|This page is about the soft drink. For the pre-War company, see Nuka-Cola Corporation. For a list of variants available in the games, see List of Nuka-Cola variants.|
Nuka-Cola is the flagship product of the Nuka-Cola Corporation and one of the symbols of United States culture. Introduced in 2044, it rapidly dominated the soft drink market, eventually becoming the most popular soda on the market and a staple of American culture. Bottled and distributed nationwide, Nuka-Cola was available in such numbers that not even two centuries after the Great War put a stop to all bottling operations, Nuka-Cola bottles can still be found in the wastelands in quantity. In the aftermath of the Great War, Nuka-Cola bottle caps are the de facto currency in most post-war societies.
- 1 History
- 2 Production
- 3 Variants
- 3.1 Classic Nuka-Cola
- 3.2 Diet Nuka-Cola
- 3.3 Nuka-Cherry
- 3.4 Nuka-Grape
- 3.5 Nuka-Cola Orange
- 3.6 Nuka-Cola Dark
- 3.7 Nuka-Cola Quantum
- 3.8 Nuka-Cola Quartz
- 3.9 Nuka-Cola Victory
- 3.10 Nuka-Cola Wild
- 3.11 Nuka-Cola blends
- 3.12 Unreleased flavors
- 3.13 Mixed Nuka-Cola drinks
- 3.14 Fallout Tactics
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 Gallery
- 6 References
Nuka-Cola entered the beverage market in 2044, with the invention of the soft drink by John-Caleb Bradberton after two years of experimentation. Though strictly unhealthy (containing 120% of the recommended daily allowance of sugar), it took the United States market by storm and within a year it could be purchased nationwide. Its popularity rapidly increased and within several years it was the most popular beverage across the globe.
The constant drive to improve and innovate the formula resulted in numerous flavor variations, with the most popular ones like Cherry, Grape, and Orange released just a few years after the drink debuted. Whenever the company encountered competition, it would attempt to deal with it aggressively. Cherry and Grape variants of the Nuka-Cola were patents acquired by the company after identifying individual competitors. In other cases, the Corporation would attempt to buy out competitors, as was the case with Sunset Sarsaparilla in 2058 and Vim! Pop Incorporated in 2077. Failing that, it would attempt to release a competing drink accompanied by a massive promotional campaign. After attempts to acquire Sunset Sarsaparilla failed, Nuka-Cola attempted to directly compete with it through Nuka-Cola Wild and the opening of Dry Rock Gulch at Nuka-World. Though it gained a respectable popularity in the American Southwest, it failed to match that of the Sarsaparilla.
The latest Nuka-Cola taste variant was created in October 2076, as the head of the chemical weapons program instigated by John Caleb-Bradberton reported that his team created an isotope of strontium-90 that could be reliably weaponized, as coating for power armor, a custom munition for the prototypical M42 Fat Man, or even an area effect weapon that could be safely deployed from something as simple as a Thirst Zapper. It could also be used "somewhat safely" in a new kind of Nuka-Cola. Bradberton ordered it to be put into production, as the Nuka-Cola Quantum (named after the isotope designation in the Beverageer's system).
Quantum was fast-tracked through the approval process, presented as the culmination of a three year research program. To create an isotope safe for human consumption, focus groups were used to test various variants of the Quantum isotope. After numerous casualties (at least 62 test subjects died as a result of organ failure, with many more hospitalized with radiation burns; families were provided with Nuka Condolences Fruit and Cheese Packages that contained liability waivers), a safe isotope was created and the first cases of Nuka-Cola Quantum hit the market in select cities on the East Coast, like Boston and Washington, D.C..
Even after the War obliterated the parent corporation, Nuka-Cola would continue to be the most popular soft drink on the North American continent, available in almost limitless quantities. Despite being warm and flat, it holds the allegiance of many and continues to addict wastelanders.
- Carbonated water
- Sugar or aspartame
- Phosphoric acid
- Citric acid
- Caramel color
- Potassium benzoate
- Natural flavorings
The unique taste of Nuka-Cola is the result of a combination of seventeen fruit essences, balanced to enhance the classic cola flavor. The balance is precarious and minute adjustments can affect it severely. Such was the case when the freshly launched Nuka-Cola was reformulated in response to the Great Passion Fruit Famine of 2044 and consumers noticed the change in flavor.
