UPDATE: Bottled Baja Blast to Hit Shelves May 5

Online photos enflame fan furor for Mountain Dew-Taco Bell fountain favorite

Mountain Dew Baja Blast PepsiCo Taco Bell (CSP Daily News / www.cspnet.com / Convenience Store Petroleum)

UPDATE: Following the rumors and online wishing, Mountain Dew officially announced April 24 that it will, for the first time, make Mtn Dew Baja Blast available for a limited time in bottles and cans.

The tropical-lime flavored beverage, which was introduced 10 years ago as a “Taco Bell original,” will hit shelves starting on May 5 through the end of the summer … or when supplies run out.

Mtn Dew Baja Blast will be available in single-serve 20 oz. bottles and 24-oz. cans, as well as 12-packs of 12-oz. cans.

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- PepsiCo is again mining its partnership with Taco Bell, with plans to start selling the Mexican quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain's popular Mountain Dew Baja Blast fountain drinks in bottles and cans for the first time next month, reported the Associated Press.

The soda and snack food company told the news agency that it is planning a national TV ad for the drink, which will be available for a limited time starting May 5.

Reports of the bottled version of Baja Blast--the second most popular drink at Taco Bell--began circulating among Mountain Dew fans after photos appeared online.

PepsiCo and Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands Inc., which owns Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, did not disclose terms of the agreement or how sales will be divided.

PepsiCo is a beverage supplier for Yum, which it spun off in 1997. That means PepsiCo benefits when Yum's restaurant chains sell more drinks. The companies are hoping the cans and bottles of Baja Blast at supermarkets and retail outlets will boost awareness of the drink's availability at Taco Bell among Mountain Dew fans.

Taco Bell offers a variety of unique PepsiCo drinks at its more than 6,000 U.S. restaurants. The chain's chief marketing officer, Chris Brandt, told AP that the exclusive drinks have helped increase the company's beverage sales, even as soda sales have declined in the broader market. He noted that people are more likely to buy drinks when they are available exclusively at the chain.

PepsiCo developed Baja Blast exclusively for Taco Bell 10 years ago. Brandt said the drink's citrus flavor pairs well with the chain's food.

Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell Corp. has nearly 6,000 restaurants across the United States.

Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Its main businesses are Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola.