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Pitch Black

Pitch Black was a Mountain Dew flavor released for the Halloween season of 2004. It had many limited-time releases and eventually became a "permanent" flavor until 2021[1]. It returned for a brief limited-time release in January 2023[2]. After that, the only production of Pitch Black was in certain gas stations as an Exclusive fountain flavor until January 2024[3] and now remains available in some countries.

Description[]

Pitch Black was a Dark Citrus Punch (Black Grape) flavor of Mountain Dew, and its name implied having complete darkness as intended to be a dark purple color. Additionally, a sequel flavor, Pitch Black II, had the same Black Grape flavor as its prequel but had a "sour bite."

Tagline[]

United States[]

Its tagline during its many re-releases from 2004 to 2011 was "DEW with a Blast of Black Grape with Other Natural Flavors."

Since 2015, the tagline branding of Pitch Black has been entirely removed, while websites such as PepsiCo Product Facts[4] referred to it as a Citrus and Dark Fruit flavor.

Since 2023, the tagline was added back to reflect the limited-time January 2023 release as "DEW with a Blast of Dark Citrus Punch Flavor with Other Natural Flavors."

Canada[]

Its tagline is the same as its U.S. counterpart of the Halloween 2004 release.

Its tagline during its permanent 2023 release was simplified to "Citrus Punch" in English or "Punch aux agrumes" in French. However, it is still otherwise referred to as being "Black Grape flavored."[5]

International[]

Internationally, its catchphrase is "DEW with a Punch of Grape Citrus Flavour."

Flavor profile description changes[]

The various changes in Pitch Black's flavor description were due to it being a Black Grape flavored soda, as grape-flavored sodas tend to be somewhat polarizing to many people.

Because of that, it seems that PepsiCo tried to change the description of the flavor to make it seem appetizing, such as "Citrus and Dark Fruit" (2015 - 2021), "Dark Citrus Punch" (2023 - Present). In spite of this, the flavor's actual formulation didn't change.

As the flavor's description was changed, many people were conflicted as to whether or not the flavor formulation did change, with the latter being the case[6]. While Pitch Black is a grape-flavored soda, it has attracted many fans who otherwise would not like Grape sodas.

History[]

2004 Original Limited-Time store release[]

Pitch Black was released for a limited time throughout stores nationwide in the United States from August 21st, 2004, to October 31st, 2004 [7] for the Halloween season. During its limited-time run, its popularity proved very successful, and PepsiCo noted its popularity and decided to release a modified version for the next Halloween season.

2005 Sequel Limited-Time store release[]

Main article: Pitch Black II

After the massively successful limited-time release of Pitch Black in 2004, a sequel named Pitch Black II with the same Black Grape flavoring but added a "sour bite," was released the year after. It was released from August 2005[8] to November 2005 for a limited-time 10-week period. Since sour candy was popular in the early 2000s, PepsiCo reformulated Pitch Black to slightly alter its flavor to build upon Pitch Black's success and the popularity of sour candy.

2011 Back by Popular DEWmand Limited-Time release[]

Main article: Back by Popular DEWmand

After popular demand to bring back some discontinued flavors, PepsiCo announced[9] the limited-time return of 2004's Pitch Black[10], 2008's Supernova[11], and 2010's Typhoon[12]. As part of the Back by Popular DEWmand promotion, all three flavors were officially released on May 16th, 2011 over the Summer until July of that year.

During the limited-time 2011 Back by Popular DEWmand release, all three flavors had two promotional programs, namely Loot for Labels and the DEW All-Stars.

2015 Giveaway[]

In early-December 2015[13], PepsiCo decided to giveaway Pitch Black that 1,050 people would have the chance to win a unique limited run of fifteen 12-ounce bottles of Pitch Black by posting why they wanted Pitch Black and using the hashtag #WeWantPitchBlack in the post. The sweepstakes promotion started on December 3rd until December 5th, when 350 people a day would win it. After the sweepstakes promotion, the winners received a package about a week after the sweepstakes concluded[14].

2016 Limited-Time store release[]

Main article: DEWcision 2016

In 2016, PepsiCo announced[15] DEWcision 2016, a promotion that pitted Pitch Black, returning to store shelves, against Baja Blast, 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 Pitch Black fans had waited for this moment to come and took it to the next level with Twitter hashtags and challenges issued by Mountain Dew. Alas, Baja Blast lost to Pitch Black by a small margin[16] and was again discontinued from retail sales, leaving Pitch Black as the new "permanent" flavor. Pitch Black was re-released officially to stores on December 5th[17] of that year.

