NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Since 2004, Taco Bell (YUM) restaurants have offered an exclusive Mountain Dew Baja Blast flavor, made by PepsiCo (PEP). In 2012, the company took it a step further with the Baja Blast Freeze.
According to several rumors, Taco Bell's exclusive contract to sell the cult Baja Blast brand is running out. (Pepsi has stayed quiet on the topic.) Pepsi could see a boost in its carbonated beverage sales with a national rollout of the otherwise inaccessible drink.
Pepsi stock closed Thursday at $81.86, down 1.3% year to date and up 6.26% over the past 52 weeks. Yum! Brands, Taco Bell's parent company, closed Thursday at $75.25, down 0.48% YTD and up 7.19% for the past year.
An Instagram picture has set the internet buzzing about a possible launch of Baja Blast in bottles or fountain to the world outside Taco Bell. The pictures suggest a rollout in May of 2014. Pepsi officials refused to comment on the speculation.
Pepsi's silence makes me think this is not just a rumor or hoax.
The popular tropical lime-flavored drink has been a staple to Taco Bell stores for the last decade. The cult favorite Baja Blast -- along with food offerings from Pepsi's Doritos brand -- have likely been a major factor in Taco Bell's increase in same-store sales.
In January, Taco Bell launched exclusive drinks Mountain Dew Sangrita Blast and Diet Mountain Dew Baja Blast, plus several new Pepsi flavors, including Manzanita Sol, Brisk Mango Fiesta, Brisk Iced Tea and Lemonade and SoBe Lifewater Yumberry Pomegranate. With a wider rollout of Baja Blast, Taco Bell could gain traffic by remaining the only source of diet Baja Blast.