July 13/Purchase, N.Y./Reuters -- PepsiCo Inc. plans to test a new malt-flavored version of its Mountain Dew soda this summer in select U.S. cities, the company said, as it aims to stand out in a competitive soft-drink market.

Starting in late August, PepsiCo will sell "Mountain Dew Johnson City Gold" at Kroger Co and 7-Eleven stores in some cities in the Midwest as well as in Denver, Col., and Charlotte, N.C., said PepsiCo spokeswoman Andrea Foote.

She said the drink will have a malt flavor with a kick of lemon-lime. It is named for Johnson City, Tenn., the birthplace of the original Mountain Dew citrus-flavored soda.

PepsiCo's Foote said the new product was more about giving loyal Mountain Dew drinkers something unique rather than any large, corporate move into "craft sodas."

Craft, or small-batch, beers have been very popular in the U.S. over the last several years, taking market share from larger domestic brews. Craft distilling has also become popular, with smaller vodka, whiskey and gin brands gaining traction.

Craft drinks appeal to manufacturers in part because they usually command higher prices.

Indeed the Mountain Dew Johnson City Gold should sell for about $1.49 for a 16oz. can, Foote said, whereas regular sodas sell for about $0.99 for the same sized package.

Malt-flavored drinks are popular in parts of Latin America and the Middle East, Foote said, but are still relatively small Stateside.