Sierra Mist Lawsuit: The Reason Why PepsiCo Replaced it With Starry


Sierra Mist Lawsuit: The Reason Why PepsiCo Replaced it With Starry

The Rise and Fall of Sierra Mist

For years, Sierra Mist has been a beloved lemon-lime soda enjoyed by many Americans. However, a recent controversy surrounding allegations of trademark infringement by PepsiCo has left fans puzzled and eager for answers. 

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the Sierra Mist lawsuit, explore why PepsiCo decided to discontinue the iconic beverage, and introduce you to Starry, the newcomer that has taken its place.

Sierra Mist made its debut in 1999, aiming to compete with the likes of Sprite and 7Up in the lemon-lime soda market. Initially, the soda gained a loyal following for its unique, slightly sweeter taste compared to its competitors. 

However, over the years, Sierra Mist underwent several reformulations and rebranding efforts, leading to a decline in popularity and sales.

Here’s a brief timeline of Sierra Mist’s journey:

  • 1999: Sierra Mist is launched, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.
  • 2010: Sierra Mist Natural is introduced, using cane sugar instead of corn syrup.
  • 2014: Stevia is added to the formula to reduce calorie content.
  • 2016: Sierra Mist is rebranded as Mist Twist, reverting to high fructose corn syrup.

Despite these efforts to revive the brand, Sierra Mist struggled to regain its footing in the crowded lemon-lime soda market. According to a Statista report, Sprite generated six times more sales in 2021 than Sierra Mist, signaling the need for a more significant change.

The Cierra Mist Trademark Infringement Allegations

The Cierra Mist Trademark Infringement Allegations

In a surprising turn of events, a TikTok creator named Cierra Mist alleged that PepsiCo took legal action against her, claiming trademark infringement due to the similarity between her name and the Sierra Mist brand.

Cierra, known for her engaging content as a flight attendant, shared her account of the situation in a YouTube video posted in July 2023. She claimed that PepsiCo accused her of infringing on their trademark, despite her online moniker predating the Sierra Mist brand.

This allegation sparked widespread controversy and disappointment among online communities, with many questioning PepsiCo’s motives and accusing the company of intimidation tactics. However, PepsiCo remained silent on the matter, leaving many details of the alleged legal action unclear.

Introducing Starry: PepsiCo’s New Lemon-Lime Soda

In January 2023, PepsiCo announced the discontinuation of Sierra Mist and introduced Starry, a new lemon-lime soda designed to compete with industry giants like Sprite and 7Up.

Key Differences Between Sierra Mist and Starry:

CharacteristicSierra MistStarry
SweetenerCane SugarHigh Fructose Corn Syrup
Flavor ProfileCloyingly sweet, muted lemon-limeCitrusy pop, more pronounced lemon-lime
Target AudienceBroad consumer baseYounger, social media-savvy consumers

According to PepsiCo, Starry aims to appeal to a younger generation of soda drinkers with its bolder, more pronounced lemon-lime flavor and modern branding. The company plans to promote Starry heavily through digital advertisements and a strong presence on social media platforms like TikTok.

“Starry is our big, new, sexy lemon-lime brand that’s going to go square at Sprite,” said Greg Arellano, PepsiCo’s vice president of hydration and non-carb beverages.


The Taste Test: Sierra Mist vs. Starry

To better understand the differences between the two sodas, we conducted a side-by-side taste test. Here are our observations:

  • Sweeter, with a more subdued lemon-lime flavor
  • Cane sugar adds a complex, molasses-like sweetness
  • Lemon-lime notes are overpowered by the intense sweetness

  • Bolder, more citrusy lemon-lime flavor
  • High fructose corn syrup provides a neutral sweetness
  • Lemon-lime notes are more pronounced and refreshing

While personal preferences may vary, many tasters found Starry to be more refreshing and true to the lemon-lime flavor profile, making it a strong contender in the soda market.

The Future of Lemon-Lime Sodas in the USA

The Future of Lemon-Lime Sodas in the USA

As consumer preferences shift towards healthier and more unique beverage options, the lemon-lime soda market faces new challenges. However, the enduring popularity of brands like Sprite and 7Up suggests that there is still a demand for these classic flavors.

With its bold citrus taste and modern branding, Starry has the potential to capture the attention of younger consumers and carve out its own niche in the market. However, it remains to be seen whether the soda can truly compete with the established giants and capture a significant market share.

PepsiCo’s long-term plans for Starry are still unclear, but the company’s decision to discontinue Sierra Mist and invest in a new brand indicates a strategic shift in their approach to the lemon-lime soda market.


The Sierra Mist lawsuit and the subsequent replacement with Starry have undoubtedly caused a stir in the beverage industry and among soda enthusiasts. While the details of the alleged trademark infringement case remain murky, one thing is clear: PepsiCo is taking a bold step in an attempt to revitalize its presence in the lemon-lime soda market.

Starry’s unique flavor profile and targeted marketing efforts towards younger consumers could prove to be a game-changer, but only time will tell if it can truly hold its own against industry titans like Sprite and 7Up.

We invite you, our readers, to share your thoughts and experiences with Sierra Mist and Starry. Have you had the chance to try the new soda? How does it compare to your beloved Sierra Mist? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to give Starry a try to form your own opinion on this exciting newcomer in the world of lemon-lime sodas.


Why was Sierra Mist Discontinued in the Lawsuit?

Cierra and her attorneys successfully argued that the company’s rights to the Sierra Mist trademark had expired. She felt intimidated by the company and decided to assert her rights, leading to the discontinuation of Sierra Mist. Copyright protection only lasts for a limited period, which played a role in this decision.

What is the Sierra Mist Lawsuit?

The Sierra Mist lawsuit is a legal action taken by PepsiCo against TikTok, alleging trademark infringement.

Why Did Sierra Mist Get Changed to Starry?

Starry is a lemon-lime soft drink distributed by PepsiCo that began distribution in January 2023. It was introduced to replace Sierra Mist and to better compete with other popular brands like 7up and Sprite.

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