Dr. Augustin Thompson created Moxie as a carbonated beverage in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1876. It was called “Moxie Nerve Food” at that time. Dr. Thompson had a history of being a homeopathic physician. He created Moxie as a medicine for nervous disorders.
Thompson was not a medical doctor. He was actually a homeopathic physician. Homeopathy was a popular form of alternative medicine in the late 19th century when he created Moxie. Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the principle of “like cures like”. This involves using highly diluted substances to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. While homeopathy is still practiced today, it is not widely recognized or accepted by mainstream medicine.
The drink was initially marketed as a “nerve food” and “stimulant.” It was advertised as a cure for everything from headaches to insomnia. Moxie’s popularity grew, and it became a popular soft drink in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It bought Dr. Swett’s Root Beer in the 1900s. By the 1920s, it was one of the most popular soft drinks in the United States, with sales exceeding 30 million bottles per year.
Here is a brief timeline of ownership:
1876: Dr. Augustin Thompson invents Moxie and begins selling it himself.
1884: Thompson forms the Moxie Nerve Food Company with his friend, Lieutenant Governor Samuel E. Winslow.
1916: The Moxie Nerve Food Company is sold to the Coca-Cola Company.
1923: Moxie becomes the property of the Moxie Company, which is owned by Frank Archer.
1933: The brand is sold to Maine bottler John A. Howe.
1948: Moxie passes to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New England.
1967: The brand is sold to the Monarch Beverage Company of Atlanta, Georgia.
1982: Moxie is sold to Cornucopia Beverages Inc.
2002: Cornucopia Beverages sells the brand to the Cornucopia Natural Foods Inc.
2006: Cornucopia Natural Foods sells the brand to the Moxie Beverage Company, which is based in Bedford, New Hampshire.
Today: The Coca Cola Company again is the owner of the Moxie brand. The drink is still produced and sold mostly in the Northeastern United States.
Taste and Promotional Buzz
Moxie is not a cola. It has a unique flavor that is difficult to describe. It is often compared to a cross between root beer and bitter medicine. The drink is made from a blend of gentian root extract and other natural flavors, which give it a distinctive, slightly bitter taste. Moxie is carbonated and has a similar appearance to cola, but its flavor profile is quite different. Some people describe the taste as “herbal,” “medicinal,” or “spicy,” This often led some to say, “since it tases like medicine, it must be good for you.”
During World War II, Moxie was popular among American soldiers, who appreciated the drink’s unique taste and the fact that it was caffeine-free. After the war, Moxie’s popularity declined, and the drink was largely forgotten by the general public. Then came Mad Magazine. In the 1950s, Mad did a number of parodies on Moxie. The name became associated with boldness and chutzpa. “He’s got real moxie” was a complimentary tag placed on people of fortitude and fearlessness. Could it have to do with people braving its medicine taste?
Still Around Back East
In 2005, Moxie was even named the state drink of Maine. Now Moxie is primarily sold in stores and online retailers in the Northeastern United States. It is particularly popular in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
- Year Started: 1876
- Year Ended: 2099
- Origin Of Name: Unknown, but has come to mean “bold”
- Location Sales: NE USA
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Augustin Thompson
- Owner While In Use: Many
- Owner Successor: Coca Cola Company
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Moxie
- Naics Code: 312111
- Location Headquarters: Lowell. Massachusetts, USA