Nuka-Cola contains excessive amounts of caffeine and 120% of the recommended daily value of sugar, making it decisively unhealthy for extended consumption. To counter the negative image, it was marketed as being fortified with vitamins, minerals, and "health tonics." Intensive consumption can cause Nuka-Cola addiction, which can lead to splitting headaches if Nuka-Cola isn't consumed on a regular basis.
The iconic curved Nuka-Cola bottle was used by the company ever since its introduction in 2044. The Dazzling Blue color of the glass was popular with consumers: Market research in 2052 indicated that 86 out of 100 polled consumers chose blue as their favorite color.
Nuka-Cola was forced to replace the curved design with a rocket-shaped bottle in 2077. It was the result of long-running litigation over patent infringement, a case that the Nuka-Cola Corporation lost. However, consumers reacted positively to the new Space Age bottle and Nuka-Cola's sales increased even further.
The surge in popularity led to Nuka-Cola spreading nationwide. By 2067, there was a vending machine on almost every street in America, offering regular Nuka-Cola and any of its variants. Popularity of its variants strongly depended on the region, with western states strongly favoring Nuka-Cola Quartz, Victory, and the root-beer flavored Wild (competing with Sunset Sarsaparilla). More urbanized eastern states favored classic tastes, such as Nuka-Grape, Nuka-Cola Orange, and Nuka-Cherry.
Nuka-Cola became a nationally-recognized brand through a combination of aggressive marketing and hostile corporate practices, including takeovers and undermining its competition. The preferred approach was to acquire popular local sodas and rebrand or remarket them as Nuka-Cola variants. Such was the case with two of its flagship flavors, Nuka-Cherry and Nuka-Grape, originally Merle's Very Cherry Soda and Grape-Pearl Soda.
Larger companies were typically more resilient and rebuffed Nuka-Cola advances. A particularly notable case is Sunset Sarsaparilla, a root beer popular in the southwestern United States. When negotiations with the company fell through in 2058, Nuka-Cola attempted to compete by launching a rival soda, Nuka-Cola Wild.
Another notable competitor is Vim! soda, a popular Maine drink. Owned by a single family, Vim! repeatedly refused offers from Nuka-Cola. In response, the company sued Vim! for copyright infringement (over the new Vim! Quartz soda) and committed industrial espionage and sabotage of its operations, effectively immune to prosecution thanks to John-Caleb Bradbertons ties with the government and the military.
Numerous other variants of the classic Nuka-Cola were introduced, offering different flavors and taste profiles. Although the classic Nuka-Cola remained the most popular, alternative, fruit-flavored beverages were typically an instant success. Its popularity endured long after the Great War destroyed the Nuka-Cola Corporation, partly thanks to the sheer number of bottles and cans produced, and partly due to its pleasant flavor. Even when warm, flat, and irradiated, it's the soft drink of choice for many wastelanders.
Notably, Nuka-Cola is best served chilled. Common before the war, ice cold Nuka-Colas are a luxury item after the Great War, due to the scarcity of working refrigeration units. Though flat, chilled Nuka-Cola is the recommended way of drinking it.
A diet version of the classic Nuka-Cola, with sugar content substitued with aspartame.
Cherry Nuka-Cola was one of three fruit-flavored variants released a few years after the debut of Nuka-Cola, following the acquisition of Merle's Very Cherry Soda. The original formula was a local, home-brewed pure cherry soft drink. The drink was rebranded and launched with only slight adjustments to formula, mixed with Nuka-Cola then enhanced with color to boost visual appeal. It proved to be a drink with enduring popularity, though it was largely limited to the East Coast.
Originally sold overseas as the Grape-Pearl Soda, Nuka-Grape was born after the company acquired the recipe. With no change in flavor profile and only minute adjustments to the formula to maximize profit margins, Grape was one of three fruit flavors released shortly after the beverage's debut, to instant success. As with Nuka-Cherry and Nuka-Orange, it was only distributed in the eastern United States.
