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Top 10 Untold Truths of Mountain Dew

We all love knowing more about things. Trivia is a booming genre and even though you may not play HQ any more you did at one time, right? Well, if you have not caught up on your trivia in a bit here is a little to keep you going! Here are ten fun facts about Mountain Dew!

10. Mountain Dew is named after a slang term

Mountain Dew… Did you ever wonder how such a name came about? Well it was actually as slang term for moonshine! It was used by Scottish and Irish people who immigrated to Appalachia. Which is in the Eastern United States and stretches from New York to Alabama and Georgia. Appalachia lacks a clearly defined topographical boundary, but it is now said to cover four hundred and twenty counties and eight cities within thirteen states. Appalachia, originally Apalchen or Apalachen, first describe a group of people, but has now become synonymous with the mountain range in that area. Who hasn’t considered walking along the Appalachian Trail or done a piece of it one fine summer weekend? For those who have not… You should! It’s beautiful! Anyway we digress… When the Scottish and Irish immigrants got to the Appalachian region, they came to know the illegally distilled corn liquor that was circulating among the people of the mountains. It was being brewed in people’s homes and was super popular. Because it was brewed and distilled at home there was no tax being paid on this beverage. This liquor, that is more commonly known as moonshine was dubbed Mountain Dew for obvious location reasons. It was the alcohol of the mountains! How cool! Since moonshine is a black market product and spent no time being aged in barrels, it is basically the same as a white whiskey. Whiskey gets its dark colour from barrel ageing, but before that happens we have moonshine! But, how did this nickname for moonshine come to be the name of the soda we now know and love? Also, why does it matter that moonshine is basically and unaged whiskey? Hmmm. Let’s find out with our next fact!

9. Mountain Dew was originally made for mixing

Totally unaware of the Mountain Dew slang term, the Hartman brothers felt that there was a lack of mixers for alcoholic beverages. Soft drinks were becoming popular in the 1930’s and apparently there was nothing that peaked the fancy of these brothers… so they set out to create something new that would mix well with, you guessed it, whiskey! Apparently, a guy named Carl E. Retzke suggested the Hartman brother’s call their mixer Mountain Dew… though nothing is really known about this guy other than he brought up the name at an Owens-Illinois Inc. meeting in Toledo, Ohio. Owens-Illinois Inc. is a Fortune 500 company that specializes in glass container products. Based on this information it is safe to assume the Hartman boys were there looking to bottle their mixer which was already produced and were simultaneously looking for a name and some guy who had heard about the slang from Appalachia was there and happened to suggest it and it stuck! Owens-Illinois Inc. are the proud producers of basically half of all the glass containers in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. So they are a pretty big deal. If someone over there suggests a name you may want to take it. The Hartman brother’s don’t regret the “Mountain Dew” suggestion… that’s for sure!

8. The old slogan paid tribute to the slang term

Mountain Dew has a pretty neat back story and the name itself is full of heritage. When the soda product called Mountain Dew was first launched it took this rich history into consideration and had a barefooted mountain man as its mascot. The man always had a great big smile and a big beard. He looks like a trusting guy that you would not mind sitting down with on the side of the Appalachian Trail with to share a mixed drink! The slogan was “Ya-Hoo Mountain Dew. It’ll tickle your innards.” In one commercial the man yelled, “Shore as shootin’, there’s a bang in every bottle.” Doesn’t this sound like fun and make you want to go out and buy one of these… The only problem is these bottles are not out there anymore… However, if you do want to find them for collecting reasons you can. You can easily acquire an old bottle that has the mountain man and the mountain range on it for under one hundred dollars on ebay.

7. The original Mountain Dew tasted more like 7UP

Yup. That’s right. If those Hartman brothers went into any convenience store today to pick up a Mountain Dew they would be shocked by its taste and probably its color too. They may like 7Up though… The OG Mountain Dew had a lemon and lime flavor, just like 7UP. It was also a clear liquid, once again, like 7UP. Apparently Mountain Dew did not have any caffeine in it either. What it did have instead was mood enhancing Lithium salts. Why mood enhancing? Well, Lithium is a drug that is now used to treat bipolar disorder. The drug helps to stabilize mood swings, which could be interpreted as enhancing if you are a particularly moody person. Lithium is also known to make people thirsty. This is pretty counter intuitive if you are drinking the Lithium salts in a beverage and actually becoming even thirstier. Or wait… maybe this is genius! The original Mountain Dew would not quench thirst, but make you want even more, so you would buy more of the product. This is clever on a “I want to make more money” level but not particularly on a “I want to sell an honest product that is healthy and safe” level. Right? Either way Mountain Dew no longer has Lithium in it so there is no need to worry. It does have caffeine though that can give you a bit of a buzz.

6. Mountain was supposed to be even more caffeinated

It is important to note that the amount of caffeine in a Mountain Dew is legendary. Caffeine and Mountain Dew kind of go together like two peas in a pod, right? They are synonymous. Mountain Dew is a drink that will get  you going and give you a buzz much more than other soda’s on the market. One can of Mountain Dew is over fifty percent more caffeinated than a can of Coca-Cola. Did you know that? What that means is there is about fifty five milligrams of caffeine in one can of Mountain Dew. To put that into perspective an eight point two ounce can of Red Bull has eighty milligrams of caffeine. So, this is a lot of caffeine for one soda. However, it was supposed to have even more caffeine than this! Allegedly there was one recipe that had so much caffeine in it that the caffeine crystallized and formed what looked like slivers of ice or fine shards of glass! Isn’t that crazy!? Since this whole caffeine thing has been a big deal for Mountain Dew they have offered a caffeine free option that has the same taste but less of the bang than the regular one. The diet option may also be good for those who like other soda’s but have not been able to get involved with Mountain Dew because of the caffeine. Or, you may want to consider the caffeine free option if you get the jitters easily. 

