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Taco Bell Menu Adds a Brisk (and Colorful) Drink

Yum's Taco Bell adds another drink innovation, beyond the cult classic Baja Blast.

Ever since Taco Bell started selling PepsiCo's  (PEP)  Mountain Dew Baja Blast in 2004,  the chain has been attracting customers who are looking specifically for uniquely flavored beverages. 

The bright blue drink, made to have a vaguely tropical flavor to complement the chain's Tex-Mex food, quickly became a cult favorite with its own following on Reddit and, over the years, attempts to have it take off in both boozy and store shelf versions.

Similarly to its Doritos Locos Tacos, the Yum Brands  (YUM)  chain has become inextricably linked to Baja Blast.

And Taco Bell is now partnering on another beverage that will have a distinct color: light purple.

Wait: There's a New Taco Bell Drink Coming?

Called Brisk Dragon Paradise Sparkling Iced Tea, the new Pepsi drink has a base of hibiscus tea with carbonation-caused bubbles and notes of dragon fruit, raspberry and blackberry.

The beverage will cost $2.19 for a medium size or, for Taco Bell Rewards members, will be free with any $1-or-more purchase every Friday until June 17.

"Along with our longstanding partners at Taco Bell, we can’t wait to introduce fans across the country to Brisk Dragon Paradise and look forward to their thoughts on this new sparkling tea," Alex Chiavegatti, senior director of PepsiCo Global Foodservice, said in a statement.

Brisk is known prominently for its large bottles of sweet iced tea that many students bought in their high-school vending machines. 

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Brisk Dragon Paradise Sparkling Iced Tea has been designed specifically for Taco Bell's menus and will be available on tap at participating restaurants across the country.

"At Brisk, we're dedicated to celebrating creative individuality and inspiring our passionate, enthusiastic fans with new innovations," Katrina McDonald, senior director at Pepsi Lipton Joint Venture Brands, said in a statement. "We're excited to see them try Brisk Dragon Paradise whenever and wherever they might be craving a cool, refreshing beverage."

Iced Tea Is a Major Beverage Trend

In recent years, iced tea — and sparkling iced tea in particular — have grown strongly popular. The global market for the iced beverage grew by a compounded annual rate of 5.4% between 2015 and 2019 and is expected to grow even more by 2030.

Bottled iced tea is projected to be an especially strong seller, growing at a compounded annual rate of more than 6%.

"Over the coming years, extensive demand for ice tea is expected with the arrival of trendy and flashy flavors," market-intelligence research firm Fact.MD wrote in a recent report.

"Also, reduced sugar and health-beneficial unsweetened ice tea is expected to go mainstream and is predicted to drive the market over the coming year."

Not all tea-market enterprises have proved successful. In 2017, Starbucks  (SBUX)  closed all branches of the Teavana chain, which it had acquired for $620 million in 2012. The sales, according to the coffee chain, did not justify the expense of operating so many specialized shops.

"As reported on the Q2 call, many of the company's principally mall-based Teavana retail stores have been persistently underperforming," Starbucks said in a statement at the time. "As a result, Starbucks will close all 379 Teavana stores over the coming year, with the majority closing by spring 2018."