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Baja Blast

Baja Blast is a Franchise Exclusive Mountain Dew flavor available since August 2004 only at Taco Bell restaurants. While originating as a Taco Bell exclusive flavor, it now receives frequent retail summer releases due to its popularity.

Description

Baja Blast is a Mexican-inspired Tropical Lime flavor of Mountain Dew, and is an ocean-like teal in color. Its tropical theming is shared with its sister flavors, Flash, Punch, Mango Gem, Gold and Deep Dive; while it was once paired with former secondary Taco Bell exclusive, Sangrita Blast.

Tagline

Its standard Taco Bell tagline in the United States is "A Tropical Lime Storm," while its market release tagline was "DEW with a Blast of Natural & Artificial Tropical Lime Flavor."

History

Baja Blast was first released in early August 2004, exclusively at Taco Bell locations in the United States. It marked the first time a beverage company and a fast-food restaurant have created a proprietary beverage. The drink was specifically designed to taste best for their Mexican-inspired food. Baja Blast was created with the intent to increase drive-thru beverage sales.

Baja Blast was an instant hit amongst Taco Bell consumers and Mountain Dew fans alike, leading to a massive cult following in the following years. Promotion of the flavor increased considerably as a result, and the drink's popularity eventually resulted in a retail release in bottles and cans in 2014. The drink has been a recurring staple of Mountain Dew's retail lineup ever since, frequently releasing as part of their summer lineup.

Freeze Variants

Baja Blast Freeze

In August 2012, select Taco Bell restaurant locations began offering Baja Blast Freeze, an icy Freeze variant of Baja Blast with similar physical properties as the restaurant's pre-existing Frutista Freeze product line. After the successful test release, Baja Blast Freeze was added to the Taco Bell menu permanently on January 31st, 2013.

Baja Blast Twisted Freeze

In September 2015, Taco Bell launched their first Taco Bell Cantina store in Wicker Park, Chicago, IL, which featured unique menu items and alcoholic beverages. Among these beverages was the Baja Blast Twisted Freeze, which was a regular Baja Blast Freeze served with a shot of rum, tequila, or vodka[1]. Many new Taco Bell Cantina restaurants have opened in the years since, and the Twisted Freeze has now become a staple menu item. The specific brands of liquor used for the Twisted Freeze vary for each location, and there have even been some reports of whiskey being an additional option at select Cantinas.

Baja Blast Birthday Freeze

From October 17th, 2019 to November 20th, 2019, the Baja Blast Birthday Freeze was released for a limited time. To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Mountain Dew Baja Blast, this birthday-themed variant consisted of the Baja Blast Freeze with added candy sprinkles.

Baja Blast Cherry Smash Freeze

Baja Blast Cherry Smash Freeze is a cancelled variant of Baja Blast Freeze. Originally leaked from a Taco Bell marketing survey in late 2020, it was likely cancelled, potentially being replaced by the Baja Blast Colada Freeze.

Baja Blast Colada Freeze

On May 20th, 2021, another variant version was released, the Baja Blast Colada Freeze. This release consists of the Baja Blast Freeze with a swirl of piña colada-inspired tropical cream.

Related Flavors

Diet Baja Blast

In December 2013, Taco Bell added a diet variant of Baja Blast to its main menu, titled Diet Baja Blast, along with the new citrus punch-flavored Dew, Sangrita Blast. Diet Baja Blast was later replaced by Orange Citrus Kickstart in 2015.

Baja Blast Non-Alcoholic Bubbly

On November 14th, 2016, Taco Bell gave an exclusive bottle of Baja Blast Non-Alcoholic Bubbly to the first fifty people attending the grand opening of the Taco Bell Cantina restaurant in Las Vegas, NV[2]. Little is known about this flavor, but it is generally assumed that it has a champagne-like taste.

Baja Blast Zero Sugar

In early December 2018, a zero-sugar variant of Baja Blast returned to Taco Bell restaurants, replacing an underperforming flavor, Spiked (Lemonade) and rebranded under a new name: Baja Blast Zero Sugar. It was released to Taco Bell locations nationwide by March 2019.

Baja Blast Zero Sugar first saw a retail release in 2020, alongside Baja Blast. It used a slightly different formula than the fountain version. The fountain version contains aspartame, while the packaged version does not. Baja Blast Zero Sugar was once again released at retail stores in 2021 as well as 2022.

Sangrita Blast

Main article: Sangrita Blast

Following the success of Baja Blast, the citrus punch flavored Sangrita Blast was exclusively released to Taco Bell restaurants in December 2013 in the United States, alongside Diet Baja Blast. The drink remained at Taco Bell locations until 2017, when it was discontinued, possibly due to low sales.

