What Happened to SoBe Drinks?

What happened to SoBe drinks? Before we really get into it, allow me to explain my own, personal experience with drinks that have a cultish following. 

Years ago, I worked for a creative ad agency in New York as something they called a “social media manager,” which meant that I basically ran a couple of Twitter and Facebook brand accounts. My main account was a popular beverage brand (I unfortunately can’t say which one because I’m pretty sure I had to sign an NDA). This particular beverage brand had a particular seasonal flavor that they only released around the holidays. I would say that 70-80 percent of my job was responding to people who were devastated that they couldn’t find this seasonal flavor the rest of the year. I had to write countless DMs and Facebook messages assuring these devastated consumers that their beloved drink would be available again in November, and apologizing to them for the fact that it wasn’t available the rest of the year. 

My point is this: People take their beverage brands very seriously. When you find a drink that really hits the spot, it’s so satisfying and refreshing that no substitution will quite measure up. So, of course, SoBe drink fans noticed when the SoBe line of drinks mysteriously disappeared. And, understandably, they had questions. What happened to SoBe drinks, exactly? Were SoBe drinks discontinued? Let’s pour out some answers. 

What happened to SoBe drinks?

If you aren’t a diehard drink fan, you might be wondering, “What was that SoBe lizard drink, again?” So, let’s start with a little history about the company. 

Originally called the South Beach Beverage Company, SoBe launched in 1995 with one product: SoBe Black Tea 3G (the three Gs being ginseng, guarana, and ginkgo). The bottles were originally made of glass, and yes, they had a lizard on them. It was popular enough that PepsiCo took notice, and purchased SoBe in 2000. 

SoBe has had a bunch of variations since then, including more tea flavors, energy drinks, and, of course, the much lamented “Sobe pink drink” Strawberry Daiquiri flavor. SoBe also briefly had a carbonated soda which was called Mr. Green. It was marketed as a tie-in for The Grinch movie. 

Despite having so many products in its portfolio, SoBe began struggling in the mid-2000s, due in part to the rise of more popular non-soda options like energy drinks. Another issue was that PepsiCo didn’t quite know what to do with SoBe—PepsiCo owns similar brands like Lipton, which they prioritized. Also worth noting is that in 2007, PepsiCo switched from the glass bottles to plastic, depriving SoBe drinks of their iconic packaging. 

After years of declining sales, PepsiCo quietly took SoBe off U.S. shelves altogether a few years ago. While they still have a website and are not entirely dead, SoBe products are now all but impossible to find. Even their site sounds pretty defeated: “While we’re not able to offer direct ordering or delivery, some of our products are sold through eCommerce retailers like Amazon. We’d also recommend you speak with a store manager at your local supermarket, we’ve heard some have been able to place special orders.”

Thus ends the sad tale of SoBe, at least for now. Given recent trends, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if PepsiCo brought SoBe back at some point for a limited run for nostalgia purposes. Alas, until then, we’ll just have to content ourselves with the memory and our SoBe lizard tattoos. 

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.