One soda, please. Make it dirty

What’s up with the new drink trend sweeping social media?

You might already be familiar with the root beer float or, if you have a grandparent from New York, the egg cream.

Four multicolored drinks in to-go cups with colorful straws.

But there’s a new carbonated concoction that’s sweeping social media: the dirty soda.

The beverage trend, which has taken off on TikTok, combines soda with a creamy component — milk, half-and-half, or a nondairy alternative like coconut cream — as well as flavor enhancers like lime juice or syrups.

The concept was first popularized by Utah-based beverage shop Swig as a fun alternative for a Mormon population seeking nonalcoholic and noncoffee drink options. Today, Swig has 63 locations in the US.

Now, brands are riding Swig’s coattails with dirty soda concepts of their own, per Nation’s Restaurant News.

  • Coffee Mate and Dr Pepper collaborated on a coconut-lime creamer made specifically for dirty soda.
  • Topgolf added two dirty soda options to the menus of its 88 US locations.
  • Sonic Drive-In launched a “make it dirty” option at its 3.5k+ locations.
  • Jack in the Box is rolling out Jack’s Twisted Sodas at its 2.1k+ locations this July.

In 2014, before the rush of dirty soda branding, Swig founder Nicole Tanner trademarked “dirty soda.” Swig even filed a trademark lawsuit against Sodalicious, another Utah beverage company with “dirty” soda offerings, calling it a “near exact knockoff.”

But multiple soda chains in Utah and elsewhere are now peddling dirty soda concepts.

Drink up

Dirty soda is an appealing option, as the sober-curious movement shifts from trend to mainstay and consumers continue to reach for alcohol-free drinks.

And, sober or not, drinkable desserts are trending on restaurant menus nationwide.

Plus, many credit Olivia Rodrigo for Swig’s shot to fame — the pop star posted a photo of herself holding a Swig cup on Instragram in 2021.

You know who really deserves our thanks, though? Lindsay Lohan, who was brave enough to promote Pepsi’s “pilk” campaign in 2022.

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