After DEWcision 2016, its popularity in 2017 was stable enough as it had $38 million in sales, while Black Label had $32 million in sales.[18]

2019 - 2022 Sporadic availability[]

In March 2019, Pitch Black, along with many other underperforming flavors (namely Real Sugar, Diet Code Red, Citrus Cherry, White Out, Caffeine-Free Mountain Dew, and Caffeine-Free Diet Mountain Dew), were discontinued in most regions.

Currently, all flavors are completely discontinued except for Game Fuel (Citrus Cherry) which returned in 2023 for a limited time and is planning to be released later this year with Game Fuel (Midnight Mission). Additionally, Code Red Zero Sugar is still available, but its availability is very regional.

Pitch Black 12-packs were discontinued entirely, and 20-ounce bottles followed shortly afterward in early 2021[19]. After this, the only production of Pitch Black was in soda fountains of certain convenience stores (technically a Franchise Exclusive fountain drink) until January 2024, when Team Supernova[20] announced that Fountain Pitch Black is completely discontinued[21].

2023 Limited-Time store release[]

Pitch Black's 2023 re-release was first leaked on a deleted r/MountainDew Reddit post[22] on August 7th, 2022, detailing PepsiCo's plans and release schedule for 2023 of the majority of flavors. The detailed leak here is as follows: HoneyDEW, Cobra Cane, Summer 2023's Baja Blast, VooDEW (2023), and a DEWcision 2023 promotion of Typhoon and Pitch Black. Most of these were canceled except for the Summer release of Baja Blast and the Halloween release VooDEW (2023), both of which ended up being released that year.

Pitch Black was planning to be released on January 1st, 2023[23], alongside its Zero Sugar variant, and Pitch Black ENERGY. However, it was pushed back and was instead released on January 16th,[24] where it ran until March of that year.

2024 Pitch Black Eclipse Edition[]

On April 8th, 2024, the official Mountain Dew Twitter account announced[25] that they would be giving out a pair of a special edition of Pitch Black "Eclipse Edition bottles," to fans who shared a photograph to show how dark it is outside when they're at. The fans have to tag the official Mountain Dew Twitter account and would also have to use the hashtags #MtnDewPitchBlack and #Sweepstakes to be eligible to enter. The sweepstakes happened on the same day as the Solar Eclipse, and ended on the next day.

Variants[]

Pitch Black Zero Sugar[]

In March 2020[26], a listing[27] on the official PepsiCo Beverage Facts website was discovered of Pitch Black Zero Sugar. However, it did not show a render of the drink. Fans were skeptical if this would become available or not. The website indicates that this flavor would be exclusively available to Speedway gas stations in the United States, but it never came to fruition.

On June 22nd, 2022, PepsiCo updated the trademark for Pitch Black, "MTN DEW PITCH BLACK"[28], and then posted a new trademark for "MTN DEW ZERO SUGAR PITCH BLACK."[29]

Pitch Black Zero Sugar saw its first and only retail limited-time release in 2023 alongside Pitch Black with its ENERGY variant. After that, it was the only time that Zero Sugar was available.

Mountain Dew Energy (Pitch Black)[]

Main article: Mountain Dew Energy (Pitch Black)

On June 22nd, 2022, PepsiCo ran an advertisement [30] that featured a poll aimed at the r/MountainDew subreddit to see which popular flavor the community would like to see to have an Energy version created. The flavors featured were Spark, Typhoon, Major Melon, VooDEW, Code Red, Voltage, and Pitch Black.

Pitch Black was the most popular vote out of the featured flavors. Since then, Pitch Black ENERGY saw its first and only retail limited-time release in 2023 alongside Pitch Black with its Zero Sugar variant. After that, it was the only time that Energy was available.

It was the third Mountain Dew Energy to be based on an existing Mountain Dew flavor.

International release[]

Canada[]

Pitch Black was released in Canada in Halloween 2004, the same year it was released in the United States. However, unlike the U.S. version, the Canadian version was sold without caffeine due to laws preventing caffeine from being added to non-dark soft drinks at the time of its release. It was known as Alerte Noire (Black Alert) in French.

