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How Much Caffeine Is in Jolt Cola? 2024 Breakdown

four cans of Jolt Cola

Caffeine (serving: 16 fl oz)
160 mg
Caffeine (mg / fl oz)
Caffeine strength

Most of us consider colas to be on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to caffeine content. Brand leaders like Coke and Pepsi have caffeine in each can, but they’re nothing like the Jolt Cola caffeine content.

Haven’t heard of Jolt Cola? It’s understandable. When this cola hit the market, the caffeine content was around 70 mg for a 12-ounce can. But when Jolt Cola re-emerged and was seen as more of an energy drink, it featured a high caffeine amount of 160 mg per 16-ounce can. This was considered outrageous in comparison to the others you could purchase. Some even claim this cola was the original energy drink.

Let’s take a look at how the caffeine in Jolt Cola compares to other drinks you may enjoy, how this drink came to be, and why it slowly fizzled away despite the punch it packed.

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Where It All Began

Anyone who is old enough to have been drinking soft drinks in 1985 probably remembers the birth of New Coke. Why was this abomination created? It was thanks to the awakening of people during this time to the high sugar content and calories found in popular sodas.

To rectify this issue, Coca-Cola introduced Diet Coke in 1983. They didn’t expect people to enjoy the sweet taste of Diet Coke, however. Hoping to stay on the sweet drink bandwagon, they introduced New Coke, as a tasty alternative and a way of competing with the newly emerging diet drinks.

A sociology major in Rochester took notice of the students, teachers, and other people around him trying to stay alert for class, or life in general. He also took note of the fact that Diet Coke, New Coke, and other alternatives didn’t seem to be doing anything for them. The students liked the sweetness but needed something more energizing.

To put a stop to this issue, C.J. Rapp decided it was time to create his own cola that would cater to the needs of young adults who weren’t concerned about being overly health conscious. This is where the idea for Jolt Cola began.

Jolt Cola Carbonated Energy Drink Original Recipe

The Birth of a Legend

Rapp needed a few years to develop his new drink. He wanted a soda with twice the sugar and twice the caffeine of others on the market. Unfortunately, this was easier said than done. The Food and Drug Administration had regulations in place to keep Rapp from having more than 75 mg of caffeine in each can of Jolt. This didn’t stop Rapp. Knowing he would have a huge mountain to climb, he decided to use his advertising campaign to launch his new brand.

Jolt Cola hit the shelves in 1986. The drink was clearly sweeter than other colas, thanks to the use of cane sugar, and offered more caffeine, but not as much as advertised. With the claims of twice the sugar and caffeine amounts, this drink instantly became the bad boy of the soda world. Experts tried to steer people away and smear campaigns were born. This didn’t sway Jolt Cola or the young people who wanted to be part of this new cola movement.

Jolt Caffeine Content vs. Other Colas

Let’s take a look at how the caffeine in the original Jolt Cola stacks up against the most popular soda brands available.

Coke (12-ounce can) 34 mg of caffeine
Diet Coke (12-ounce can) 46 mg of caffeine
Pepsi (12-ounce can) 38 mg of caffeine
Diet Pepsi (12-ounce can) 36 mg of caffeine
Jolt Cola (12-ounce can) 75 mg of caffeine
Jolt Cola
Jolt Cola | Image Credit: Kimmy Lindell Ekström, Wikimedia Commons CC S-A 4.0 International

The Rise & Fall of Jolt

When it was released, Jolt was available in 22 states. Then it grew to 40 states and Canada. This reception wasn’t expected. With the new health-conscious craze taking place, most predicted Jolt would fail quickly. While they didn’t stand toe-to-toe with soda giants Coke and Pepsi, they did make a bit of profit and a name for themselves.

It didn’t take long, however, for things to shift for the cola brand. In 2003, the Jolt name was sold to a caffeinated gum company. After that, the company tried a complete rebranding of its products in 2006. This was when the Jolt battery bottles were introduced. These bottles looked great but were quite expensive to make. They also decided to release more flavors, including Jolt Energy which featured a whopping 160 ml of caffeine per 16-ounce bottle. This didn’t sit well with people who were fans of the original. By 2009, the company had been sold and those in control filed for bankruptcy.

The Rebirth of Jolt Energy

In 2017, Jolt decided it was time for a comeback, and Jolt Energy was it. With the popularity of energy drinks being what it was, the company assumed they could use their caffeine-packed drink to take on the likes of Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar Energy. Again, luck wasn’t on their side. Even with the attempted relaunch of the original Jolt Cola. By 2019, Jolt Cola and Jolt Energy were gone from shelves and discontinued.

Jolt Icy Mint Energy Gum

Jolt Caffeine Content vs. Other Energy Drinks

Although it may be gone, it isn’t forgotten. Let’s see how Jolt Energy compares to other popular energy drinks on the market.

Bang Energy 300 mg of caffeine
Red Bull 80 mg of caffeine
Monster 140 mg of caffeine
5 Hour Energy 100 mg of caffeine
Jolt Energy 160 mg of caffeine

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, Jolt Cola and Jolt Energy have had their ups and downs. Is it possible these drinks could find themselves on store shelves again? Anything is possible. Jolt Cola with its 75 mg of caffeine and Jolt Energy with its 160 ml are true contenders when it comes to caffeine content. If you happen to find one of these drinks hiding in your basement, keep it as a memento of a time when the cola bad boy reigned supreme.

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Melissa Gunter

Melissa has been a fan of coffee since the first sip she stole from her Granny's cup when she was just a girl. Now, she spends each morning writing with a hot cup of coffee at her side. With a love of sweet and creamy bliss, Melissa and her daughter, Amber, stop by and try out every local coffee shop they see. Neither are afraid to try something new and have a long list of favorite coffee beverages they simply can't do without. When she's not freelance writing about her 2 passions, coffee, and pets, Melissa spends her time with her husband, 2 kids, and 5 fur babies. She also loves diving into the fiction world under her pen name, Rena Marin. If she isn't at the laptop or with the family, Melissa is out enjoying the mountains of East Tennessee she calls home.

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