across the pond, treating their UK customers to the kind of taste sensation some people might have had literal nightmares about. Is it a pizza? Is it a hot dog? Somehow, it’s both—and yet something much more.

3. FRIENDLY'S GRILLED CHEESE BURGERMELT


Friendly's

Once again, a wily restaurant chain took a normal food item—in this case, a hamburger—and amped up its junk factor by doing away with something as commonplace as buns, in favor of an entirely different (and, yes, very junky) item. In 2010, Friendly’s rolled out its very own spin on the Double Down, slamming a regular old burger between not one, but two grilled cheese sandwiches. Who needs buns when you can have four pieces of bread, gooey cheese, and unfathomable amounts of butter?

4. GUY FIERI'S CHEESECAKE CHALLENGE

Whiz-bang chef Guy Fieri has long drawn ire for his more wild culinary creations, but what sets his cuisine apart from that of other junk food aficionados is his steadfast dedication to the key elements of any extreme item: size and odd combinations. Fieri’s “Guy's Cheesecake Challenge” is currently on the menu of his Vegas Kitchen and Bar, but it’s easy enough to replicate at home: Just halve a cheesecake, throw it on a plate, and douse liberally with hot fudge, pretzels, and potato chips. (What, no bacon?)

5. DENNY'S FRIED CHEESE MELT


Denny's

In August 2010, Denny’s introduced the Fried Cheese Melt, a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with fried mozzarella sticks. Yes, it was served with both French fries and a side of marinara sauce, because it’s important to eat vegetables with every meal.

6. DUNKIN' DONUTS'S GLAZED DONUT BREAKFAST SANDWICH


Dunkin' Donuts

If you’ve ever hit up your local Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and found yourself stumped when it came time to decide if you wanted a donut or a breakfast sandwich to get your morning motor revving, Dunkin' Donuts came up with a brilliant culinary brainstorm in 2013: the fast food favorite unveiled a breakfast sandwich that used glazed donuts as “bread,” wrapped around bacon and peppered egg.

7. JACK IN THE BOX MUNCHIE MEAL

What Jack’s Munchie Meals lack in creativity, they more than make up for in pure, unadulterated size and content. Each Munchie Meal—there are four total—features a massive sandwich (from the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger to the Spicy Nacho Chicken Sandwich, and all sorts of wild fried things in between) accompanied with two beef tacos, “Halfsies” (a combo of fries and curly fries), and a 20-ounce fountain drink. These intense snack boxes are still available at most Jack in the Box locations, but you’ll have to wait until after 9 p.m. to procure your very own.

8. PIZZA HUT CHEESY BITES REMIX PIZZA

Apparently, there’s nothing that Pizza Hut loves more than using its crust as a delivery system for other junk food items. The hut that pizza built may have crammed hot dogs and hamburgers on to their pie sides, but there was something special about the Cheesy Bites Remix pizza. It featured fried cheese pockets stuffed with three different varieties of extra junk, from spicy seasoning to cream cheese and sesame to mozzarella and parmesan.

9. DEEP FRIED BUTTER

County and state fairs have long been hotbeds (sizzling, oily hotbeds) of wild, deep-frying invention. Dunking things in batter and then tossing them into a vat of oil is a nifty way to turn almost anything into a delicious crisp pocket of junky decadence, perfect for utensil-free eating—but that doesn’t mean that everything needs to get the deep-fried treatment. While deep-fried Oreos may be a stroke of brilliance, deep fried butter is just plain madness. Here’s a quick test: If you wouldn’t eat something if it weren’t deep-fried, don’t eat it if it is deep-fried. When was the last time you ate an entire stick of butter? See? Point proven.

10. THE BACON BUN BURGER

Not content to have a bacon sandwich between two chicken filets? Is a grilled cheese bun replacement not for you? Then try making your very own hamburger buns out of bacon. Carbs are bad for you, right?

11. FRIED ICE CREAM SANDWICH

The Florida State Fair is the proud home of the first fried ice cream sandwich, a junky treat that bears a name that doesn’t even begin to explain what it holds between its buns. It’s not a fried ice cream sandwich so much as a bacon cheeseburger (technically a sandwich) topped with a ball of fried ice cream. It might be a good meal for multi-taskers—no need to worry about dessert—but it doesn’t sound like the kind of thing good for anything else.

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