The world of Fallout is filled with fictitious brands that serve to flesh out its history and breathe life into what otherwise would be a barren landscape. One particular brand stands above the rest.
Delicious, crisp, refreshing, slightly radioactive, strangely addictive – there’s no shortage of adjectives to describe the premier soda pop of the Fallout universe, Nuka-Cola.
The brand is as iconic as the Power Armor, the Vault jumpsuits, and the Fat Man mini-nuke launcher. It even received its own DLC focused on Nuka-Cola content. Wasteland dwellers can still find plenty of unopened bottles in the numerous abandoned vending machines that dot the irradiated landscape.
But how much do you know about Nuka-Cola, its pre-war history, and its legacy in the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout? Sure, those bottle caps can be used as currency to buy all manner of survival goods, but is there a reason Nuka-Cola still has brand recognition, even 200 years after nuclear annihilation?
In this Nuka Cola Guide, I’ll first take a look at the entirety of Nuka-Cola’s backstory, from its founding to its present-day status in the Wasteland. Then I’ll give you the details of Nuka-Cola as an item in each game. After that, we’ll go over the nuclear beverage’s merch in the real world and see how you can get your own Nuka-Cola gear.
Grab your favorite drink (preferably non-radioactive, please) and settle in as we delve into all there is to know about Nuka-Cola.
Bottom Line Up Front
- Nuka-Cola is one of the most recognizable items from the Fallout series and has an interesting background.
- It can be found in most Fallout games as a consumable item.
- There are numerous flavors of Nuka-Cola, from the original to Nuka-Cola Quantum.
- The fictitious brand has spawned real-life merchandise and promotional items.
Following two years of experimentation to find just the right ingredients, John-Caleb Bradberton and the Nuka-Cola Corporation released the first bottle of the brown sugary liquid to the American public in 2044. By 2045, the drink had dominated the United States beverage market and was available throughout the country.
Its only competition was Sunset Sasparilla, which prompted the Nuka-Cola Corporation to release a root-beer flavored challenger called Nuka-Cola Wild.
Nuka-Cola vending machines could be found on sidewalks in nearly every town and city. It was the Coca-Cola of the Fallout world and it was here to stay – even outlasting the coming nuclear winter.
Not one to rest on this achievement alone, the Nuka-Cola Corporation continued to release new flavors up until the Great War in 2077. The most famous and addictive of these flavors was the glowing blue Nuka-Cola Quantum.
Quantum was the last new Nuka- Cola to be released, only had one production facility, and only reached a few cities before the world ended. The limited production of the drink has contributed to it being highly sought after by collectors and Nuka-Cola addicts alike.
In the post-war world of Fallout, empty glass bottles of Nuka-Cola and its variations can be found pretty much everywhere, from abandoned Red Rocket refilling stations to decimated houses to looted grocery stores. Billboard advertisements for Nuka-Cola still dot the wasteland, reminders of an imperfect civilization lost to nuclear devastation.
Unopened bottles can still be found, too, in the aforementioned vending machines and from vendors and trade caravans. While the bottles themselves are of little value, Nuka-Cola bottle caps are used as currency throughout the wasteland.
Nuka-Cola appears as a consumable item in most Fallout games. However, its base stats and effects have changed over time, as indicated by the table below.
|Fallout||0||3||10% chance of Nuka-Cola addiction|
|Fallout 2||0||3||10% chance of Nuka-Cola addiction|
|Fallout Tactics||0||3||10% chance of Nuka-Cola addiction|
|Fallout 3||1||20||+10 HP, +2 Radiation|
|Fallout: New Vegas||1||20||+2 HP (over 25 seconds), +3 Radiation, +1 bottle cap|
|Fallout 4||1||20||+20 HP, +10 AP, +5 Radiation|
|Fallout 76||1||10||+40 HP, +10 AP, +5 Radiation, +15% Water|
It’s important to note that the stats and effects above are only for the standard Nuka-Cola item, not its ice-cold or flavor variants.