Baja Flash and Baja Punch

Main article: Baja Flash
Main article: Baja Punch

In the summer of 2021, PepsiCo released two new flavors, Baja Flash and Baja Punch, alongside the 2021 re-release of Baja Blast. These two new flavors contained unique tropical flavors with Baja Blast-Esque undertones. Baja Flash is inspired by the popular pineapple-coconut drink Piña Colada, and Baja Punch is a tropical fruit punch flavor, with strong notes of cherry and orange.

Baja Mango Gem and Baja Gold

Main article: Baja Mango Gem
Main article: Baja Gold

Similar to 2021 by looks and release, PepsiCo released two new flavors, Baja Mango Gem and Baja Gold, alongside the 2022 re-release of Baja Blast. These two new flavors contained unique tropical flavors with Baja Blast-Esque undertones. Baja Gold is a pineapple drink, and Baja Mango Gem is a mango flavor.

Hard Mountain Dew Baja Blast

Main article: Hard Mountain Dew

A logo for Hard Mountain Dew Baja Blast was initially leaked in late 2021, and the flavor was officially announced on Twitter in January 2022. It is sugar and caffeine free, and contains 5% alcohol. Hard Baja Blast was released on February 22, 2022 alongside Original, Black Cherry, and Watermelon, and is currently only available in a handful of states in the US.

Mountain Dew Energy (Baja Blast)

Main article: Mountain Dew Energy (Baja Blast)

In March 2022, it was leaked on the r/MountainDew Reddit that an energy variation of Baja Blast would be planning alongside the correlation in the release of Gold, Mango Gem, Blast and its zero sugar variant. The Energy variant released in June 2022.

Annual Limited-Time retail releases

2014 Original Limited-Time store release

Main article: Baja or Bust

In early 2014, after a successful decade of Taco Bell exclusivity, PepsiCo announced Baja Blast was to be released for the first time at retail stores. The drink was released for a limited time in the summer of 2014. To celebrate it's 10-year anniversary release, a promotion named "Baja or Bust" coincided with the release, which gave fans the opportunity to win Baja Blast-themed prizes.

Several leaks confirmed the drink's store release, as well as its release timing. It was eventually officially confirmed that it would be rolling out in stores on May 5th, 2014, and remained available for the summer until October that year.

2015 Limited-Time store release

After its first successful retail release in 2014, PepsiCo decided to re-release Baja Blast once again for a limited time for the Summer of 2015. This release also featured Sangrita Blast, an all-new Taco Bell original flavor. The two flavors were released for the summer on April 20th, 2015. This remains the only store release of Sangrita Blast, which remained at Taco Bell locations until 2017.

2016 Limited-Time store release

Main article: DEWcision 2016

In 2016, PepsiCo held DEWcision 2016, a promotion which pitted Baja Blast, returning to store shelves, against Pitch Black, another cult-classic Dew flavor. The winner of DEWcision 2016 was to be made the next permanent Dew flavor on store shelves. A national voting session was held for fans to vote on their favorite of the two flavors. Long-time Baja Blast fans had waited for this moment to come, and took it to the next level with Twitter hashtags and challenges issued by Mountain Dew. Unfortunately, Baja Blast lost to Pitch Black by a small margin, and was once again discontinued from retail sales, leaving Pitch Black as the new permanent flavor.

2018 Limited-Time store release

Main article: Dew Nation Rewards

After Baja Blast's loss in DEWcision, 2017 did not feature a retail release. In its place, a new summer flavor, DEW-S-A, was released.

On September 1st, 2017, the official Mountain Dew Twitter account posted, asking fans to show their support for a future Baja Blast retail release, using the hashtag #BringBajaBlastBack. The demand was high, and Baja Blast once more released in stores on April 23rd, 2018, and remained available for the summer. Since 2018, Baja Blast has been a consistently recurring yearly release.

2019 Limited-Time store release

Baja Blast was once again rereleased in 2019; however, its standard limited-time summer release window was reduced to make room for another limited-time summer drink, Liberty Brew. It was released in stores for a limited time on March 11th, 2019, until the start of June 2019 when it was discontinued.

In August 2019, Baja Blast was released in 24-packs for the first time as a limited-time Sam's Club exclusive.

2020 Limited-Time store release

On August 19th, 2019, the Dew Drinker Discord leaked details on Baja Blast's 2020 retail release. The drink would be making a return to store shelves in the spring of 2020, alongside its zero-sugar variant Baja Blast Zero Sugar.

On October 30th, 2019, it was confirmed by a Pepsi employee on the Dew Drinker Discord that Baja Blast and its Zero Sugar variant would hit store shelves on March 23rd, 2020, for ten weeks.

In spring of 2020, Baja Blast and Baja Blast Zero Sugar were once again released, remaining on store shelves until June 2020, when it was once again discontinued to make room for Liberty Brew.

2021 Limited-Time store release

Main article: 100 Days of Baja

On October 8th, 2020, a leaked internal reel video surfaced, showing upcoming plans for the Mountain Dew brand for 2021. This video reaffirmed much of the previously-leaked information for 2021, including Baja Blast's imminent rerelease, alongside the existence of both Baja Flash and Baja Punch. The video also highlighted a new promotion, 100 Days of Baja. This release had a massive design overhaul, featuring tropical waves in the background and a teal bottle cap, instead of the black cap of previous releases.

