Mug Root Beer Zero Sugar Is Coming for Your Sugar-Free Floats

Remember Mug Root Beer? It used to be the root beer known as “the dog one” or “one of the cheaper ones” or “like A&W but not that one, the other one.” However, Mug and its iconic mascot “Dog”—yes, that is his actual name—recently made a niche for themselves. Where, you ask? Online, of course. That’s right Mug has been going viral for doing unspeakable things with root beer on Instagram and TikTok, and you know what? They may not be the hero the world wants right now, but they are apparently the hero the we need, because these insane videos with Dog the Dog and unhinged uses for Mug Root Beer have been racking up views in a big way. But that’s not the news. That’s not why you came here. The news is that Mug, this very week, is releasing Mug Root Beer Zero Sugar and, honestly, we’re pretty stoked.

Should we be stoked about Zero Sugar Mug Root Beer? What abominable root beer creation has Mug posted to Instagram today? And most importantly, why in the world did they name their iconic dog “Dog”?

Here’s the thing. If you are anything like me, at this point, there is a tickle in the back of your brain saying, “Hold on, wasn’t there a diet Mug around for a pretty dang long time before now?” And to that tickle I would say, yes, you are absolutely correct. It was introduced back in the 1960s as “Sugar-Free Mug,” later became “Diet Mug,” and has been around since then, even though people mistakenly thought it was discontinued in the past few years due to out-of-stocks and supply chain shortages. From what I can tell, new Mug Zero Sugar has replaced Diet Mug on the PepsiCo website, but according to a publicist, Diet Mug hasn’t been discontinued and will coexist with this new Mug Zero Sugar. Which makes me wonder: What’s the difference between the two? According to this side-by-side image of both cans someone posted to Reddit, it would seem there are a couple of not insignificant differences, mainly that the ingredients are in a different order (implying different ratios in the recipe) and that the diet version was sweetened only with aspartame, while the zero sugar version contains aspartame, as well as acesulfame potassium and sucralose. So if any of those names make you more or less likely to choose a beverage, just know that is the difference. But people loved Diet Mug, so I have high hopes for this zero-sugar version. Not only that, but Mug was Sporked’s favorite mainstream root beer brand in our taste test, so we expect great things from them.

As for why the dog is named Dog…we may never know. Someday maybe I’ll have a child, name it “Child,” and see if I start to pick up what Mug is putting down. But until then, I’ll just enjoy watching their Instagram, where they boil ramen noodles in root beer and someone runs around in a dog mask sticking whole ice cream cones into tall glasses of Mug like a maniac.

About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.

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