An Honest Review of Starry, PepsiCo’s New Lemon-Lime Soda

Can a soda be cool? I’m asking you because I’m a 40-year-old woman and I have aged out of knowing or having to know what’s cool (this is what I tell myself, anyway). Let’s take a look back … Pepsi was cool when Britney Spears was its spokesperson, even though everyone in the world was like, girl, you don’t drink Pepsi. And Mtn Dew is sort of perpetually cool by virtue of being what kids guzzle at sleepovers to stay awake all night, at least until they can start buying drugs from a cousin or older sibling.

Okay, we all agree soda can be cool, and that’s good news for PepsiCo, because they released a new soda that’s ~ for the kids ~ called Starry. That’s right. Pepsi up and discontinued Sierra Mist—much to the chagrin of some people somewhere, I’m sure—and stocked shelves with this new lemon-lime soda, which the brand says is “built for Generation Z.” “With Starry, we were able to create a game-changing recipe with the perfect balance of lemon-lime flavor and sweetness compared to the competition,” PepsiCo R&D vice prez Danielle Barbaro told Food Business News (and, as you may have guessed, Sprite is the “competition” in question). Is it better than Sierra Mist? Is it Gen-Z-ier than Sprite? Who better than a Millennial who almost never drinks full-sugar soda to tell you?!

starry new product review

New Product!

Starry

As a person who is old and stodgy, I gotta say, Sierra Mist was pretty old and stodgy in a way Starry definitely is not. Sierra Mist sounds like moonshine for the Donner Party. Starry sounds like something you drink before you go get your septum pierced. It’s lemony. It’s limey (although, it’s slightly more limey than lemony). It’s got big ol’ bubbles and it goes down super smooth. It’s sweet but not too sweet—all in all, there’s not a lot to not like (besides the sugar content—dear lord, to be young again and not give a shit).

I can’t say that I’ve ever had a bad lemon-lime soda. More than anything, Starry feels like an exercise in good branding, and in that respect, it’s great.

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks


About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

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  • Gotta say, this feels like a paid promotion. The way Sierra Mist is compared to moonshine for the Donner Party is right out of the rebranding propaganda playbook. I personally dislike the branding, all the way from the font, art, and name. The fact that you have 9.5/10 love for this product seems kind of fishy.

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    • Will Pepsi really pay me to talk about cannibalism? Sign me up!

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      • So much for a decent honest review. You’d rather talk about cannibalism. Obviously you’re down with their fetal cell derived flavoring.

      • I’m impressed with the zero amount of f**ks given by your response. It was funny and haters gonna hate. Keep up the good work. GMM love!

      • What’s wrong with cannibalism in many places across the world parents eat their young. Example hamsters, guppies.

    • I agree with Aaron 🤣🤣

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    • The flavor wasn’t the comparison. It seems like you didn’t actually read that part. It was a good joke about the Sierra Mountains that went over your head.

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    • The real difference is real sugar versus high fructose corn syrup. I’m betting corn syrup is much cheaper than sugar. I prefer sugar and Sierra Mist. Pepsi moving to lower cost and higher profit. I will not be changing to Starry. It will taste like Sprite. Bye, bye Pepsi for me.

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      • Agreed
        I prefer mountain dew kickback
        Sweetened with cane sugar

    • tbh Sierra Mist tastes better, Starry tastes kinda bland tbh, definitely missing an ingredient or 2, doesn’t taste that sweet either tbh

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  • It’s just SLICE, rebranded!! Since they sold the name to another company who changed Slice to a disgusting all natural weird product line, they had to rebrand it under another name. So many people are wrong saying it is Sierra Mist. NOOOOOO!!!! It is NOT!! They are 2 totally different sodas entirely!!!! I remember the taste of SLICE, and THAT….is it!!!!!!!!

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    • If this is true, I need to try it. I miss Slice!

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      • It’s true. Tastes just like Slice and my wife and I love it.

    • I agree it does taste like slice, I would rather have sierra mist

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      • Me too! Sierra Mist was the best! I can still find it occasionally at random stores…

    • I totally agree it is Slice!

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    • Thank you! I did a Google search after trying Starry bc I also believed it is exactly like Slice!

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  • This article managed to say a whole lot of nothing about the product. It didn’t even bother to mention the zero sugar version (after complaining about sugar content). Thanks for that.

