Posted on January 21, 2015
It is named after moonshine and started out as a lithium-infused lemon soda to be used as a whisky mixer. The company has always played up the hillbilly origins of its name, with a hillbilly for a spokesperson and slogans like “It’ll Tickle Your Innards” and “Dewin It Country Cool”. Today, it is marketed to extreme sports fanatics and anyone who needs lots of energy to get things done.
Brothers Ally and Barney Hartman, of Hartman Beverage bottle a drink containing lithium and lemon to be used as a personal mixer for hard-liquor bars. They affectionately call it “Mountain Dew” after Tennessee Mountain Moonshine.
The Hartman brothers add a label to the bottle, featuring a drawing of a hillbilly with a gun and the inscription, misspelled by the artist: “by BARNEY and OLLIE.” They take the bottle to a convention in Gatlinburg, Tennessee where they are assured by friends that their product, nothing more than a joke, could turn them a tidy profit. On the way back from the convention the brothers meet Charlie Gordon, of Tri-City Beverage, who is interested in the brothers’ drink.
The Hartman brothers trademark their label.
Barney Hartman dies.
During this period, the label on the bottle has its makers’ signatures beneath the name Mountain Dew. The gun-happy hillbilly, newly nicknamed Gran’ Pappy, becomes the Mountain Dew mascot.
Ally orders green bottles of the first ACL Mountain Dew. The green bottle, in white paint, has a revenuer running from an outhouse as a hillbilly shoots at him. Beneath the Mountain Dew logo, the bottle also reads: “by Barney and Alley.” When the bottles arrive they are stashed in a warehouse.
Charles Gordon decides that Tri-City Beverage needs to expand its soft drink choices and contacts Ally Hartman who agrees to sell its first Mountain Dew franchise to Tri-City Beverage.
Mountain Dew becomes available commercially. The very first ACL Mountain Dew bottle reads: “by Charlie – Jim and Bill” (Charlie Gordon, Jim Archer and Bill Kibler)
Hartman Beverage pulls out the bottles stashed in the warehouse back in ’51 and begins commercially selling ACL Mountain Dew.
Brothers Richard and Dick, along with Herman and Dean Minges, work out a deal with Ally and begin bottling Mountain Dew at their Fayetteville, NC Pepsi plant. These bottles usually have “by Dean and Dick” beneath the Mountain Dew logo. At this time, Pepsi takes notice of Mountain Dew‘s potential.
Herman leaves the Fayetteville Pepsi Plant and opens a new one with his dad in Lumberton, NC. They put out their own Mountain Dew bottle with the “by Herman and LL” signature.
The Tip Corporation is sold to Ally and four other men, Bill Jones (its current President), RB Minges, Herman Minges and Wythe Hull.
Ally Hartman sells the Mountain Dew brand to the Tip Corporation.
Bill Bridgforth becomes plant manager of Tri-City Beverage in Johnson City, Tennessee. He works with Bill Jones to come up with a new flavor they call Tri-City Lemonade.
Bridgforth transfers his Tri-City Lemonade flavor into the Mountain Dew bottles, replacing its 7-up flavor.
Herman Minges transfers the Tri-City Lemonade flavor into the Mountain Dew bottles in hopes of competing against the local brand, SunDrop Cola.
Tip Corporation grants its first franchise to the Pepsi-Cola Bottling in Kinston, NC.
Pepsi purchases the Tip Corporation, including the rights to Mountain Dew. Up to this point, at least 174 differently named bottles have appeared. This all comes to an end when Pepsi doesn’t allow any more names on the label.
Pepsi unveils its “Yahoo Mountain Dew … It’ll tickle your innards” campaign. Gran’ Pappy the hillbilly stars as its spokesperson.
Gran’ Pappy’s popularity goes down and Mountain Dew gets a new image with a wavy logo and new advertising campaign geared towards a “younger, outdoorsy generation.”
Caffeine-free Mountain Dew is released.
The 1977 slogan is “Hello, Sunshine, Hello, Mountain Dew.”
The 1980 commercial featured the slogan “Give me a Dew!”
Sugar-Free Mountain Dew is released in all-red packaging.
A 1985 ad featured the slogan “Dew It Country Cool!”
A 1987 ad also featured the “Dew It Country Cool!” slogan.
Diet Dew is released with “100% Nutrasweet” and the same “Dew It Country Cool!” slogan.
Mountain Dew Sport is test released.
Mountain Dew Sport is officially released along with a Diet Mountain Dew Sport and 2 Calorie version.
Mountain Dew Sport is discontinued.
The “Do the Dew” campaign begins with the Dew Dudes starring in the commercials.
Mountain Dew sponsors the first X-Games.
Mountain Dew Code: Red debuts, as a mixture of classic Dew with “a rush of cherry flavor.”
Mountain Dew LiveWire debuts, a mixture of orange and Dew.
Mountain Dew: Baja Blast debuts exclusively at Taco Bell, with a lime-flavor.
Pitch Black debuts featuring a dark purple color and grape-flavor. In South Korea it is called Wild Black.
Pitch Black II is released, similar to Pitch Black but with a sour flavor.
It is announced that popular but discontinued flavors will be re-released in May 2011 as part of the Back by Popular DEWmand promotion, with a special emphasis on Pitch Black.
Pitch Back is released again as part of the Back by Popular DEWmand promotion. Its slogan in the U.S. and Canada is “DEW with a blast of Black Grape with other natural flavors” and internationally it is “DEW with a punch of Grape Citrus flavour.” Supernova and Typhoon are also re-released as part of the promotion, with Typhoon being sold exclusively in Walmart. At the same time, regular Mountain Dew gets a makeover in the “Mtn Dew” style.
An interactive website called The Throwback Shack is launched. Mountain Dew fans can enter to win prizes. The same month, the Loot for Labels promotion is launched, which allows people to mail in Mountain Dew labels in exchange for Mountain Dew merchandise.
The flavors released as part of Back by Popular DEWmand are removed from the shelves.
The entire line of Mountain Dew products is re-launched in Canada with caffeine and Diet Mountain Dew is released there for the first time.
A new flavor, Dark Berry, is announced as part of a promo for The Dark Knight Rises called DewGothamCity. In addition, existing flavors of Mountain Dew get temporary label makeovers to go with the Dark Knight Rises promotion.
A breakfast line of Mountain Dew energy drinks is released: Kickstart Energizing Orange Citrus and Kickstart Energizing Fruit Punch. Each can contains 95 mg of caffeine, comparable to the 100 mg of caffeine in an average cup of coffee. These energy drinks become wildly popular, doing more than $150 million in retail sales in their first couple of years on the market.
Two more Kickstart flavors are released, this time geared towards nighttime rather than breakfast. Kickstart Energizing Black Cherry and Kickstart Energizing Limeade
A promotion for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sees the release of Game Fuel Citrus Cherry and Game Fuel Lemonade.
There are rumors of a new flavor of Mountain Dew called Dewitos that is Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew. Pepsi Co. confirms the rumor and says they are testing it on college campuses.
They give a statement to USA Today: “We are always testing out new flavors of Mountain Dew, and giving our fans a voice in helping decide on the next new product has always been important to us. We opened up the DEW flavor vault and gave students a chance to try this Doritos-inspired flavor as part of a small program at colleges and universities.”