Sometime in the 40’s the Hartman brothers began bottling a “lithiated-lemon” drink as a mixer for hard liquor. They called their drink “Mountain Dew” after the moonshine made in the Tennessee Mountains.
The Great Beginning
Sometime in the 40's the Hartman brothers began bottling a "lithiated-lemon" drink as a mixer for hard liquor. They called their drink "Mountain Dew" after the moonshine made in the Tennessee Mountains. I find this somewhat ironic as I've never found anything that mixes well with Dew. Rum and Coke, Gin and Sprite, Whiskey and Dr. Pepper. Mountain Dew and .......? (Trust me I have tried everything in the liquor cabinet, so if anyone out there has a recipe please post it in the comments!)
Also somewhat ironic is a dental condition endemic to the Appalachian Mountains and very rural areas of the south is known as "Mountain Dew Mouth". The high sugar and acid content of the drink, combined with the tendency of drinkers to sip from a bottle all day long, creates a perfect breeding ground for plaque causing bacteria.
Helping to cement Mountain Dew's pride-of-place in the redneck diet was the Hillbilly iconography used from the 1950's to the early 70's starring Willy "Gran'Pappy" the Hillbilly, including a label featuring him shooting at a man running out of an outhouse.
After their being turned down by Pepsi-Cola in the early 60's, the current owners then changed the formula, decreasing carbonation and adding more sugar, caffeine (yeah caffeine!) and orange flavor to avoid competing with Pepsi's current lemon-lime flavor drink "Teem" (huh? Teem? Never heard of it.) Thus the Mountain Dew we all know and love obsessively was born and was sold to Pepsi on September 2nd, 1964.
It soon boasted sales second only to Pepsi itself, and a new advertising campaign featuring Gran'Pappy and all his Hillbilly kin was launched, encouraging Dew drinkers to "Yahooooo - Drink Mountain Dew! It'll tickle yer innards!".
This iconography was brought back in 2008 as a smart phone .app by Pepsi, apparently in a lame attempt to be all hip and satirical, since the people who actually remember the Hillbilly ads are drinking Metamucil with a prune juice chaser now. Not exactly the smart phone demographic.
Buy This Drink!
Although not nearly as creepy as the 1974 ad slogan "Hello, Sunshine, Hello, Mountain Dew ", there have been many oddly worded slogans over the years "Get that barefoot feeling drinking Mountain Dew", "Put a little Yahoo in your life" and "Dew It Country Cool".
During the 80's there was a paradigm shift and advertisements were targeted mainly to teenage boys using the idea of "extreme" - skateboard tricks, sky-diving, bungee-jumping, gratuitous head-butts. Not that your average 14-year old DID any of these things but drinking Dew gave him the illusion that OTHER people might think that at any moment he might just do a 360 Ollie with a flip. Sort of like standing on the corner smoking makes you think you look cool.
Since the kids of the 80's are now the middle-aged parents (who drink Starbuck's for their caffeine kick) of teens who drink things like Red Bull, Monster & Rock Star, and disdain the puny amounts of caffeine in a Dew, the advertising paradigm has shifted again. The latest bottles seem targeted to the geek and the gamer (World of Warcraft Game Fuel anyone?). The guy who has no plans to jump off of or out of anything, but needs to stay up until 3:00 am for an epic Dungeon run with his guild. (Shoutout to my peeps in Dead Silence!)
The Myth and The Legend
Over the years there have been many urban legends associated with Mountain Dew, most common was the myth that it would either shrink teenage boy's testicles or that it would lower his sperm count, thus acting as a form of birth control. As in "I'm safe honey, drank 3 Dews today".
I've met a few people with Jack Daniels induced children, but I think the embarrassment factor probably keeps anyone from admitting they have a Dew Baby. Yellow #5, the culprit in this myth is a widely used food and beverage coloring, and while it does have some toxic effects at very high doses, the amount of Dew required to reach this dose would first cause one's teeth to fall out (See Mountain Dew Mouth above), thus seriously adversely affecting one's chances to actually find a girl to make a Dew Baby with.
Mixing Dew with peroxide and baking soda was supposed to glow in the dark, but as far as I can tell all it does is make a horrible smelly mess.
The one thing in Dew that could actually cause some serious damage is often completely overlooked. Brominated Vegetable Oil in high doses, i.e. 4 to 8 liters, of a beverage containing it can result in depression, memory loss, hallucinations, violent tendencies, seizures, cerebral atrophy, acute irritability, tremors, ataxia, confusion, loss of peripheral vision and slurred speech.
Call Johnny Cochran for the "Mountain Dew Defense"!
Wrap it Johnny, I'll take it!
You can join a Mountain Dew Fan Club, wear their logo in t-shirt or show your love a horribly more permanent form:
and drink it till you have a seizure. Drink of the Gods. I'll take case, thanks.