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Cola drinkers jilt Coke for Jolt

By
DAVID ARMON

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The founder of a club that pressured the Coca-Cola Co. into returning to its old formula said Monday he is still upset with Coke and has decided to throw his weight behind the industry upstart, Jolt cola.

Gay Mullins, founder of the 100,000-member Old Cola Drinkers of America, blasted Coke for using corn sweeteners instead of sugar in its product.

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'I'm going to switch to a product that is more like the colas I'm used to,' said Mullins, a retired research associate at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle. 'Jolt gives me the satisfaction I've been looking for.'

Jolt, which advertises 'all the sugar and twice the caffeine' of normal colas, was developed by Rochester natives C.J. Rapp and his father, Joseph, and introduced in upstate New York three months ago.

Since then, Jolt says it has captured a respectable 4 percent of the Rochester market and the company has signed agreements with bottlers for distribution in the Midwest, along the Eastern Seabord and in Canada.

'It's way beyond our expectations,' C.J. Rapp said at a Rochester news conference called to honor Mullins.

Mullins, 58, said he has spent $130,000 since last year crusading against the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola for trying to replace its old formula with New Coke last year and for re-introducing Coke Classic sweetened with corn fructose instead of more-expensive sugar.

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'Most people in the United States don't know that when Coca-Cola came back with their Classic they didn't come back with the real thing. It's not the original,' Mullins said.

C.J. Rapp said Mullins first contacted him about two months ago to get a sample of Jolt. Last week, Mullins called Rapp to tell him Jolt had become his new choice after a taste test.

Mullins is not being paid for his endorsement, Rapp said.

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