Shhhhhhasta

shasta

One day in college, circa 1999, me and a friend got to discussing Shasta, the largely forgotten soda brand of the ’70s and ’80s. I remember liking it because they seemingly had a thousand flavors; my friend remembered not liking it because it was cheap and that’s what his family would buy. We both remember it being a standby of day trips to mosquito-riddled lakes to drink whilst floating in an inner-tube.

I was surprised to find on the nascent Internet a Shasta website. It was bad even for 1999 standards – a couple of Flash games, sure, but also, a complete flavor list. I apparently hadn’t been exaggerating. They had, or at one point had had, around 150 flavors of Shasta on the market. Inspired, I wrote them a letter, expressing my love for Shasta, along with a suggested list of insane, absurd flavors – things like “Shasta-flavored Shasta,” “Ennui-flavored Shasta,” “Nothing-flavored Shasta” and “Pepsi-flavored Shasta.”

Two days later, I received a hand-written note from Shasta’s vice-president of marketing, saying that everyone in the office “had a good laugh.” They also sent me a coupon for a free case of Shasta, a coupon that went unredeemed because in 1999 I couldn’t find a store that stocked Shasta anymore.

Brian Boone

From the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Northwest, I contribute to the Retroist, write for trivia publications, and blog about music in a humorous fashion. I feel about "Back to the Future" the way you feel about "Star Wars." Also, I'm married and have a child (sorry ladies, orphans).

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7 thoughts on “Shhhhhhasta

  1. I grew up on Shasta pop. My parents drank Coke (and later Diet Coke), but my sister and I had cases of Grape, Orange, Root Beer, Black Cherry, and my favorite, Dr. Diablo.

  2. mwentworth says:

    I loved Shasta Cola and Black Cherry as a young’un and still drink Tiki Punch and Raspberry Creme today! The current Shasta Dr Pepper clone is Dr. Shasta which is piss poor name compared to Dr. Diablo. I see by their current website that there are three new flavors to try out. Time for a trip to the local WinCo!!

    http://www.shastapop.com/flavors/

  3. mwentworth says:

    ….in fact my local WinCo actually has a dedicated Shasta vending machine out front, which I don’t remember seeing even in the heyday.

  4. Zelig says:

    We were definitely a Coca-cola family, but Shasta was the cola of choice for family picnics and camping trips. Even though Shasta was the value option for my folks, because we only had it on special occasions, flavors like strawberry and orange felt like real treats.

    I really enjoyed the bright colors, sweetness and novel flavors. They would also remind me of the Brady Bunch, when the Brady kids would have parties and Alice would buy a rainbow assortment of bottled soda.

    Our Winco has a Shasta machine too. I’ll have get a can of strawberry cola on our next trip.

  5. Dudley88 says:

    This article reminds of playing Little League baseball in the ’70s. Shasta was the only pop sold at the baseball field’s concession stand. Personally, my favorite pop at the time was RC. But really, any pop would do for me, as long as it wasn’t diet.

  6. I liked Shasta growing up, and recently found a local source for it: the Dollar Tree! You can get four for a dollar, but there are only three flavors available; Tiki Punch, Orange and Lemon-Lime. I am buying it to stock the fridge in the home theater room so the grandkids (and me) can enjoy a drink that is good but doesn’t cost much.

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