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SODA SWITCH | FROM PEPSI TO COCA-COLA

Culver's hearing from angry Pepsi fans, happy Coca-Cola drinkers as it switches products

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Culver's (copy)

The Culver's on West Beltline Highway.

Culver’s, the beloved Wisconsin fast-food chain based in Prairie du Sac, is switching from Pepsi to Coca-Cola products and creating somewhat of an uproar.

The company hasn’t posted about the switch on Facebook, but hundreds of people have sounded off beneath unrelated posts on Culver’s page.

Do you prefer Pepsi or Coca-Cola?

You voted:

“I will have an excuse to find a new place to eat dinner twice a week,” said one unhappy Culver’s fan.

“I just read that Culver’s is switching from Pepsi to Coke. Bye-bye, Culver’s. You used to be a favorite place to eat, but what you have to drink is too important,” wrote another Pepsi drinker.

Other commenters applauded the move, which has gotten national media attention.

“Thank you for switching to Coke. Great choice. That’s why almost all other national chains use Coke. It’s the best,” said another.

Culver’s spokesperson Alison Demmer said the company isn’t tracking the reaction. “So, I don’t know, did X amount of guests say it’s positive and X amount of guests say it’s negative. But overall, we’re getting some guest questions and we’re answering those as best we can, as well as positive sentiment from guests who obviously love Coca-Cola.”

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Demmer said the company is in the middle of the switch, “transitioning to Coca-Cola products as we speak.”

The company, best known for its frozen custard and ButterBurgers, has 900 restaurants in 26 states, she said, and the switch will be completed this year.

Demmer said she couldn’t discuss the reason behind the change. “We’re not really going into details behind the (switch), the rationale, other than it was what’s best for our restaurants at this time.”

She said that besides Coca-Cola products, Culver’s is keeping its signature root beer, diet root beer, Dr. Pepper, and its sweetened and unsweetened teas. “So, it won’t be a clean switch.”

Demmer wasn’t able to say if all of its Wisconsin restaurants have switched.

“We don’t have a map of which restaurants,” she said. “All I can tell you is that we’re currently switching all restaurants to Coca-Cola, and it will take a while to get all 900 restaurants.”

Culver’s was founded in 1984 in Sauk City by Craig and Lea Culver. Demmer said Culver’s started with Coke and over the years, has served both Coke and Pepsi products.

During the first nine months of 2022, Coca-Cola held about 40% of the United States retail market share by volume, followed by PepsiCo with about 29%, according to Beverage Digest data quoted by CNN.

Read more restaurant news at go.madison.com/restaurants.

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