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Moxie is a brand of carbonated beverage that was among the first mass-produced soft drinks in the United States. It continues to be regionally popular today, particularly in New England.[2] It is produced by the Moxie Beverage Company of Bedford, New Hampshire. Moxie was purchased by the Coca-Cola company in 2018.

Moxie Soda
2018 Moxie can.jpg
ManufacturerCoca-Cola Company Bedford, NH[1]
(Kirin Holdings Company) (sale pending to Coca-Cola Company)
Country of originUnited States
DiscontinuedMoxie Cherry Cola, Moxie Cream Soda, Moxie Orange Cream, Ted's Root Beer
VariantsDiet Moxie, Moxie Energy, Moxie Energy Citrus, Moxie Energy Explosion, Moxie Energy Thunder, Olde New England Seltzer, Moxie Blue Cream
Moxie Beverage Company
Area served
Northeastern United States
Houston, Texas

Moxie's flavor is unique, a sweet drink with a bitter aftertaste.[3] Moxie is flavored with gentian root extract, an extremely bitter substance commonly used in herbal medicine. It originated around 1876 as a patent medicine called "Moxie Nerve Food".[4]

Moxie is closely associated with the state of Maine and was designated the official soft drink of Maine on May 10, 2005.[5] Its creator, Dr. Augustin Thompson, was born in Union, Maine, but Moxie was created and first produced in Lowell, Massachusetts.[6]

The name has become the word "moxie" in American English, a noun meaning courage, daring, or determination.


Moxie originated as a patent medicine called "Moxie Nerve Food",[4] which was created around 1876 by Dr. Augustin Thompson in Lowell, Massachusetts.[6] Thompson claimed that it contained an extract from a rare, unnamed South American plant, which is now known to be gentian root.[7] Moxie, he claimed, was especially effective against "paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness, and insomnia".[4]

Thompson claimed that he named the beverage after a Lieutenant Moxie,[4] a purported friend of his, who he claimed had discovered the plant and used it as a panacea, and the company he created continued to promulgate legendary stories about the word's origin. It likely derives from an Abenaki word that means "dark water" and that is found in lake and river names in Maine, where Thompson was born and raised.[8]

After a few years, Thompson added soda water to the formula and changed the product's name to "Beverage Moxie Nerve Food". By 1884 he was selling Moxie both in bottles and in bulk as a soda fountain syrup. In 1885, he received a trade mark for the term. He marketed it as "a delicious blend of bitter and sweet, a drink to satisfy everyone's taste".[9] Thompson died in 1903.[10]

A group of friends from Allentown, Pennsylvania, celebrating the 4th of July holiday in 1913 with a case of Moxie at a grove.

In 1907, the Moxie Nerve Food Company of New England filed a lawsuit in Boston against the Modox Company and others, alleging that they had copied the ingredients of Moxie and were using the name "Modox",[11] which closely resembled "Moxie", and were infringing upon patents and trademarks.[12] The suit was dismissed by the judge, who said the court could not protect the legitimate part of the plaintiff's business in this case. In a later case in New York, the Moxie Nerve Food Company won a lawsuit against Modox, which subsequently went out of business.[11]

President Calvin Coolidge was known to favor the drink, and Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams endorsed it on radio and in print. The company also marketed a beverage called "Ted's Root Beer" in the early sixties. Author E. B. White once claimed that "Moxie contains gentian root, which is the path to the good life."[13] Currently, one of the ingredients of Moxie is "Gentian Root Extractives", which may contribute to the drink's unique flavor.[14]

The brand suffered a significant decline in sales during the 1930s.

The Catawissa Bottling Company in Catawissa, Pennsylvania, is one of six bottlers in the United States that produce Moxie. Catawissa has produced it since 1945.[15] Polar Beverages also bottles Moxie in Worcester, Massachusetts,[16] as does Orca Beverage in Mukilteo, Washington.[17]

Since 1962Edit

Sugar-free Diet Moxie was introduced in 1962, about the same time that Mad magazine began placing the Moxie logo in the background of its articles to increase public awareness of it. As a result of Mad ’s efforts, sales of the soft drink increased 10%;[18] this led to the "Mad About Moxie" campaign.[19]

The Moxie brand was purchased in 1966 by the Monarch Beverage Company of Atlanta. In 2007 Monarch sold it to its current owner, Cornucopia Beverages of Bedford, New Hampshire, which is owned by the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England, a subsidiary of the Kirin Brewery Company, which is a subsidiary of Kirin Company, Limited, which is a subsidiary of Kirin Holdings Company, Limited, based in Tokyo, Japan (a member of the Mitsubishi keiretsu).[20]

In its decision to step up efforts to distribute the product, Cornucopia cited increasing requests for Moxie from fans across the country. In 2007 it launched pilot sales in Florida and in 2010 granted distribution in Florida to Florida Micro Beverage Distributors.[21]

A Moxie Horsemobile. This one was built on a LaSalle sedan. It is on display at Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
The original Moxie logo featuring the "Moxie Man" on the label of a derivative product.

In 2011, Cornucopia began doing business as the Moxie Beverage Company to market Moxie and Moxie-branded products. A website,, was created to promote Moxie. Drink recipes using Moxie were created.

Demand for Moxie has waned in recent years, although the brand persists in New England and Pennsylvania. In Houston, TX it is sold at Mainely Sandwiches restaurants.