Along with Nuka-Cherry and Nuka-Grape, Nuka-Cola Orange was one of the Nuka-Cola Corporation's fruit flavors. It was an instant success among consumers on the East Coast. It was developed under the code name "Fur Seal" with a Pear Brandy as a flavor base with its intense aftertaste cut with trace Arsenic.
This particular variation of Nuka-Cola became the company's attempt at entering the alcoholic beverage market and appeal to the adult demographic. A ready to drink of Nuka-Cola and rum boasting an alcohol-by-volume content of 35%, the beverage was touted as "the most thirst-quenching way to unwind." Unsurprisingly, those partaking in the drink were recommended to not operate motor vehicles or heavy machinery for at least eight hours after drinking, and encourage women who are pregnant or may become pregnant to avoid the drink. Still, it found success in many of the finer lounges and restaurants across the nation.
The origins of this soda were unlike anything the Nuka-Cola Corporation had devised before: The Beverageers of Nuka-World were signed over to the Army Research Laboratory's Weapon and Material division to develop biological and chemical weapons for the United States military as part of Project Cobalt. After months and months of work on several isotopes of strontium, the team discovered the isotope strontium-90 that could weaponize anything in the military's arsenal, but could also act as an additive to make a new cola flavor glow, similar to Nuka-Cola Quartz and Victory. In fact, the isotope was so high energy that the beverage it would be added to effectively became sterilized, killing any bacteria with which it came in contact. The designation of the strontium sample, Q4N7-UM, resulted in the isotope being named Quantum by its creator, Rex Meacham.
The isotope was processed into an additive safe for human consumption by another Beverageer, Ruth Leavitt. The Quantum additive was mixed into the new flavor which featured an eighteenth fruit flavor: pomegranate. Of course, using a radioactive additive in a soft drink brought the expected dangers, even with the Beverageer's expertise. Reports in the Arlington, VA Nuka-Cola plant show that product development had not been without failures and casualties. The first few trials of Nuka-Cola Quantum were ultimately fatal, but isotope CCE774 only resulted in dizziness and other mild side effects, allowing it to enter production for limited focus groups on the East Coast. Pilot programs in Washington, D.C. indicated that the new flavor was going to take the market by storm. The Food and Drug Administration did not record any effects that would force a recall, except for one minor side-effect: The isotope in Nuka-Cola Quantum caused the drinker's urine to glow.
Nuka-Cola Quartz is a flavor of Nuka-Cola that enjoyed a limited release in the American Southwest. It remains a rare find in the post-apocalypse. It has a classy look, thanks to the lack of added food colorings. It was developed under the code name "Angry Beaver", during development the developers added non-soluble sugar flakes to simulate quartz appearance and to counteract the cavitation issues from previous attempts.
Introduced in 2058, Nuka-Cola Wild is a root-based beverage inspired by the soda of choice in the Wild West. This variant was only produced after the Nuka-Cola Corporation was unable to acquire the Sunset Sarsaparilla Company; accordingly, Nuka-Cola Wild was only sold to the public in the American Southwest to directly compete with the well established Sunset Sarsaparilla.
The Nuka-World theme park published The Official Nuka-World Recipe Book which includes over a dozen recipes that allowed visitors to the park to create their own blends of Nuka-Cola flavors with the use of a Nuka-Mixer station. These blends could not be found anywhere other than inside the gates of Nuka-World.
After the Nuka-Cola Corporation acquired Sharon's Downhome Country Lemonade, they intended to reproduce the soft drink with less expensive ingredients to increase profitability. Nuka-Cola Clear's flavor profile was going to be lemon-lime, but the corporation encountered problems in production: John-Caleb Bradberton wished to spend available funds producing and promoting the newly formulated Nuka-Cola Quantum instead, and with Nuka-Cola Quartz, the marketing team was unsure how to promote two clear sodas at the same time. For these reasons, Bradberton pushed back Nuka-Cola Clear production until at least 2079. The formula was locked away in the Nuka-Cola plant in Arlington, Virginia, sealed by the Great War.