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    • I have to agree sh5 not once mentioned zero sugar version I find that odd hmm??

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    • I wish I could find the non zero version lol. I’m sure I would love that one even more!!

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  • If it’s close to being as good as Pepsi’s Teem was, I’ll have to try it.

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  • This review is supposed to be sarcastic i get it. But i feel like you are pushing the sarcasm a bit much. Dont get me wrong i love the writing but it also fucuses more on the negative side of sierra mist than an honest review about the new and improved “starry” aka sprite killer.

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  • As someone who works for Pepsi, I can’t believe they released a soda that sounds like an 8yo named. It tastes just like Sprite but with a store brand name.

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  • Nuts! It’s absolute yuk….back to high fructose and has the highest added sugars of any soda I drink…maybe if it had a natural cane sugar….this won’t last long…rating….2…

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  • Honestly I love starry’s taste. It has a very refreshing crisp taste.

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  • Imagine getting all worked up over a soda. That said…
    It’s not great, it’s not terrible.

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  • Might be the worst review I’ve ever read.

    This “author” could give an aspirin a headache.

    Brittany Spears? Mountain Dew vs drugs on a sleepover?

    Stodgy, septum piercing?

    Trigger words don’t make for a good review. Trying to sound like you don’t know what “cool” is as a 40 year old means you were probably never cool.

    Sweet, but not too sweet. Please tell me you didn’t pay money for this article.

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    • I loved the comparison. It felt real and honest. It was humorous and relatable.

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  • Might be the worst review I’ve ever read.

    This “author” could give an aspirin a headache.

    Brittany Spears? Mountain Dew vs drugs on a sleepover?

    Stodgy, septum piercing?

    Trigger words don’t make for a good review. Trying to sound like you don’t know what “cool” is as a 40 year old means you were probably never cool.

    Sweet, but not too sweet. Please tell me you didn’t pay money for this article.

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  • Not better than Sierra Mist to be honest. Yes it is sweeter, but that is not actually to it’s benefit. Increased sweetness will not compete with Sprite. Sweetness is not what drinkers of lemon-lime soda seek, but rather the refreshing quality which increased sweetness diminishes.

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  • It has CORN SYRUP not sugar

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  • Revise the article and admit is corn syrup NOT sugar.

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  • I’m such a fan of sugar free Sierra Mist and am highly disappointed in Starry. It tastes fruity and too sweet, not much carbonation. I don’t care for Sprite and will probably go to 7-Up.

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  • I actually thought it was a little too light tasting. As in a little bit closer tasting to seltzer water than any lemon lime soda I’ve ever had.

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  • Love starry zero sugar its better then sprite zero

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  • Tried starry it tastes similar to 7up so it’s ok but not as good as sierra mist.

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  • Taste just like Teem in the 70’s which I loved.

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  • I think you found the Sierra Mist fans.

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  • Hell no….bring back Sierra Mist. This Starry junk taste like a very flat Sprite. I gave it a chance, I got a 6pk. I hate it. Guess I will be getting Sprite from now on.

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  • It’s not good. The branding is even worse. If gen-z actually falls for this nonsense they’re even dumber than they’ve been given credit for.

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  • I believe they renamed this soda as a generic store bought soda. It is a corny name . Sounds like a generic . Not impressed bad decision pepsi

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  • If I’m being honest I really don’t like starry I got a six pack zero sugar version. I didn’t even got an lemon or lime taste from it was just sugar water. I’m just going to be buying ginger ale from now on.

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  • It’s nothing new or innovative. Another attempt at taking on sprite. Starry is good. But extremely similar to Sierra mist almost they just renamed it and added a smidge of something else so it “wouldn’t be” sierra mist. To me sierra mist was an ok lemon lime soda. Sprite is still the winner of that category

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  • This is Sierra Mist rebranded look it up… They discontinued it. The only difference is they increased the lemon/lime flavor for a fresher taste. This isn’t slice…. Lol 😆 haters gonna hate…

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  • There are lots of words here but not really a true review of the product.

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  • The name of the soda is weird period . The taste is good but not much change to the Sierra mist taste . But that namevwho ever thought of that should be fired !

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  • All in all I agree with the more line like flavor. It definitely is good. Although I have only had the zero option I do like it… it’s also a wonderful mixer for those of us that like the clear spirits of the adult nature!!