After nineteen years of no signs of Pitch Black's return, Mountain Dew Canada confirmed on Instagram[31] that Pitch Black would release first at Circle K on January 15th, 2023. Unlike the 2004 release, it has caffeine, and the name "Alerte Noire" was dropped. The flavor tagline was updated to say "Citrus Punch," similar to its American counterpart, or "Punch aux agrumes." It was later confirmed that Pitch Black had joined the lineup as a permanent flavor in Canada.

South Korea[]

Pitch Black was released in South Korea as "마운틴듀 와일드블랙" (Mountain Dew Wild Black) for the Summer of 2006 to coincide with the "Be the Racer" promotion and was sold in 250ml (8-ounce) cans and 500ml (16.9-ounce) bottles. The packaging branded it with "A Blast of Grape."[32] This drink's release used the 2005-2009 logo, and its label art was similar to that of Pitch Black II.

There's not much currently known about this release, and it was presumably released for only a short time. It was likely to be discontinued sometime in the Mid-2000s.

New Zealand[]

Pitch Black was introduced in New Zealand in 2011, alongside LiveWire and Electro Shock. The New Zealand release was the first version of Pitch Black to use the international "Grape Citrus" formula that was later used in Asian countries.

In 2012, it was later discontinued and replaced by Passionfruit Frenzy, a new flavor available exclusively in New Zealand.

Malaysia[]

In 2013, Pitch Black was released in Malaysia alongside LiveWire by Permanis Malaysia, later named Etika Holdings.[33]

In 2014, DEWmocracy Malaysia took place. This promotion held an opportunity for LiveWire and Pitch Black, alongside newcomer Blue Shock, to be the country's favorite DEW flavor in a national voting session for fans to vote on their favorite of the three flavors. After a long, steady battle, LiveWire and Pitch Black lost to Blue Shock.

In 2021, Pitch Black, in addition to the regular variety, underwent a "half-diet" formula change, with the Sugar content being reduced by half and the addition of the artificial sweeteners Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium in order to reduce calories. Blue Shock, on the other hand, retains its original full-sugar recipe.

Singapore[]

In 2013, DEWmocracy Singapore took place. The promotion pitted Pitch Black against the classic flavor LiveWire to be the next permanent Dew flavor in a national voting session where fans could vote on their favorite of the two flavors. After a long, steady battle, Pitch Black was announced as the winner in a live announcement on November 1st, 2013, and became a permanent flavor soon afterward.

As of 2021, Pitch Black remains a current flavor, as it is listed on Etika Holdings' website. [34]

The Philippines[]

In 2014, both Pitch Black and LiveWire were released for a limited time of the summer season. Both flavors again returned for the summers of 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Pakistan[]

In 2016, DEWmocracy Pakistan took place, which introduced Pitch Black, Blue Shock, and LiveWire into the country. The promotion pitted all three flavors in a battle to be the next permanent Dew flavor in a national voting session where fans could vote on their favorite of the three flavors. After a long, steady battle, Pitch Black was announced as the winner in a live announcement on August 1st, 2016, and became a new permanent flavor.

After the DEWmocracy, there have not been any other updates for Pitch Black still being available in Pakistan in recent times. However, it appears to have been discontinued (although unconfirmed), as it was last seen shortly after the promotion.

Freeze release[]

(2005, 2006, 2019) 7-Eleven[]

In the Summer of 2005, a Slurpee variant of Pitch Black named Darth Dew was released for a limited time, intended to promote the theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. It lasted until the end of summer.

At the beginning of October 2006, select participating 7-Eleven locations began offering the original, non-sour Pitch Black for a limited time, operating as "Mountain Dew Pitch Black Freeze," which lasted until the end of October 2006.

In early 2019, Pitch Black was then spotted in 7-Eleven stores as Slurpee[35], though this release did not last that long.

(2016 - 2017) Speedway[]

In January 2016, the Speedy Freeze variant of Pitch Black was released for a limited time through June 2016 in some Speedway locations.

(2017) Walmart[]

In early 2017, Pitch Black received[36] a limited-time Walmart release in their minimart gas stations from early 2017 through April 30th, 2017.

(2018) Maverik[]

In 2018, it was released in Maverik gas station locations and was discontinued a few months after its release.

(2019) Thornton's[]

In May 2019, it released in Thornton's[37] gas station locations, and like any other Freeze/Slurpee release, it was discontinued a few months after its release.