Addiction to Nuka-Cola was possible in the early isometric titles (the original Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics), but this side effect was removed in subsequent games and replaced with an increase to the player’s Radiation meter.
Appearances and Variations
Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics
The original Nuka-Cola is the only available version of the item in the pre-Fallout 3 games. It has no real benefits and has a 10% chance of leading to addiction.
The Nuka-Cola bottles found in these games have a blue hue – “Dazzling Blue” to be exact – which is not to be confused with the blue color of Nuka-Cola Quantum in the later Fallout titles. It is later revealed in Fallout 3, which I’ll cover next, that the Dazzling Blue bottle was a fan favorite.
Fallout 3 is the first to make some changes to the advantages and disadvantages that Nuka-Cola bestows upon its drinkers. The chance of addiction is no longer there. Instead, Nuka-Cola heals the player for 10 HP and adds +2 to their Radiation level. Drinking the item also adds one bottle cap to your stash.
This title also marked the first appearance of Nuka-Cola variants in the series in the forms of ice-cold Nuka-Cola and Nuka-Cola Quantum. Both are different consumable items with different stats. Ice-cold Nuka-Cola heals the player for +20 HP instead of +10 but adds +3 Radiation.
Nuka-Cola Quantum, on the other hand, doesn’t heal the player. The glowing, Baby Blue soft drink gives the player +20 AP for the next 4 minutes and adds +10 Radiation.
It is also possible to become addicted to the Quantum variation. Each use of the item carries a 10% chance of addiction and adds +12 to the UMON counter (a metric that increases with usage and ups the chance of addiction).
Fallout: New Vegas
Obsidian Entertainment’s take on the Fallout universe slightly changed how Nuka-Cola affects its drinker. Bottles of Nuka-Cola found in the Mojave Wasteland heal the player for +2 HP every second for 25 seconds and add +3 to their Radiation meter. Drinking a Nuka-Cola also adds a bottle cap to the player’s inventory.
If you happen to be playing New Vegas on Hardcore mode, the drink will take away -15 Sleep but will dehydrate you at the cost of +10 Dehydration.
The ice-cold variant exists in Fallout: New Vegas, too. It doubles the amount of HP restored from +2 to +4, but over a shorter period of 20 seconds. In Hardcore mode, being ice-cold supercharges Nuka-Cola’s caffeinating abilities, removing -60 Sleep and still dehydrating the player for +10 Dehydration.
Two other variants are available in the base game: Nuka-Cola Quartz and Nuka-Cola Victory. Both appear drastically different than the original Nuka-Cola, at least in color. Quartz glows with a white hue that is similar to the mineral, while Victory is pinkish-red.
The benefits and drawbacks of each item are different from the original drink, too. Quartz grants the player Low-Light Vision for 2 minutes, adds +2 to the player’s Damage Threshold stat and generates +3 HP every second for 20 seconds while adding +10 Radiation.
As for Victory, it adds +3 HP every second over 20 seconds and gives the player +10 AP but lowers Perception by -1 for 2 minutes. Like Quartz, Victory increases the player’s Radiation by +10.
Nuka-Cola Quantum can be found in Fallout: New Vegas, but only with the addition of the Lonesome Road add-on. The negative effects of Quantum are less pronounced in New Vegas than they are in Fallout 3, as the drink only adds +8 Radiation instead of +10. It still gives the player +20 AP for 4 minutes.
In Hardcore mode, Quantum assures the player is wide awake as it takes away -100 Sleep while adding only +10 Dehydration.
Last on the list of variations in Fallout: New Vegas is the alcoholic Rum and Nuka. This version of Nuka-Cola functions more like other alcoholic drinks in Fallout as it affects primary stats, adding +1 to Strength and reducing Intelligence by -1 for 4 minutes. It still passes on Radiation to the player by adding 3.
