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.