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  • Way way to gassy. That seems to be the trend lately in sodas. Crank up the carbonation so it blocks the taste and the potential discovery of how good or bad it really is.

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  • The name of the soda is kind of like it’s a stoners drink.

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  • Tried “BOTH ” Drinks…..
    Starry Is “OK” But Personally
    I Rather Have Sierra Mist /
    Mist Twist
    Thanks Greggory

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  • Starry zero is awesome 😍

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  • It just doesn’t hit the spot. Sierra mist had a much better taste in my opinion. I definitely will not purchase. I don’t care for sprite but it does have a better flavor. Maybe it’s time to go to 7up at least they don’t change with the wind.

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  • I’ll keep it simple replacing seria mist with this crap you call starry is one of Pepsi’s greatest blunders. Sound advice if it’s not broke don’t think you’re fixing it..in other words STARRY SUCKS

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  • As for the starry soda. Not a big fan of it .my son and I tried it.it was too sweet. So I give this drink a big 0 . This drink won’t last long. I went to stores and gas stations. We seen no one has bought them or it’s not getting bought that much. Again this soda won’t last.

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  • Is it cane sugar or HFCS

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    • Starry uses HCFS unlike Sierra Mist. I think that’s why I felt Sierra Mist was smoother.

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  • I tried it at the request of a friend and my honest review was that it left an aftertaste not dissimilar to styrofoam packing peanuts 🤮

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  • The drink Starry is to sweet.

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  • The thing about Sierra mist it made out of real sugar and has no caffeine there are so people out there that can’t fructose corn syrup because of there kidneys they can only have soda the made out of real sugar and there are soda out there that’s made with real sugar but don’t taste that good like Pepsi with real sugar but can’t have the caffeine

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    • I agree
      I don’t like any no cal sodas and I won’t drink hfcs. What’s left? Sierra Mist

      Whoops. Sierra Mist is gone.
      Ice tea for me!

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  • First off Sierra Mist was, is, & will always be my fav. I always looked forward to the ultimate @ Xmas time when they had the cranberry Flav to it! Broke my heart when I couldn’t find it on the shelves except baby cans once in a while & now completely??😭😡 What’s wrong with u people? But I will be fair & give the new kid on the block a try since at least the name has class! 💫

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  • First off this is my third attempt to try to make a comment because your site keeps erasing my comment before I can hit the post button okay here’s my thought Sierra mist was is and always be my favorite soda I always look forward to Christmas time because I loved cranberry in it now I’m lucky if I can find a mini can of plain old Sierra mist on the shelves so to be honest at least the name has class so I will give it the new kid on the block a try especially since my name is star so that’s all I can do otherwise Sierra mist will always be my favorite

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  • I’m a Coke person but always felt Sprite was too sweet and syrupy. I respected Sierra Mist for the real sugar vs HFCS. I also consider myself at latest a Xennial.

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  • All they did was basically take the real sugar out of Sierra-Mist, replaced it with corn syrup, and change the branding. From what I can tell from reading the label.

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  • Sierra Mist had real sugar. Starry has high fructose corn syrup. It also has a weird aftertaste you didn’t get with Sierra Mist or the competition.

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  • I have had it, and I’m sorry to say but sprite is 200x better tasting.🤣 That’s a Pepsi propaganda review.

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  • This is more like a 7.5/10. It’s OK, but I’m not going to choose it over something obviously superior such as Sprite.

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  • Must be nice to have a job where you get paid to “sample” a shitty soda.

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  • You’re tasting something I’m not tasting. This drink has the most horrible aftertaste I’ve ever experienced. What an embarrassment!! This certainly doesn’t compare to Sprite Zero and certainly isn’t Diet Mountain Dew. Back to the drawing board!!

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  • This new Starry drink is the stupidity of America. Sierra Mist was by far better and tastier. This is way too sweet nothing crisp about it!!! Thank you I will never drink any soda ever. Sierra Mist was my favorite drink. You have ruined it! I get you changing the name but why change the recipe of the soda everyone loved?! The only soda I drank. Dissatisfied don’t recommend the this syrupy beverage! Bye Pepsi. This by far the stupid decision. Bring back Sierra Mist!!

