New Coke Machine Pours 104 Drink Combos
'Freestyle' soda fountains let customers mix and match
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2010 12:10 PM CDT
Young Californians experience the new Coca-Cola Freestyle (TM) fountain dispenser for the first time at a Jack in the Box in Vista, Calif.   (Photo: Business Wire)

(Newser) – Remember the good old days of mixing Coke, root beer, and Sprite at the soda fountain? Coca-Cola is putting a high-tech spin on that concept with its new “Freestyle” fountains, the Wall Street Journal reports. Diners will be able to whip up 104 different drinks—say Sprite with grape, Coke Zero with lemon, or caffeine-free raspberry Diet Coke, to name a few—using a machine created by Ferrari designers.

A six-month test of the Freestyle machines bubbled up a few problems, like long lines while customers figure out the touch-screen menu and drip trays overflowing with discarded experiments. And anyone who is already upset at the price of a soda these days won’t be happy with the price bump (Coke expects a 10-cent rise in per-drink cost). But as soda sales drop, this could be a game-changer: Beverage sales at one test store are up 13%.