Like the original Nuka-Cola, it adds a bottle cap to the player’s inventory after consumption. Hardcore mode’s Rum and Nuka isn’t as effective as regular Nuka-Cola, reducing Sleep by only -5 points while adding +15 points to Dehydration.
Fallout 4 is where we see massive additions not only to Nuka-Cola lore but also to the catalog of Nuka-Cola variations. This is all thanks to the Nuka-World DLC which allows players to explore the Nuka-World Amusement Park. Before we get there, let’s go over Nuka-Cola in the base game.
3 types of Nuka-Cola, plus their ice-cold variants, are available in the base version of Fallout 4: Nuka-Cola, Nuka-Cherry, and Nuka-Cola Quantum.
The appearance of the Nuka-Cola bottle is different in Fallout 4. Instead of the familiar glass bottle shape reminiscent of old Coke bottles, the bottle takes the form of a fat rocket or missile shape, complete with three grid fins.
The effects of all 3 are straightforward. Plain-Jane Nuka-Cola heals the player for +20 HP and +10 AP while adding +5 Radiation. Nuka-Cherry is slightly more powerful, giving its drinker +50 HP and +25 AP but only increasing Radiation by 5.
Quantum is easily the most powerful item of the 3 as it heals for +400 HP and +100 AP. Like the other two varieties, Quantum only increases the player’s Radiation level by +5.
There are so many kinds of Nuka-Cola introduced in Fallout 4’s Nuka-World DLC that a chart helps keep track of all of them. When Fallout 4’s Nuka-World DLC came out, it introduced a whopping 26 new flavors of Nuka-Cola! Some, like Newka-Cola, are mixes of other flavors and can be made at a Nuka-Mixer Station.
The chart below lists the normal version of them all (not the ice-cold versions):
|Newka-Cola||0||+200 HP, +50 AP||20|
|Nuka-Berry||-500||+200 HP, +50 AP||20|
|Nuka-Bombdrop||0||+1 Strength, Endurance, and Agility||20|
|Nuka-Buzz||0||+35 HP, +125 AP||20|
|Nuka-Cide||0||+1200 HP, +300 AP, +20 Max AP, +50 Max HP, +35 Radiation Resistance, +35 Carry Weight Limit||20|
|Nuka-Cola Dark||0||+1 Strength and Endurance, -1 Perception, 15% chance of alcohol addiction||50|
|Nuka-Cola Orange||0||+100 HP, +50 AP, +25 Radiation Resistance||20|
|Nuka-Cola Quartz||+15||+240 AP||40|
|Nuka-Cola Victory||+15||+840 HP||40|
|Nuka-Cola Wild||+5||+20 HP, +20 AP||20|
|Nuka-Cooler||+5||+1200 HP, +50 Max HP, +349 AP, +20 Max AP||20|
|Nuka-Fancy||0||+100 HP, +100 AP||20|
|Nuka-Frutti||-500||+200 HP, +50 AP, +25 Radiation Resistance||20|
|Nuka-Grape||-400||+100 HP, +50 AP||20|
|Nuka-Hearty||0||+150 HP, +50 AP, +25 Carry Weight Limit||20|
|Nuka-Lixir||0||+100 HP, +25 Radiation Resistance, +35 Damage Resistance||20|
|Nuka-Love||0||+100 HP, +300 AP||20|
|Nuka-Power||0||+60 Carry Weight Limit||20|
|Nuka-Punch||-500||+100 HP, +30 Max HP, +50 AP, +10 Max AP||20|
|Nuka-Ray||0||+999 HP, +25 Radiation Resistance||20|
|Nuka-Rush||0||+999 HP, +40 AP||20|
|Nuka-Sunrise||0||+100 HP, +50 AP, +25 Radiation Resistance||20|
|Nuka-Twin||0||+100 HP, +50 AP||20|
|Nuka-Void||0||+30 Max HP, +10 Max AP, +25 Carry Weight Limit||20|
|Nuka-Xtreme||-500||+30 Max HP, +10 Max AP||20|
That’s a lot of Nuka-Cola! Of course, the ice-cold variations of all of these flavors have increased effects.
