Doin' the Dew: A History

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We’ve all filled our gullets with the ubiquitous elixir known as Mountain Dew at some point. But does anyone really know anything about the trademark drink of our generation? Why it tastes the way it does, why it’s so damned addictive, where it came from? The answers are actually pretty surprising; as it turns out, Dew isn’t just our generation’s drink; its origin dates all the way back to the 1940s, and it didn’t start out as anything close to the Dew we all know and love today. It took 20 years to evolve into the carbonated joy that is the modern Dew, and it took 30 more years to truly break into the mainstream and become the energy supply of choice for sleep-deprived teens everywhere.

 

Mountain Dew actually surfaced in Virginia in the early ‘40s as a lithiated-lemon mixer used with hard liquor in bars; similar to 7-Up. The concoction was originally created by two brothers, Ally and Barney Hartman, who jokingly named the drink “Mountain Dew” after “Tennessee Mountain Moonshine”, a popular product in the hills of Virginia at the time- the mixer was at one time even billed as “zero proof hillbilly moonshine”. The moonshine theme didn’t stick, but the hillbilly did, and when Mountain Dew was trademarked and labeled, it included a cartoon hillbilly taken from the creators’ original label design, who would eventually grow to become the drink’s official mascot for years to come. Later named ‘Gran’Pappy’, he soon became a popular icon in bars, and appeared on several Mountain Dew products and merchandise, lasting for several more decades.

 

In the 1950’s the Tip Corporation, the owners of the Mountain Dew brand, distributed the drink all over the Eastern Seaboard. Several bottlers manufactured and distributed Dew, in two different sizes costing 5 and 15 cents respectively, complete with the then-famous label featuring Gran’Pappy the Hillbilly shooting at a man running out of an outhouse.

Drowning despite Dew’s strong sales, Tip approached Pepsi-Cola in the early 1960’s to sell the Mountain Dew brand. However, the product was in direct competition with Pepsi’s own lemon-flavored drink- Teem. So, the owners went back to the drawing board- they reduced the amount of carbonation and added more sugar and caffeine, as well as mixing in enough orange juice to remove it from the “lemon-lime soda” category. Thus, Mountain Dew as we know it was born, and Pepsi bought Dew’s new brew on September 2nd, 1964.

 

Mountain Dew quickly became Pepsi’s second best-selling drink (next to Pepsi itself), and a new advertising campaign featured ‘Willy “Gran’Pappy” Hillbilly’, along with all his yokel kin, encouraging Dew drinkers to “Yahooooo- Drink Mountain Dew! It’ll tickle yer innards!” By the early 70’s, however, it was clear that Willy the Hillbilly had run out of steam, so Mountain Dew’s image was again redesigned, this time appealing to the young outdoors-type. The bottles were changed yet again to reflect this new attitude; and the public got their first glimpse at the now-famous “wavy” logo, which would grace bottles of Mountain Dew to decades to come. 

 

Throughout the 70’s and 80’s Mountain Dew enjoyed moderate success, as one of Pepsi’s top-grossing sodas. A Diet Dew was released in 1988; but that was nothing compared to the Dew Revolution of 1990s. It started in 1993, when Pepsi first unveiled its new tagline for Mountain Dew: “Do the Dew”. Commercials were produced featuring the ‘Dew Dudes’, including the award-winning “Been There, Done That”. Soon after, Mountain Dew was poised to take its place in a new generation by sponsoring the first-ever X-Games in 1995. A new breed of Dew lovers was born, and the rest of the 90’s is Mountain Dew history, as the youth culture embraced the addictive yellow-green potion.

 

In 2001, the first-ever Mountain Dew spin-off burst onto the scene- Mountain Dew Code: Red. Combining classic Dew with ‘a rush of cherry flavor’, it quickly became a hot-seller in cold cases across America, alongside its older brother. Amp, a Dew-based energy drink, soon followed, and a year later Diet Code: Red was released. The summer of 2003 saw the arrival of the legendary Mountain Dew LiveWire- an orange-twisted Dew variant. It was a hit in its first limited summer release, and returned the next year- along with Mountain Dew: Baja Blast, a lime-flavored Dew available only at Taco Bell; and Pitch Black, a Halloween-themed Dew, dark purple and grape-flavored, which also saw a short lifespan.

 

Today, Mountain Dew is at the height of its popularity, enjoying its status as the ultimate liquid of choice for teens and the #1 source of caffeine for college students the world over. As a staple of today’s youth culture and a mainstay in the stomachs of people across the globe, Mountain Dew remains the king of the carbonated soft-drinks.

 

And just for the record: no, it WON’T make you sterile.

