Whatever Became Of Jolt Cola?

The 1990s were a very epically-branded era in snacks and soft drinks. But few products define that time like Jolt Cola. In some ways, the '90s wave of snacks and drinks never truly died, as many favorites from that era are still going strong today. But for every success like Fruit by the Foot, there was also a Fruitopia. There were products that burned bright in the 1990s before permanently flamed out in the 2000s. Did we all get less extreme in the new millennium? Or did the fans of ultra-caffeinated beverages get old enough to switch to drinks with alcohol in them?

Jolt was actually born a bit before its defining decade, with Mental Floss reporting that it launched in 1985. Boasting real sugar and double the caffeine content of competing colas, Jolt was meant to be an active rejection of new health-conscious sodas and artificial sweeteners that were beginning to transform the soda pop market. It had a brief moment in the sun, including an appearance in the 1990s film "Jurassic Park," before it faded in popularity as new energy drinks started to appear over the coming decade. Still, Jolt managed to hang on for longer than you might expect before finally succumbing to the inevitable march of time and soft drink innovation. So why is Jolt no longer with us today?

Jolt Cola went bankrupt in 2009

A unique drink found itself with an equally distinctive death, and that is what Jolt had. According to Food & Wine, Jolt filed for bankruptcy in 2009 after being unable to pay for an order of custom cans. The Rochester Business Journal reports that in 2005, Jolt went to a manufacturer to create a new resealable bottle that looked like a battery. The deal required Jolt to pay for 90 million cans, even if business wasn't high enough to justify it. And that's exactly what happened as competition from energy drinks combined with the late 2000s recession drove down what was left of Jolt's sales. The cost of the cans was too much for the faltering company to handle and put the last nail in the brand's coffin.

That wasn't quite the end of Jolt's story, however. As Today reported, the highly-caffeinated cola made a surprising comeback in 2017. The relaunched Jolt was an exclusive item at Dollar General, with its now 16-ounce cans containing four times as much caffeine as a can of Coke or Pepsi. So how did the relaunch fare? Well, there is no official announcement of it being discontinued. However, Dollar General's website does not list it as available, and Jolt's website is nothing but a series of empty black screens. So it may be safe to assume that the relaunch is not faring well. It looks like anyone looking for their high-octane cola fix will have to settle for eBay.