When Crystal Pepsi came out in 1992, it was obvious that the human race could achieve anything it put its collective mind to, just like the moon landing.
Upon taking our first sips of this clear, oddly non-caffeinated goodness, we exclaimed, “What the what? This tastes like Pepsi…but it looks like the future!” On a personal note, it remains the only Pepsi product I actively enjoy.
At Northside Middle School, everyone went to Pizza Hut after school dances. My group (the non-popular, but generally accepted, gifted-and-talented set) established ourselves at the Nichol Avenue location after realizing that the overtly popular group had staked its claim on Broadway. The dozen-or-so of us had a set order: Two pitchers of Crystal Pepsi, two pitchers of Mountain Dew, a large Cheese Lovers, and a large Pepperoni Lovers. We would toast our general fabulousness well into the wee hours (about 10 p.m.), before the caravan of minivans arrived out front to take us home.
Of course, the joys of Crystal Pepsi went far beyond the level of libation. Its commercial and pop culture presence was immortalized by Van Halen’s “Right Now.” A catchy and “deep” single in its own right, “Right Now” had a cool, futuristic, call-to-action video, and the Crystal Pepsi commercials extended those themes.
It’s impossible to believe that Crystal Pepsi only had a yearlong run. But like many other now-defunct glories from my youth, I’m glad it is no longer available—it helps preserve the perfection of those adult-free, intrigue-filled nights at Pizza Hut, when no one even thought about calories.