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Comments
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Anonymous, 4/25/2007 10:46:53 AM
Score: 0  
mountion dew rox my sox
Anonymous, 5/10/2007 12:06:05 PM
Score: 0  
diet Dew
was launched earlier than 1988, I believe it was Aug. 1985.
basscomm, 5/10/2007 12:25:37 PM
Score: 0  
Wikipedia is claiming 1984.
Anonymous, 5/22/2007 9:10:07 PM
Score: 0  
NCPEPSIMAN
WIKIPEDIA AND ANONYMOUS ARE INCORRECT. I WAS THERE WHEN DIET DEW WAS INTRODUCED IN EVERY PEPSI OPERATION IN NC & SC - FALL OF 1987. THANKS TO EXTREMELY HIGH PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION OF MT DEW, THE CAROLINAS WERE SELECTED TO ROLL THE BRAND INTO A SPECIFIC GEOGRAPHIC MARKETING AREA (CAROLINAS) - IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS - CAUGHT COMPETITION FLAT FOOTED (THEY STILL ARE). LATER CAME CAFFEINE FREE MT DEW & CAFFEINE FREE DIET MT DEW, WHICH ARE STILL POPULAR IN THE CAROLINAS AND UPPER MIDWEST. OUTSIDE THESE 2 REGIONS, DIET DEW AND THE CAFFEINE FREES ARE DIFFICULT TO FIND.
Anonymous, 5/22/2007 9:11:48 PM
Score: 0  
NCPEPSIMAN
WIKIPEDIA AND ANONYMOUS ARE INCORRECT. I WAS THERE WHEN DIET DEW WAS INTRODUCED IN EVERY PEPSI OPERATION IN NC & SC - FALL OF 1987. THANKS TO EXTREMELY HIGH PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION OF MT DEW, THE CAROLINAS WERE SELECTED TO ROLL THE BRAND INTO A SPECIFIC GEOGRAPHIC MARKETING AREA (CAROLINAS) - IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS - CAUGHT COMPETITION FLAT FOOTED (THEY STILL ARE). LATER CAME CAFFEINE FREE MT DEW & CAFFEINE FREE DIET MT DEW, WHICH ARE STILL POPULAR IN THE CAROLINAS AND UPPER MIDWEST. OUTSIDE THESE 2 REGIONS, DIET DEW AND THE CAFFEINE FREES ARE DIFFICULT TO FIND.
basscomm, 5/22/2007 11:00:25 PM
Score: 0  
The official Mt. Dew site is saying 1988 here: http://www.mountaindew.com/about_dew/history/history05.php
Anonymous, 4/15/2008 12:56:17 PM
Score: 0  
DAAAAM
Basscom got you all
Anonymous, 4/17/2008 10:48:17 AM
Score: 0  
If You Want Good Sexy Back Aches Then Ask Me About It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think that Mountain Dew is pretty dang good stuff, and i just wanted to have and awesome comment on here so peace! Sincerely, Smithers Witherstein
Anonymous, 5/10/2008 7:20:02 PM
Score: 0  
Mountain Dew?
Not one mention of the Minges?
Anonymous, 3/7/2011 8:50:07 AM
Score: 0  
Why Mnt. Dew is so good=P
the reason why mnt. dew is so good is because of the stuff they put into it. it is so good i can not get enough of it . when i drink it my taste buds just explode into a world of yummyness. i hope they never stop makeing.......ps. you guys are doing a great job.
Anonymous, 4/3/2011 11:06:11 AM
Score: 0  
Montain dew
Im 15 and mountain dew is amazing i drink it like 4 times a day !!!
Anonymous, 5/1/2011 10:13:10 AM
Score: 0  
A Great Hobby
Collecting hillbilly Mountain Dew items from the 50s and 60s is a great hobby. There are over 900 different bottles documented, signs, paper items, point of purchase items and so much more to collect. If you want a fun hobby that you will never be bored with - collect hillbilly Mountain Dew items.

Check out

www.MountainDewBottles.com

and

www.MountainDewBottleClub.com

to get a better idea of what's out there.