Originally called Packed Full of Joe before being bought out by the Nuka-Cola corporation, Nuka-Boost was a failed attempt at mixing the flavor profiles of coffee and Nuka-Cola. Developed under the code name "Walrus", the attempts to mix cola (let alone all the other fruit flavors in Nuka-Cola) and coffee went about as poorly as one can imagine and the flavor project was sent back to the drawing board after multiple unfavorable taste tests. Further development was made at a West Virigina Plant under the name Nuka-Black. Notes from the unsatisfactory taste tests of coffee were taken into consideration and the mixers there proposed a change of the main additive ingredient from coffee to Dextromethamphetamine.
Conceptualized by the Kanawha Nuka-Cola Plant, the idea for the drink came from celery-flavored sparkling waters, as well as mixing artificial flavors, package design and marketing to trick people into thinking it had health benefits. After more data gathering, cranberries were determined to become the first in the potential line of "snack beverages", using surplus cranberry supplies from Raleigh County as a primary source. The plan was to use marketing tactics to present it as a premium lifestyle brand for the rich and meant for those who had refined palettes and a taste high quality products. Like many of the fruit variants of Nuka-Cola, this one would predominantly feature cranberries. Heavily advertised around the Watoga area of Appalachia as "coming soon", it would stay unreleased. Nuka-Cola Cranberry would have likely been a regional flavor for Appalachia, like both Victory and Quartz. That being said, it did appear to have some form of release before the war occurred.
Mixed Nuka-Cola drinks
An ice cream float made with a combination of Nuka-Cola and ice cream. This dessert beverage was popular up until the Great War when storing ice cream became exceedingly difficult.
A high-proof distilled spirit mixed with Nuka-Cola Quantum and nuclear waste (yes, really), Nukashine was created by Lewis of the Eta Psi fraternity of the Vault-Tec University in November of 2076. The creation was supposed to provide a source of funds for feeding his Nuka-Cola collector's addiction, but wound up catapulting the fraternity to university-wide fame and led Judy Lowell, the chapter president, to set up a speakeasy in the back of Big Al's Tattoo Parlor bearing the same name. The spirit itself is incredibly powerful, causes blackouts, severe hangovers, and is potentially lethal, as the fellow Pi Mu fraternity found out during their "eviction party".
Rum & Nuka
Once the go-to drink for all college freshmen everywhere, the Rum & Nuka still sits at the top as being one of the easiest highballs to make, even at a post-war bar, provided those who have the talents to create such mixes are employed. 
There are three variations of Nuka-Cola available in Tactics:
|Classic Nuka-Cola||Classic Nuka-Cola tastes exactly like the original Nuka-Cola but comes in a new bottle. It was an attempt at saving the brand after the marketing disaster that was Cherry Nuka-Cola.|
|Cherry Nuka-Cola||Cherry Nuka-Cola was one of three fruit-flavored variants released a few years after the debut of Nuka-Cola, following the acquisition of Merle's Very Cherry Soda. The original formula was a local, home-brewed pure cherry soft drink. The drink was rebranded and launched with only slight adjustments to formula, mixed with Nuka-Cola then enhanced with color to boost visual appeal. It proved to be a drink with enduring popularity, though it was largely limited to the East Coast.|
A unique concoction created by Phil, the Nuka-Cola dude, responsible for refilling the Nuka-Cola machines across the wasteland. Fusion Cola is exactly what it says on the tin: A fusion of Nuka-Cola dregs into one, concentrated essence.
|Yellow Nuka-Cola||An empty bottle of Nuka-Cola filled to the brim with human urine, courtesy of Roshambo. Drinking is ill-advised.|
Behind the scenes
- Nuka-Cola is an obvious reference to Coca-Cola and its global presence. John-Caleb Bradberton's name is a portmanteau, referencing John Pemberton and Caleb Bradham, inventors of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola respectively.
- An actual bottle of Nuka-Cola was distributed to attendees at the 2008 E3 fair, as a promotional item. Its design did not mimic the one available in the game.
- Bottles of Nuka-Cola Quantum were distributed at various Targets in 2015 in preparation for Fallout 4's release. The design did not mimic the ones seen in-game.
- In 2018, Nuka-Cola Dark went on sale in large bottles mimicking the ones seen in Nuka-World, unfortunately, the bottle was merely a prop casing for the actual alcohol, contained in a smaller bottle inside the prop.