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  • Nasty

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  • I actually love starry. I already have a refrigerator full of cans and bottles. I have medical issues that doesnt allow me to consume dark colored beverages. In my opinion. Starry does go down very smooth, also does not leave that heavy syrupy taste on the back of your tongue. Like Sierra Mist and Spril and 7up does. Now, yes I have to watch how often i enjoy the drink due to the sugar content. But, will gladdly take that in consideration to finally have a refeshing drink.

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  • Sierra mist was the only lemon lime soda that was made with real cane sugar, unlike the rest of the brands that use high fructose corn syrup. I liked that fact and will change to ginger ale since it has slightly less calories and has ginger, making it slightly healthier. Thanks for ruining another good product and shoving another soft drink with hfcs down our throat

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  • I do not enjoy Starry. Taste not as good as the other. Will stop buying.

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  • The author of this article is all Sprite, Sprite, Sierra Mist. Have they never heard of 7-Up?

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  • The starry soda is no better it can not beat the sprite ever

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  • I laughed, I cried. This review was better than Cats!

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  • It tastes like mountain dew with a hint of sprite. Honest review you’re welcome.

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  • Tried Starry, wanted to love it, but far too acidic compared to Sprite, 7-Up, Sierra Mist, store brands.
    Almost the finish of Red Bull without the amazing buzz that makes the citric acid worth it.
    For years Pepsi sold 7-Up in partnership with Cadbury and tied Sprite for sales. This ended with Sierra Mist.
    Starry will fail. Pepsi should consider going back to bottling and selling 7-Up on fountain

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  • What kind of goofy ahh promotion is this 🗣😭👈🤡🔥💀

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  • Starry taste horrible don’t know who did taste test this drink want be a good brand keep Sierra mist

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    • I definitely agree with you

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    • You are correct. Starry tastes like medicine to me. I liked the taste of Sierra Mist. I don’t think I will buy any more Starry. I bought Diet Sierra Mist all the time. Please bring it back.

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  • Yes I just tried start after being addicted to all the different mountain dew flavours and colors alot of sugar this is a sweet kinda sprite drink not bad I like stary

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  • I’m not so sure I would like this new soda pop starry because you’re missed always settles my stomach what it’s upset so why can’t you add that instead of getting rid of something

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  • I’ve been drinking Sierra mist for a long time and really disappointed it got removed. The new branding is childish to me and I really hate that it’s being made with high fructose corn syrup and not real sugar like it was with Sierra mist. That’s probably my biggest gripe.

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  • Gross! Got the zero sugar version. It was super sweet, it’s nothing like Sierra mist.

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  • But Sierra Mist was made with real sugar.
    Starry contains HFCS.
    Ever since Pepsi reformulated their Zero Sugar version it’s not the same PZS I’ve been drinking forever.
    The “New Improved Taste” is very much sweeter than the previous version.
    They also removed the ginseng and more than halved the caffeine per serving.

    So now there are 2 fewer Pepsi products I’ll purchase. 😡

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  • I tried it. I like both “dark” and “clear” sodas. I think I like this a little better than SPRITE. It seems crisper and cleaner.

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  • I think it tastes like store brand/off brand lemon lime soda sierra mist is better and think starry is over priced for the taste

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  • The label looks so generic. I saw it for the first time in a dollar store and thought it was the store brand. Pepsi could have done better in that aspect. It definitely doesn’t make me or my kids want to buy it. My son thought it was a generic soda too. Funny because him and I usually buy all the new sodas to try.

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  • I bought this when I 1st saw it in the store, I’m a big sprite fan and have been for many years. I took 1 drink and grossed me out. I’ve got grandkids so I let them try it, they said they’d rather drink store brand then that.

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  • To me it tastes like seltzer soda with not enough flavor or sweetness. The smell is a little 7-Upish. I’ll switch to Sprite.

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    • Also, it is missing that slight zing of citrus.

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  • I’ve tried starry. I’m 45 and dislike Sprite and seirra mist was ok. Sadly Starry is now in the same boat as Sprite. If I have to choose a full sugary drinks that has that Lemon lime twist I’ll go 7up.

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  • Starry is nasty and way too limey. I won’t buy it. Please bring back Sierra Mist No Sugar!!! Starry is gross!

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  • People need to wake up and quit drinking soda!! I learned the hard way (diabetes kidney failure blind and way more health issues including losing most of my teeth just had 6 teeth removed January 11. Dentist said its due to drinking too much soda!! So before you regret it stop drinking that poison!!!!