Anonymous, 5/25/2011 10:20:50 AM
Score: 0  
yup
Made by: Pepsi Co Inc, near Headquarters Dr, Plano, TX 75024
Mountain dew started with the original flavor, a lemon-lime citrus drink. After 28 years of success with the original Mountain dew, Pepsi Corp. came out with a new type of mountain dew: Caffeine-free mountain dew. Surprised? Yes, Caffeine-free mountain dew came before Diet mountain dew, and is still in production today, but only 8 years later, they came out with the Sugar free mountain dew, otherwise called “Diet mountain Dew”. But, for people who wanted a good tasting, and not bad for you drink, Only 1 year later, they mixed the two to make “Caffeine Free Diet Mountain Dew”.
Also in 1988, mountain dew came out with the first flavored drink(other than lemon-lime), called mountain dew RED. Sound familiar? No, its not Mountain Dew CODE red, it was just a cherry citrus drink made in 1988. Sadly, it was also discontinued in 1988. in 2001, the First flavored drink hit the shelves, only to be called mountain dew CODE red. This mountain dew, however, was more successful in the long run, and it is still being produced today. The next mountain dew flavor (and my favorite, personally) is called mountain dew LIVEWIRE. Livewire has the taste of tangerine oranges. Mountain dew Livewire hit the shelves in 2003, and continues to please the many taste buds to this day. Mountain dew Livewire was followed by other solid flavors, such as mountain dew pitch black, mountain dew baja blast(although 2 flavors), and mountain dew pitch black 2. then it started getting crazy right around 2007, with the release of Mountain Dew Game Fuel. Mountain Dew Game Fuel was a limited time flavor, and had a cherry citrus taste. The offer ended 12 weeks later. Then mountain dew Gave the PEOPLE a vote on what flavor should be next, to ensure profit and success. There were many flavors, in both diet and non-diet flavors. These include:
“Mountain Dew Supernova, a magenta colored strawberry-melon flavored Dew with ginseng.
Mountain Dew Revolution, A blue and white colored, wild berry fruit flavored Dew with ginseng.
And Mountain Dew Voltage, A deep blue-colored raspberry-citrus and ginseng-flavored Dew.”
When voting started, Mountain Dew Revolution had an early lead, but ended up in third place. Supernova took second. Mountain dew Voltage was the one who walked away with the victory, and has become a permanent flavor of mountain dew. In the diet mountain dew faction there was(brace yourself):
“Diet Mountain Dew Typhoon, A strawberry-pineapple flavored Diet Mountain Dew. Part of Diet Mountain Dew challenge series of flavors, but it lost.
Diet Mountain Dew Distortion, A zero-calorie green, lime-flavored Mountain Dew. Part of Diet Mountain Dew challenge series of flavors, but it lost.
Diet Mountain Dew White Out, A white, smooth citrus-flavored Diet Mountain Dew. Part of Diet Mountain Dew challenge series of flavors, but it lost.
Diet Mountain Dew Flare, A berry citrus-flavored Diet Mountain Dew. Part of Diet Mountain Dew challenge series of flavors, but it lost.
Diet Mountain Dew Crave, A sweet and sour apple-flavored Diet Mountain Dew. Part of Diet Mountain Dew challenge series of flavors, but it lost.”
All of those flavors were losers in the competition, but still was a pretty good profit to the Pepsi corporation. Then there were 2 other flavors that took the lead:
Diet Mountain Dew Voltage !
“Diet Mountain Dew Voltage was a raspberry citrus-flavored Diet Mountain Dew, which also contains a "shot of ginseng”. This flavor was one of the Diet Mountain Dew challenge series of flavors. It came in 2nd place and lost to Diet Mountain Dew Supernova.”
Diet Mountain Dew Supernova!
“Diet Mountain Dew Supernova is a strawberry melon-flavored Diet Mountain Dew. This version began as one of the Diet Mountain Dew challenge series of flavors. It placed first during all rounds of "FanDEWmonium" voting in early 2011. Diet Mountain Dew Supernova was released in the U.S. alongside Diet Dew Voltage on March 6th 2011 for eight weeks. It won FanDEWmonium with 55% of all votes, and this flavor became a permanent addition to the Diet Mountain Dew flavor line-up.”
Mountain dew Slurpee and energy drinks.
Despite all of the great soft drinks that mountain dew has, there also working on the ice. Mountain dew has many Slurpees such as:
Mountain Dew Blue Shock: “Berry-citrus flavored Mountain Due Shock was initially test-marketed in chicago in can and bottle formats, but sales did not meet expectations and as a result, it was released in 2002 in the U.S. exclusively in Slurpee form at 7-Eleven stores. As of 2011, it remains listed as a current flavor according to 7-Eleven.”
other flavors involved: “Darth Dew Mountain, Dew Pitch Black Freeze, Mountain Dew Arctic Burst, Mountain Dew Kryptonite Ice, Dew Iced, Mountain Dew Blue Shock Freeze and Mountain Dew Thin Ice Freeze.”
Mountain dew MDX.
Mountain dew MDX came about in 2005, because all name brands and coca cola were making such big profits off of energy soft drinks. MDX was made In 2 different varieties, in the sugar-free and no diet kind. MDX was discontinued in 2007 due to slow sales.
So from the beginning, and all the way to the possible end, mountain dew is satisfying everyone from Indonesia to japan, America to the U.K, and will be popular until the end.

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