(2023 - 2024) 7-Eleven and Speedway[]

On August 16th, 2023, Team Supernova announced that a Pitch Black Slurpee would be releasing for a limited time only at Speedway and 7-Eleven locations. It was released in late August for a limited time until the end of January 2024[38].

Soda Fountain release[]

(2016 - 2019) Speedway[]

In January 2016[39], Pitch Black was exclusively released as a Franchise Exclusive flavor to Speedway locations on their Club Chill soda fountain format, and the Speedy Freeze format for a limited time.

On April 13th, 2019, Speedway's social networking team confirmed that Pitch Black was replaced by Cyclone as the new exclusive Dew flavor, which was itself later replaced at some locations with Major Melon.

(2016 - 2020) Circle K[]

In July 2016, it was reported that Pitch Black had arrived at select Circle K convenience store locations as a fountain drink (and in some locations as a Froster Freeze until the end of 2018). However, 2020's introduction Mountain Dew Zero Sugar was released in most Circle K convenience stores alike and replaced Pitch Black alongside Mountain Dew Ice.

(2016 - 2022) Maverik[]

In July 2016, Pitch Black arrived at some Maverik store locations as a fountain drink. It is also available at most other gas stations in Utah. On June 13th, 2022[40], Maverik announced that they were no longer getting Pitch Black due to the manufacturer discontinuing it. It was replaced by Spark in most Maverik and other gas station locations.

(2017) Blake's Lotaburger[]

In December 2017[41], Pitch Black arrived at Blake's Lotaburger locations. It is unclear if it's still available at any locations.

(2018 - 2024) Sheetz[]

In April 2018, Pitch Black arrived at select Sheetz convenience store locations as a fountain drink. On August 30th, 2022, the official Sheetz Twitter account confirmed[42] that they are still carrying it.

On January 16th, 2024, Team Supernova announced[43] that Fountain Pitch Black was discontinued alongside Atomic Blue as confirmed[44] by Sheetz's social networking team. After that statement, Pitch Black in all capacities in the U.S. are fully discontinued.

(2018 - 2020) Kum & Go[]

In May 2018, Pitch Black arrived in most Kum & Go convenience store locations as a fountain drink. In May 2020, Pitch Black was replaced by Atomic Blue as the new exclusive Dew flavor in some Kum & Go locations, which was in turn later replaced at some locations with Major Melon.

(2016 - 2022) Select Convenience Stores[]

Throughout many years of its availability, Pitch Black was released in other select regional convenience stores across the United States. Most of these releases were short-lived, meaning that Pitch Black made a release in a certain franchise, but there was little to document.

These conclusive franchises that have Pitch Black in soda fountains were Chevron[45], Sinclair[46], Cumberland Farms, Pilot/Flying J, Stewart's, and several other unverifiable locations. Due to Fountain Pitch Black being discontinued, it is no longer available at these locations.

Trivia[]

  • This flavor was the first Halloween-themed flavor to release, the second being Pitch Black II, the third being VooDEW (2019), the fourth being VooDEW (2020), the fifth being VooDEW (2021), the sixth being VooDEW (2022), the seventh being VooDEW (2023), and the eighth being VooDEW (2024).
  • The Creature From The Black Lagoon, or "Gillman," was somewhat of a mascot for Pitch Black & Pitch Black II as it appeared in several advert pieces holding the soda in the 2000s.
  • It was one of the most frequently reappearing 'Limited Time' flavors, counting spinoff flavors and various international appearances.
  • Pitch Black was a permanent flavor in New Zealand until it was replaced with Passionfruit Frenzy. However, LiveWire and Code Red still remain available. Voltage (which goes under the name "Electro Shock") remained a permanent flavor until 2014, when it was replaced by White Out.
  • Pitch Black is the second LTO in the United States to become permanent in Canada, the first being Baja Blast.
  • Aside from Mountain Dew, Pitch Black is the most widely available flavor variant, currently released in four countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Canada)
    • The second most widely available flavor is Major Melon (United States, Canada, Honduras, and Australia)
  • This flavor is the third flavor to win a vote in the United States to become a permanent flavor and later be discontinued, after Diet Supernova and White Out.
  • Pitch Black is one of many grape-flavored Mountain Dew variants (see "Similar Flavors" in the infobox).
  • Contrary to popular belief and much contention, the only reformulation that Pitch Black has received is the removal of BVO. While the flavor tagline was updated, Pitch Black's formula was not changed.
  • A bottle of Pitch Black can be seen on the art of Baja Deep Dive. Whether this is meant to be a simple reference/cameo or has to do with the flavor itself remains unknown.