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  • I’m old enough to remember Teem, Starry is better than Sierra Mist, just my opinion. I don’t give a fuck about the sugar, sugar makes soda taste good. Isn’t that what it’s all about? No one ever said, “Give me the soda that tastes like shit”. Anyway, I loved the Donner party joke. Sierra Mist was a “hit or miss” at most restaurants, quality issues. Sprite was always more consistent. At least Pepsi is admitting they were failing. Overall, I find Starry to be better than Sierra Mist. Maybe it’s the food from the Donner party that makes it taste bad.

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  • The real difference is real sugar versus high fructose corn syrup. I’m betting corn syrup is much cheaper than sugar. I prefer sugar and Sierra Mist. Pepsi moving to lower cost and higher profit. I will not be changing to Starry. It will taste like Sprite. Bye, bye Pepsi for me.

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  • Don’t like the taste of Starry won’t buy again. Sierra Mist tasted better. Another mistake by Pepsico

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  • Gross Want Sierra mist back

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  • This stuff is horrible. ( I don’t know about the sugar types, i only drink the zero sugar varieties). I always drink lemon-lime flavored soda, Starry is the worst. I enjoyed Sierra mist, it was light and fresh. Starry tastes heavy, and leans towards the taste of a green lollipop flavor, sweet and artificial. So sorry that they got rid of sierra mist for this. It is not going to help sales. And with the price of soda doubling, Pepsi better think of something else, quick. Tart and lemony for starters……

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  • I disagree with the review. I was a devoted Sierra Mist drinker, mainly because it was made with real sugar. I will not buy a product made with high fructose corn syrup. I did buy a bottle of Starry just to taste it and my opinion is that it was rather flavorless. Not enough lemon-lume flavor for me. Try it for yourself and form your own opinion. I won’t buy any more of it.

    Paula

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    • I agree it was bland Paula. I was a Sierra Mist fan, but not so much for health reasons, ever since they switched to the real sugar formula, I found it had the best flavor and sweetness I was looking for. Sad to see it go

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  • I’ve been drinking Mist Free ever since Pepsi changed the formula on my Diet Mountain Dew some twenty years ago. Quit changing the formula’s on us faithful customers – we don’t like the shitty aftertastes. Starry has a very bland limey aftertaste. Bring back Sierra Mist Free Please!!!

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  • I was such a huge fan or Sierra Mist over 7- up and Sprite. I was so dissappointed when it was discontinued. I went and stocked up on all I could find. I do not like the starry drink at all especially the zero sugar . It has bad after taste . I will go back to my 7-up.

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  • i just like that it tastes like Sprite bc sometimes i go to restaurants and i ask for a Sprite and they say ‘is Sierra Mist okay?’ and i have to say yes bc it’s not like I can say nor do I want to say ‘no, get me your manager’. starry is a good competitor and i dgaf about what the branding looks like as long as it tastes good.

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  • The switch is really terrible for my family. My son cannot have high fructose corn syrup, and sierra mist was the only soda without it. Believe it or not there is a population that cant consume chemicals like hfcs.

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  • Dear Gwynedd,
    I have to say I whole heartedly disagree with your review. I have set aside my Sierra Mist bias because I am (was?) a fan. Starry tastes not sweet enough for the amount of carbs it has in it. It also tastes kind of flat and bland imo. Somehow I can taste the carbonated water in it as a separate entity, like it almost tastes like weird, sweet soda water. Too sweet for soda water not sweet enough for full flavor soda. Sprite and 7 up both have it beat. Incidentally, the zero sugar tastes sweeter and has better lemon lime flavor. Go figure. Don’t think the Gen Z marketing will work. Lemon Lime sodas are uncaffinated and they have added a bunch of unpronouncable ingredients plus high fructose corn syrup to this formula. I think trying to get Gen Z to drink more lemon lime soda is probably a waste of time, as is this product. Jk, but really, it’s not great

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  • Starry lemon lime soda is awful. Burns your throat all the way down! Not the mild flavor of Sierra mist! why ruin a good thing? bring Sierra mist back!

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  • Sierra Mist was sweetened with real cane sugar.
    Starry gets uts sweetness from the inferior high fructose corn syrup
    Criminal

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