The History of Mountain Dew

Lex Sanchez, Content Creator

Mountain Dew is one of the most recognized sodas in pop culture and in general. With it’s high caffeine and sugar content and bright, slightly concerning color, it’s safe to say that Mountain Dew is marketed towards young people. However, it was not always intended that way. Let’s take a look into the rich, interesting history of Mountain Dew. 

In the late 1930s, brothers Barney and Alley Harman from Georgia were huge whiskey drinkers but after moving to a new state, couldn’t find their favorite mixer in the new city. Instead of having someone ship it to them, they decided to make their own version. The original batch resulted in a carbonated lemon-lime drink which they would mix with booze. The brothers decided to name their new creation Mountain Dew, since it is slang for moonshine.

For a few years they made and drank Mountain Dew on their own, but they decided that they wanted to share it with the world.

Initially, no local stores really wanted to sell it so the brothers decided to rebrand their drink and gave it a fun little slogan: “It’ll tickle your innards!” Appealing, right? If this wasn’t enough, they added country folk and started selling Mountain Dew in green bottles. They unveiled their rebranded creation  at the Gatlinburg Bottling Convention in 1946. Barney and Ally went to many different conventions over the next few years but by 1950, they still didn’t have the success they thought they would get. 

10 years later, the Tip Corporation bought the company in hopes of starting something new. The only thing the brothers asked for in return was to be able to buy the owner dinner. The next step was working on the Mountain Dew formula. The Tip corporation added some lemonade to the initial recipe and soon, in 1964, Pepsico wanted to buy the rights to Mountain Dew. 

In 1974, Pepsico added orange flavoring and made the color of the drink the same strange, lime-green color it is today. In the 90s, the target audience for Mountain Dew changed to athletes in extreme sports, as the drink promised high levels of caffeine. The name Mountain Dew was also shortened to Mtn Dew. Now fast forward to 2004, when Mtn Dew and Taco Bell teamed up to make the Baja Blast flavor which is a big hit.

Pepsico soon realized that there was a different demographic to market Mtn Dew to and turned to the gamers. People game till late hours of the night, Mtn Dew is perfect for getting that energy instead of having to make several cups of coffee as it contains 54 mg of caffeine, more than most soda marketed today. By getting ties with game releases, endorsement from professional gamers, and making new flavors with gamer-inspired names, Mtn Dew is what we know and love today.

Now, Mtn Dew is a large part of pop culture, being used in commercials for gamers and being featured in the musical “Be More Chill”. Mtn Dew may not have initially been recognized for what it would become but today is a universally loved drink that many people rely on from a day to day basis. 

I asked two students here at GBHS what they thought about Mtn Dew. Cole Sanders, a junior, said, “Mtn Dew is one of the unhealthiest drinks/Soda you can consume. Although it can be very addictive to drink just like other sodas and is very delicious.” Sure, we can all agree that Mtn Dew is loved for a reason but that doesn’t excuse how unhealthy it is if you are surviving on nothing but Mtn Dew. Now, it was described best by Aliyah Fryberger who said in an email, “Hello (with a comma) Mountain dew is a thing.”

Mtn Dew is a universally loved soft drink that people almost didn’t see the potential in when it was originally released. What’s stopping you from following your passion? It could turn out like Mtn Dew and be successful for years to come. If this story has any meaning, it’s that you don’t give up. Let Mtn Dew inspire you.