When Emma Fergusson was a kid, she explored the bushland behind her house. Often, she’d take the dog through the scrubby Tasmanian trees, returning home sweaty and scratched. And every time, her folks would pour her a glass of Cascade Ultra-C. “After coming back from a walk, I’d have a blackcurrant juice with ice,” she recalled. “It was just so refreshing.”
Like many Tasmanians, the taste of Ultra-C Blackcurrant syrup is intimately connected to Emma’s youth. “I grew up drinking blackcurrant syrup. It very much reminds me of my childhood,” she explained. “My parents drank it, and their parents drank it.”
So, when the Coca-Cola Company purchased the Cascade brand and changed the Ultra-C formula back in 2013, Emma was eager to try the new flavour - but wasn’t all that happy with the result. "As soon as I tasted it, it didn't ring true to me."
Emma stocked up on bottles of the original Ultra-C. “I did a bit of detective work and found a shop on the outskirts of Hobart that had some old stock,” she laughed. “I went out there and bought two cartons of it - 18 bottles!”
She also made sure Coca-Cola knew exactly how she felt. Along with other passionate fans, Emma made her opinions known via the Coca-ColaFacebook page, while her Dad wrote emails outlining his disappointment.
Earlier this year Emma was extremely surprised when she heard back from Coke. “They responded, and explained they were undergoing a review of the product,” she said. “I thought, of course they’re going to say that; they’re a massive company.”
What she didn’t expect was what came next.
Based on the Tasmanian feedback around the beloved Cascade the Coca-Cola Company began a lengthy process to review the formula, working with Tasmanian fruit growers and taste experts to create a new refined taste, closer to the original.
“Coca-Cola really acted on it,” she said. “It was refreshing to see a multinational company do that for what would be a small customer base. It was really impressive.”
Earlier this year, Emma along with a handful of other passionate fans, was invited to the Tasmanian farm where the blackcurrants are grown to be one of the first in Tasmania to try the new taste.
Now with 10 per cent more fruit juice, 24 per cent less sugar and the natural aroma of blackcurrants, the new Ultra-C is made entirely from berries grown and picked in the state.
And the verdict? "It’s good," she said. "I’ll definitely buy it once it’s on the shelves."
Tasmanians and the rest of Australia can expect the new ‘refined’ taste of Ultra-C in stores from May.