5. Mountain Dew is banned in over one hundred countries

Say what? Really? Banned banned? Like it is illegal to have it kind of banned? Oh yes. Mountain Dew is banned in over one hundred countries because it has some pretty iffy ingredients. Let’s go over it all so you can really understand what you are drinking if you drink Mountain Dew. First of all it has Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO). The problem with this ingredient is the bromine it contains. Bromine is a toxic chemical that can cause all kinds of health issues that we won’t list here, but go ahead and look them up. Apparently other soda companies have pledged to remove BVO from their drinks… so check your cans! Maybe it is there or maybe the companies have gotten it together and removed it under the radar. Now, the other reason that Mountain Dew is banned is because of the pH levels that determine the drinks erosive potential. Mountain Dew has a pH value of 3.22. So, this means it is very acidic and can cause some decay and erosion in the mouth and body. For reference tap water is at about 6.7 pH. When you put this together with all of the sugar, forty six grams per can, the rate of decay gets even higher. Mountain Dew also contains sodium benzoate which is a food preservative that is not really banned anywhere but has been said to cause ADHD. Then, there is the Yellow #5. This is the food coloring component of the drink that is also known as Tartazine. This is only banned in Norway and Austria. This has not been banned elsewhere because not enough research has been done to reveal its negative effects on the body. Okay… so now you know. Right?

4. Mountain Dew does NOT cause infertility

Mountain Dew is banned in numerous places and that can be kind of scary. But, really it isn’t as bad as all that. You may have heard online, in the playground, at work, or on the radio that Mountain Dew causes infertility. That it reduces sperm count. That it will give you a smaller penis. Umm…. This. Is. Not. True. The reason people have been throwing around this rumor was because of the high amount of caffeine and the yellow #5. Studies have shown that Mountain Dew does have some negatives, but this is not one. The Nutrition Journal took this rumor to heart and reviewed twenty eight studies that have been done on Mountain Dew and fertility. They looked specifically at the different sperm measurements in drinkers of this soda and sound that there was no astonishing effect. So calm down… you can still have kids! It will all be okay!

3. EDTA may be what is saving Mountain Dew

What is this? EDTA? Well, it is a chemical that is super hard to pronounce and it probably what is saving Mountain Dew from being banned everywhere. It is Ethylenediaminetetraacetic. This is what prevents the sodium benzoate from reacting with the vitamin C that is in the drink. If the sodium benzoate reacted with the vitamin C it would produce benzene, also known as carcinogen. Carcinogen is bad because it is known for causing cancer in living tissue. But, the EDTA is stopping that from appearing! Yes, yes, yes without this one chemical Mountain Dew would be a very risky thing to drink… but the EDTA is there! It is there stopping bad things from occurring. That should come as a relief! The manufacturers seem to know what they are doing.

2. The Great Depression made is possible

Let’s go back to the original creators of Mountain Dew, the Hartman brothers. Their plan in life was to participate in the orange soda business. They wanted to be moguls and their vision was that they would accomplish that through an orange soda beverage. In 1927 they were part of the team that was assembling Orange Crush in Augusta. Then the Great Depression happened. Quick historical reminder for those who have forgotten the details of this dismal time… The Great Depression started in 1929 and lasted well into the 1930s. It was all because of the stock market crash of October twenty ninth, 1929. This day has become known as Black Tuesday. Now, back to our Hartman brothers who were working hard in Augusta on Orange Crush. Well… their plant suffered particularly badly and ended up filing for bankruptcy in 1932. When this happened the brothers moved to Knoxville where they continued to work on the Orange Crush franchise. Things were better in Tennessee and the brothers worked hard in the plant, drinking something called “Natural Set-Up.” This was a lemon and lime flavored soda. Since the brother’s loved the flavor so much and they wanted something of their own to mix with whisky, they decided to use the soda making machines they had at their disposal to create their own blend! There you have it, that is how the Great Depression led to a product that would eventually become the Mountain Dew you know today!

1. Mountain Dew was originally called Personal SetUp

Before the meeting at Owens-Illinois Inc. which would give the drink the Mountain Dew name the Hartman brothers were calling it Personal SetUp. This is because of the drink that inspired it called the Natural Set-Up. For obvious reasons the word personal replaced natural because the soda was being brewed for personal use only. At the time the Hartman’s used the drink as a novelty item in their home. Popping it out if they were serving drinks for guests. They felt special with this because it was something only they had access to. Their guests obviously loved it and wanted some for themselves. Both brothers wanted to be moguls. Breaking off from Orange Crush to pursue their own soda dreams was probably inevitable. The success of their personalized version of the Natural Set-Up gave them the push they needed to bring this great soda to the mass public! Their ideas were great. Their determination was greater and now everyone who is a Mountain Dew drinker can actually thank the Orange Crush plants for being the first place that Mountain Dew was made. Pretty neat huh? Though Personal SetUp is a neat name it is nowhere near as cool as Mountain Dew. Imagine being like “Hey, pass me a Personal SetUp!” That sounds kind of weird no? Kind of forced even? Mountain Dew, as we remember comes from slang from the Appalachia region. The whole story behind the name is much much more interesting than just having Personal SetUp. That being said, everything has a history and now we know everything there is to know about the name behind the drink! It is better to be informed! So go ahead and enjoy your Mountain Dew! As you drink think about how crazy a history this one beverage has. It has changed names, it has changed color, it has changed ingredients, but it has still remained popular with the people!

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