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How Much Caffeine Is in Mountain Dew Code Red? (Complete Breakdown!)

Mountain Dew Code Red Soda

Caffeine (serving: 12 fl oz)
54 mg
Caffeine (mg / fl oz)
Caffeine strength

Mountain Dew may best be known as the bright neon green soda, but the company has never shied away from trying new things, and perhaps its biggest claim to fame has been its flavor variants. But there may not be a Mountain Dew variant as loved as Mountain Dew Code Red.

Released in 2001, this cherry-flavored soda became the company’s first successful flavor extension and acted as a springboard for the many flavor variants that came after. What set Code Red apart from many other soft drinks at the time was that it contained 54 milligrams of caffeine, compared to the 90 to 120 milligrams that an average 12-oz cup of coffee would have.

Please keep reading to learn more about Mountain Dew Code Red and its caffeine content.

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What Is Mountain Dew?

Mountain Dew was invented in the 1940s and has long been a staple in the line-up of American soft drinks. The sickly sweet citrus-flavored soda has a cult-like following (as much as a beverage can have a cult-like following). This soda is popular because of its unique flavor options; there are currently over 50 flavors available across Mountain Dew’s vast line-up, not counting the handfuls discontinued over the years.

perosn drinking mountain dew
Image Credit: Shane, Unsplash

What Is Mountain Dew Code Red?

Code Red’s 2001 release was an overnight success in the United States. Introducing this flavor increased the company’s sales by 6% in its first year and is probably why Mountain Dew has branched out to so many different flavors.

Code Red was released in Canada a year after its U.S. launch but had to be sold without caffeine due to laws that prevent caffeine from being added to non-dark soft drinks.

Why Is There So Much Caffeine in Mountain Dew Code Red?

The amount of caffeine in Mountain Dew Code Red might seem minuscule compared to a 12-ounce blonde roast coffee at Starbucks at 235 mg. But, when we look at other sodas on the market, Code Red has around 20 mg more.

Caffeine used to be a naturally occurring part of most sodas when colas were getting their flavor from the kola nut. However, this isn’t the case today, so manufacturers put caffeine into their recipes as an added ingredient. Some say that caffeine in sodas is meant to invoke the missing flavor of the kola nut, but studies suggest that may not be the case, which leads researchers to believe that caffeine does not affect a soda’s flavor.

So, why is there so much caffeine in Mountain Dew Code Red? While we don’t have a definitive answer, it could be because of an increased demand for energizing drinks in our fast-paced modern society. The pick-me-up that Mountain Dew and other sodas provide can help people get through their day, and its stimulant effect could make people crave the beverage more.

What Is Mountain Dew Energy Code Red?

The success of Code Red prompted the company to add this flavor to its Energy line. Mountain Dew Energy is a low-sugar energy drink with a whopping 180 mg of caffeine per serving. It also contains vitamins A and C, zinc, and other antioxidants. This highly anticipated energy drink has not yet been released but is expected to hit shelves in 2023 for a limited time.

How Does Mountain Dew Code Red Stack Up?

Now that you know how much caffeine is in Mountain Dew Code Red, let’s look at how it compares to other common soft drinks.

Mountain Dew Energy Code Red 180 mg / 16 oz
Pepsi Zero Sugar 69 mg / 12 oz
Mountain Dew Code Red 54 mg / 12 oz
Mountain Dew (regular) 54 mg/ 12 oz
Diet Coke 46 mg/ 12 oz
Zevia Cola 45 mg / 12 oz
Pepsi (diet or regular) 35–38mg / 12 oz
Coca-Cola (regular) 34 mg / 12 oz
Barq’s Root Beer 22 mg / 12 oz
7-Up 0 mg / 12 oz

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Final Thoughts

While Mountain Dew Code Red has less caffeine than a cup of coffee and much less than its soon-to-be-released energy drink counterpart, there’s no denying the beverage’s loyal following. Whether they drink it because of its tasty cherry flavor or to get the caffeine kick they need to get through an afternoon slump, the numbers are clear: Code Red isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.


Ollie Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones is a zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia. Originally from the US, he thought he loved coffee before his big move down under, but his discovery of the flat white and the cafe on every corner has taken his coffee passion to a whole new level. He's so excited to share his knowledge and experience with readers worldwide (and keep testing coffee drinks while he's at it).

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