Fallout Shelter, originally a mobile-only game that has since come to consoles and PC, has one big reference to Nuka-Cola: the Nuka-Cola bottler.
The Nuka-Cola bottler is the final room that can be obtained for your shelter. It fulfills a two-in-one function in that it can provide both food and water for residents of your vault. The Nuka-Cola bottler has a pretty significant price tag at 3000 caps plus 750 caps for each existing room.
The most recent entry in the Fallout franchise features its fair share of Nuka-Cola.
The familiar Nuka-Cola, Nuka-Cherry, and Nuka-Cola Quantum are available for drinking, as are Fallout 4 additions Nuka-Cola Orange, Nuka-Cola Grape, and Nuka-Cola Wild, but Fallout 76 adds a few new beverages to the collection: Nuka-Cola Cranberry, Nuka-Cola Vaccinated (also known as My Blood’s In It or Scorched), and Nukashine.
As with every previous Fallout title, Fallout 76 changes up the values of the advantages and disadvantages of drinking any Nuka-Cola beverage.
For example, regular Nuka-Cola heals the player for +40 HP and +10 AP, adds +5 to their Radiation meter, and hydrates the player for +15%. The following table covers the effects of the Nuka-Cola variants in Fallout 76:
|Nuka-Cola||+5||+40 HP, +10 AP, +15% Hydration||10|
|Nuka-Cherry||+4||+100 HP, +25 AP, +15% Hydration||25|
|Nuka-Cola Cranberry||0||+2% Bonus XP (10 mins), +40 HP, +15% Hydration||10|
|Nuka-Cola Dark||0||+1 Strength and Endurance, -1 Perception, +15% Hydration, 5% chance of alcohol addiction||75|
|Nuka-Cola Vaccinated/Scorched/My Blood’s In It||0||Reduces Scorched damage by 15% (10 min), +20% HP (2 secs), +2% HP (20 secs)||10|
|Nuka-Cola Orange||0||+150 HP, +50 AP, +25 Radiation Resistance, +15% Hydration||38|
|Nuka-Cola Quantum||+10||+200 HP, +100 AP, +15% Hydration||30|
|Nuka-Cola Wild||+5||+40 HP, +25 AP, +15% Hydration||38|
|Nuka-Grape||-400||+150 HP, +50 AP, +15% Hydration||25|
The Wild Appalachia update for Fallout 76 introduced Nukashine. Nukashine is exactly what it sounds like: a Nuka-Cola Quantum-infused moonshine-like alcohol that is known to cause blackouts and possible death.
Nukashine’s effects are super potent. It gives the player +50% AP regeneration, reduces the AP cost of sprinting by 80%, and increases fall speed by +25%. All effects take place over 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, you’ll black out and wake up with a wicked hangover causing Strength, Endurance, and Agility to reduce by 1 for 20 seconds.
Related Quests: Fallout
Steal Necklace from the Merchants
You’ll receive a Nuka-Cola from Jasmine, a member of the Thieves’ Circle, at the beginning of this quest.
Destroy the Super Mutants at the Watershed
Included in the highest and lowest reward for completing this quest are 4 Nuka Colas.
The Nuka-Cola Challenge
This side quest was the first to give us a real history of the Nuka-Cola Corporation and its products. Sierra Petrovita, a Nuka-Cola fanatic – she’s the President, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer of the Nuka-Cola Fan Club – will give the player this quest when they visit her home in Girdershade.
Before receiving the quest, Sierra gives the player a tour of her own little Nuka-Cola museum, complete with a complimentary ice-cold Nuka-Cola at the end. Sierra then asks the player to find and give her bottles of Nuka-Cola Quantum.
