Homer Soda Company

Moxie in the glass-bottle

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Moxie is a carbonated beverage that was one of the first mass-produced soft drinks in theUnited States. It continues to be regionally popular today.

Moxie has a unique flavor that is not as sweet as that of most modern soft drinks and that is described by some as “bitter.”

Moxie is closely associated with the state of Maine and was designated the official soft drink of Maine on May 10, 2005.[1] Its creator, Dr. Augustin Thompson, was born in Union, Maine.

Moxie originated as a patent medicine called “Moxie Nerve Food,”[2] which was created around 1876 by Dr. Augustin Thompson of Union, Maine.[3] Thompson claimed that it contained an extract from a rare, unnamed South American plant, which had supposedly been discovered by a friend of his, Lieutenant Moxie,[2] who had used it as a panacea. Moxie, he claimed, was especially effective against “paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness, and insomnia.”[2]

After a few years, Thompson added soda water to the formula and changed the product’s name to “Beverage Moxie Nerve Food.” By 1884 he was selling Moxie both in bottles and in bulk as a soda fountain syrup. He marketed it as “a delicious blend of bitter and sweet, a drink to satisfy everyone’s taste.”[4]

A lawsuit was filed in 1907 by the Moxie Nerve Food Company of New England against the Modox Company and others, alleging that they had copied the ingredients of Moxie and were using the name “Modox,”[5] which closely resembled “Moxie,” and were infringing upon patents and trademarks.[6] The suit was dismissed by the judge, who said the court could not protect the legitimate part of the plaintiff’s business in this case. In a later case in New York, the Moxie Nerve Food Company won a lawsuit against Modox, which subsequently went out of business.[5]

President Calvin Coolidge was known to favor the drink, and Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams endorsed it on radio and in print. The company also marketed a beverage called “Ted’s Root Beer” in the early sixties. Author E. B. White once claimed that “Moxie contains gentian root, which is the path to the good life.”[7] Currently, one of the ingredients of Moxie is “Gentian Root Extractives,” which may contribute to the drink’s unique flavor.[8]

The brand suffered a significant decline in sales during the 1930s, which is thought to have been caused by the company’s decision to expand its sugar reserves at the expense of its popular advertising campaign.

Due to competition from Coca-Cola, demand for Moxie has waned in recent years, although the brand persists in New England andPennsylvania.

Sugar-free Diet Moxie was introduced in 1962.

Through extensive advertising, the neologism ”moxie” has entered popular American usage with the meaning “courage, daring, and energy,”[9][10] as in “This guy’s got moxie!”

In its advertising, Moxie used “Make Mine Moxie!” advertising jingles, the slogan “Just Make It Moxie for Mine,” and a “Moxie Man” logo.

A unique advertising tool was the Moxie Horsemobile, a modified automobile whose driver sat on a large model of a horse. The first Horsemobiles were deployed around 1918. A 1935 Rolls-Royce Moxie Horsemobile was sold for $55,000 at the May 20, 2011, Mecum Auction in IndianapolisIndiana. Moxie at one time maintained about two dozen of them, and they appeared in parades and other public functions.

Every summer, “all things Moxie” are celebrated at the Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls, Maine.

There is a Moxie museum in Union, Maine, which houses a 30-foot-tall wooden Moxie bottle, once used as a soda stand, and other historical Moxie artifacts. This is an annex to the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage, which is located at the Union Fairgrounds.

The Moxie brand was purchased in 1966 by the Monarch Beverage Company of Atlanta. In 2007 Monarch sold it to its current owner, Cornucopia Beverages Inc. of Bedford, New Hampshire, which is owned by the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England, a subsidiary of the Kirin Brewery Company, based in Tokyo.[11]

Cornucopia cites increasing requests for Moxie from fans across the country in its decision to step up efforts to distribute the product. In 2007 it launched pilot sales in Florida and in 2010 granted distribution in Florida to Florida Micro Beverage Distributors.[3]

In 2007, Cornucopia organized a sampling event at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The Catawissa Bottling Company in Catawissa, Pennsylvania, is one of six bottlers in the United States that produce Moxie. Catawissa has produced it since 1945.[12]