References[]

  1. https://www.reddit.com/r/mountaindew/comments/m2vvef/pitch_black_is_actually_gone_now/
  2. https://twitter.com/MountainDew/status/1608508371044286464
  3. https://twitter.com/TeamSupernovaFB/status/1747370284959609073
  4. https://www.pepsicoproductfacts.com/Home/Product?formula=F0000003954&form=FTN&size=12
  5. https://www.corwinbevco.com/product-guide.pdf
  6. https://twitter.com/TeamSupernovaFB/status/1620284046768214018
  7. https://money.cnn.com/2004/08/06/news/fortune500/pepsi/
  8. https://www.brinksmarket.com/dew/pitchblackII.htm
  9. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mountain-dew-fans-get-what-they-dewmand-122876279.html
  10. https://www.facebook.com/mountaindew/photos/pb.100064874224675.-2207520000/10150098623006489/
  11. https://www.facebook.com/mountaindew/photos/pb.100064874224675.-2207520000/10150192439596489/
  12. https://www.facebook.com/mountaindew/photos/pb.100064874224675.-2207520000/10150178820421489/
  13. https://www.facebook.com/mountaindew/photos/the-vault-is-still-open-but-not-for-long-its-day-2-of-our-mtn-dew-pitch-black-sw/10153769248441489
  14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXthkbBooiY
  15. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dear-dew-nation-dewcision-2016-gives-you-the-power-to-choose-between-two-legendary-dew-flavors-300255397.html
  16. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dew-nation-has-spoken-pitch-black-voted-winner-in-dewcision-2016-300300004.html
  17. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv2sGUTjjsg
  18. https://csnews.com/beverages-snacks-dominate-2017s-most-successful-c-store-new-products
  19. https://www.reddit.com/r/mountaindew/comments/m2vvef/pitch_black_is_actually_gone_now/
  20. https://twitter.com/TeamSupernovaFB
  21. https://twitter.com/TeamSupernovaFB/status/1747370284959609073
  22. https://www.reddit.com/r/mountaindew/comments/wihrpg/2023_potential_lineup/
  23. https://www.reddit.com/r/mountaindew/comments/yvzsb8/pitch_black_1123/
  24. https://twitter.com/MountainDew/status/1608508371044286464
  25. https://twitter.com/MountainDew/status/1777335601622052993
  26. https://www.reddit.com/r/mountaindew/comments/flmbyy/the_nutrition_page_for_pitch_black_fountain_drink/
  27. https://www.pepsicobeveragefacts.com/Home/product?formula=F0000003954&form=FTN&size=12&PBF
  28. https://uspto.report/TM/87005546
  29. https://uspto.report/TM/97471008
  30. https://www.reddit.com/user/mountaindewenergy/comments/viehwi/poll_now_that_baja_blast_has_joined_the_mtn_dew/
  31. https://www.instagram.com/p/CnNQZS3oljZ/?hl=en
  32. https://www.thinkfood.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=18372
  33. https://www.etikaholdings.com/brands/mountain-dew
  34. https://www.etikaholdings.com/brands/mountain-dew
  35. https://www.reddit.com/r/mountaindew/comments/amgdwt/pitch_black_slurpee_at_my_local_711/
  36. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YUIk8XXK6s
  37. https://www.reddit.com/r/mountaindew/comments/buxqwf/spotted_this_at_my_local_thorntons/
  38. https://twitter.com/TeamSupernovaFB/status/1744119601602916598
  39. https://csnews.com/speedway-adds-cult-classic-fountain
  40. https://twitter.com/maverik/status/1536383845330583553?s=21&t=OYGt77vyEnxGKVShA3V2Lw
  41. https://www.facebook.com/blakeslota/photos/a.268093496566227/1758335674208661/
  42. https://twitter.com/TeamSupernovaFB/status/1564675387082293252
  43. https://twitter.com/TeamSupernovaFB/status/1747370284959609073
  44. https://twitter.com/TeamSupernovaFB/status/1745863856402964711
  45. https://www.reddit.com/r/mountaindew/comments/qgai67/pitch_black_is_on_tap_at_three_different_gas/
  46. [https://www.reddit.com/r/mountaindew/comments/c69suh/at_a_sinclair_in_utah_just_got_past_idaho_im_not
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