Handing over 30 bottles of Quantum will complete the quest and you’ll receive the schematics to build a Nuka grenade.
Zip’s Nuka Fix
There’s an odd character wandering around the settlement of Little Lamplight in Fallout 3, dressed in a mole outfit and hardhat. This is Zip, a Nuka-Cola addict. In exchange for bottles of Nuka-Cola to satisfy his addiction, Zip will give the player different items. These items include ammo and healing items like a stimpak.
As mentioned earlier, Fallout 4’s DLC included an entire expansion devoted to Nuka-Cola in the form of Nuka-World. Nuka-World’s add-on content can be started after reaching level 30 and listening to Nuka-Cola Family Radio or by going to the Nuka-World transit center at any point in the game.
In addition to allowing the player to discover flavors of Nuka-Cola and learn more about the history of Nuka-Cola and the Nuka-Cola corporation from in-game content and loading screens, Nuka-World details the struggle between the Sole Survivor (that’s you) and the boss of three raider gangs within the Nuka-World Amusement Park.
If you manage to kill the boss, Overboss Colter, you can then take control of or destroy the raider gangs. You can also take over sections of the amusement park as the new Overboss.
Promotions and Merchandise
Nuka-Cola is easily one of the most recognizable elements of the Fallout franchise. You can find traces of its pre-war popularity in the forms of posters, billboards, vending machines, and bottles both full and empty throughout the Capital Wasteland, the Commonwealth, and the Mojave Wasteland.
So it’s not surprising that Bethesda has seen fit to create merchandise using the Nuka-Cola logo.
A good example is the real-world Nuka-Cola Quantum. For a limited time before the release of Fallout 4, gamers could buy bottles of Nuka-Cola Quantum. The soda was made in a partnership between Jones Soda and Bethesda and was sold at the retail giant Target.
More generally, Nuka-Cola merch can be found on Bethesda’s own Bethesda Gear website. Shirts, hats, toys, and accessories adorned with the radioactive soft drink’s logo so you can fuel your Fallout and Nuka-Cola addiction.
Question: What is Nuka-Cola?
Answer: Nuka-Cola is a fictional soft drink in the Fallout video game series. It was created by John-Caleb Bradberton and the Nuka-Cola Corporation.
Question: Why is Nuka-Cola Quantum Blue?
Answer: Nuka-Cola Quantum is blue because of its ingredients. According to Fallout lore, the color comes from the use of the radioactive isotope Strontium-90. The radiation also gives the drink its glowing effect.
Question: Is Nuka-Cola a Real Drink?
Answer: In the sense that Nuka-Cola is a product that can be purchased on store shelves outside of some special promotion, no it isn’t a real drink. However, recipes to make your own homemade Nuka-Cola exist – minus the radiation, of course. Give one a try if you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Question: How many Bottles of Nuka-Cola Quantum Do I Need to Complete the Nuka-Cola Challenge Quest in Fallout 3?
Answer: Sierra, a Nuka-Cola collector and fangirl, gives the player a quest to collect Nuka-Cola Quantum in exchange for a reward. Whether you decide to give the bottles to Sierra or her neighbor Ronald, 30 bottles are required to complete this quest.
Question: Is the Nuka-Cola Bottler Worth it in Fallout Shelter?
Answer: While the Nuka-Cola bottler is quite expensive (3000 caps plus 750 caps for each existing room), I think it’s a worthwhile addition to your vault. It performs two functions by providing both food and water for your residents. That alone helps to make your vault more efficient in the long run.
The Fallout franchise is well-known for its art and depiction of an alternative history where nuclear power rose to the forefront of energy production in the United States. This had a trickle-down effect on nearly every aspect of American life, including on the products that the public consumed.
The most notable of these products is Nuka-Cola. This bottled soft drink, with rads and all, stands out in my mind as one of the coolest items and one of the most endearing pieces of lore in the Fallout universe.