Baja Blast was released in early summer of 2021, alongside its Zero Sugar variant, Baja Flash and Baja Punch. The 100 Days of Baja promotion also took place, running until September 2021, when the drinks and the promotion were discontinued.

2022 Limited-Time store release

Main article: The Lost Treasures of Baja Island

Baja Blast was released in early summer of 2022, alongside its Zero Sugar variant, Baja Mango Gem and Baja Gold. The Lost Treasures of Baja Island promotion also took place, running until at the end of summer.

International release

Canadian Taco Bell release

On April 27th, 2018, the Canadian Taco Bell division announced that Baja Blast would become exclusively available at Canadian Taco Bell restaurant locations, making this release of Baja Blast the first time it would get released in a country outside of the United States. As such, the medium-sized paper cup has a Baja Blast-inspired design, with a cyan face and an all-black Baja Blast logo in the center. The large-sized cup, however, is based on the original Mountain Dew design.

Permanent Canadian store release

On January 3rd, 2019, in a r/MountainDew Reddit post, a Canadian retail release of Baja Blast was leaked by Reddit user Flashpath, showing an image of a promotional sign advertising the drink's release on January 27th, 2019. It released in both 20-ounce bottles and 12 packs of 355mL (12-ounce) cans.

Later that year, the official Canadian Mountain Dew Instagram account posted "Available forever? Who's to say?" next to an image of a Baja Blast bottle. The drink was later confirmed as a permanent part of the Canadian Mtn Dew lineup.

In 2019, a freeze variant made its way to select Canadian Taco Bell locations.

In the middle of 2020, due to an aluminum can shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the production of 12 packs of cans was temporarily halted. The 20-ounce bottles have continued to be produced.

In late 2020, Activision's Call of Duty: Cold War had a promotion to grant players extra in-game points for redeeming a code included in specially marked Baja Blast bottles. These bottles had a slightly different label and an orange cap instead of the standard black one. This promotion returned in late 2021, tying in with Call of Duty Vanguard.

2021 Baja Flash/Punch Canadian Limited-Time store release

In 2021, shortly after the American release of Baja Punch and Baja Flash, the two flavors were also released in Canada. The two drinks were exclusively sold at Canadian Circle K and Couche Tard convenience stores from late May 2021 to September 2021, in individual 16-ounce King Cans and 12 packs of 16-ounce cans.

Despite this release, there were no 16-ounce cans of Baja Blast to go alongside the two. The American release of Baja Blast also had a massive design overhaul, which still has yet to be updated for the Canadian version, a design unchanged since 2019. Halfway through the season, Baja Punch was later released in 20-ounce bottles for a limited time, no longer as a specific store exclusive.

Trivia

  • Baja Blast is the first Franchise Exclusive flavor. Similar to Code Red's impact of inspiring new flavors on the main lineup, Baja Blast followed suit to inspire new franchise exclusive flavors along the way, which didn't take off until nowadays, such as the creation of these flavors like 2021's Thrashed Apple.
    • Franchise exclusive flavors have become a staple of Mountain Dew's lineup because they create opportunities to have a business bond between the franchisee and PepsiCo. After the discontinuation of underperforming flavors back in 2019, PepsiCo thought to make new flavors exclusive to a franchise without overpacking store shelves, which explains the underperforming flavors.
  • Baja Blast is one of the prime interests in the classic YouTube prank video "Operation: Soda Steal," as it was still a Taco Bell exclusive drink in 2008 when the video was made.
  • Like the soda, the freeze version of Baja Blast is the only Mountain Dew freeze available exclusively at U.S. and CA Taco Bell restaurants.
  • Until Baja Blast's first official market release in the summer of 2014, many people had speculated on the internet whether such a release would ever take place, and numerous images of fake bottles had circulated over time.
  • Baja Blast's name originates from Baja California, a Mexican state off the southern coast of California. The state is known for its countless beaches.
  • The Dew Drinker Discord server has continuously leaked information regarding Baja Blast's re-releases months in advance.
  • In The Philippines, Taco Bell released a drink titled Aqua Blast in 2019. It has an adjacent familiar aquamarine appearance and similar branding to Baja Blast, but lacks any Mountain Dew branding.
  • 2021 flavors, Flash and Punch were originally called "Baja Blast Pineapple Punch" and "Baja Blast Tahitian Twist." These names were scrapped, potentially due to their long length and due to "Tahitian Twist" being overly similar to the Canada Dry drink "Tahitian Treat."
  • In comparison, the names Baja Blast and Dollar General's Franchise Exclusive 2019 flavor, Maui Burst, both have a similar ring of titles. Though sufficient.

Links

References

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