On August 28, 2018, the Coca-Cola Company announced it was buying Moxie from Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England Inc. for an unspecified amount.[22]


Through extensive advertising, the term "moxie" has become a widely known term in American English with the meaning "courage, daring, or spirit",[23][24] as in "This guy/girl's got moxie!"

In its advertising, Moxie used "Make Mine Moxie!" advertising jingles, the slogan "Just Make It Moxie for Mine", and a "Moxie Man" logo. The Moxie Man had appeared on Moxie labels since the beverage was first sold. But in 2010 the Moxie Man logo was removed from labels because it was thought to be too old-fashioned. In 2011 the company's head of marketing, Ryan Savage, made the executive decision to bring the logo back in response to complaints from long-standing customers.[25]

A unique advertising tool was the Moxie Horsemobile, a modified automobile whose driver sat on a large model of a horse. The first Horsemobiles were deployed around 1918. A 1935 Rolls-Royce Moxie Horsemobile was sold for $55,000 at the May 20, 2011, Mecum Auction in Indianapolis, Indiana. Moxie at one time maintained about two dozen of them, and they appeared in parades and other public functions.

Derivative productsEdit

There is also a Moxie Energy Drink and a variety of "Olde New England Seltzers." The energy drink is citrus-based; it lacks Moxie's gentian root tang, caramel color, and (as of 2008) its distinctive branding; similarly, the waters are simply carbonated waters with fruit flavors marketed under the Moxie brand.

Moxie ice cream is seasonally available in Maine in limited quantities[26] and is mild in flavor as compared to the soft drink.

In popular cultureEdit

  • Derived from the brand advertising, "moxie" has become an English word meaning "courage, daring, or spirit",[23].
  • In Mad magazine, in the 1950s, the Alfred E. Neuman character had a look-alike girlfriend named Moxie Cowznofski. Just as with the name "Cowznofski", Moxie itself (often in logotyped form) became a running in-joke in Mad issues of the period.
  • "Moxie Gumption" is a character in the cartoon Ink Pen, who has a crush on Ralston, who does not return her affections, and herself is the object of affection of Scrappy Lad, whom she clobbers whenever he gets too close.
  • "Moxie CrimeFighter" is the name of Penn Jillette's daughter.
  • In the 1942 musical biopic about George M. Cohan, Yankee Doodle Dandy, James Cagney, as Cohan, has a friendly confrontation with Eddie Foy, Jr., playing his father, Eddie Foy. At the end, Cohan asks what Foy likes to drink, and Foy answers "Oh, Moxie."
  • There is a Moxie Museum in Union, Maine, which houses a 30-foot-tall wooden Moxie bottle, once used as a soda stand, and other historical Moxie artifacts. This is an annex to the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage, which is located at the Union Fairgrounds.
  • Every summer, "all things Moxie" are celebrated at the Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls, Maine.[27]
  • Moxie is mentioned in the independent film Man with a Plan (1996) as the favorite beverage of the titular dairy farmer and congressional candidate.
  • In the movie Small Apartments (2012), the character Franklin Franklin drinks only Moxie and nothing else.
  • In Stephen King's novel 11/22/63, Moxie and the Moxie Festival are mentioned in Chapter 2, Part 4.
  • There is an ad for orange Moxie during a dream sequence in Joe Hill's novel Heart-Shaped Box.
  • In Stephen Sondheim's musical Saturday Night, there is a lyric which goes, "The moon's like an overloaded Moxie sign. It shines at you, friendly and bright."
  • John Hodgman frequently references Moxie Soda in his Judge John Hodgman podcast, in mock-serious insistence that the company sponsor the podcast.
  • In the episode "Return to Spider Skull Island" of The Venture Bros., Dr. Orpheus attempts to order Moxie, then Birch Beer and Mr. Pibb, at a diner, only to be told that the only sodas they offer are grape, orange, or cola.
  • In the season 2 finale of Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill releases a commercial in which an elderly woman says "Gimme Jimmy! Because Moxie is in such short supply these days!"
  • In the Fallout 4 DLC Far Harbor, which is located on a fictional version of Bar Harbor, Maine there is a drink named Vim, based on Moxie.
  • In Stephen King's novel Salem's Lot, Part 3, chapter 16, "Carl Smith, a widower since 1957, has one boiled potato and a bottle of Moxie."
  • In John Connolly's novel A Time of Torment, there is a lawyer nicknamed Moxie after his love of the drink.
  • In the Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Ballot Box Bunny", directed by Friz Freleng, Bugs is seen putting out bottles of Moxie at a picnic.
  • In the Harvard Lampoon novel Bored of the Rings, Moxie and Pepsi are the satirical analogs of Merry and Pippin in The Lord of the Rings.
  • In the episode "Apartment Complex" of The King of Queens, Doug offers Carrie a Moxie soda when she discovers his secret apartment above the Chinese restaurant.
  • In Chris Lynch's Vietnam series, one of the four main characters, Ivan Bucyk, greatly enjoys Moxie soda and claims that its being medicine is what makes him so athletic. The other characters do not share his enthusiasm and say it tastes like "carbonated tires." Later, when one of the four main characters is driven mad from his experiences in the Vietnam War, the others say he looks crazier than the mad scientist on the Moxie logo.

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "Moxie - Official Site: Privacy Policy". Moxie Beverage Company. 23 Jun 2011.
  2. ^ Whittle, Patrick (2018-08-28). "Coca-Cola acquires Moxie, a soda brand that is beloved in Maine". USA Today. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  3. ^ Waugh, Danielle (2018-08-29). "Maine Split on Coca-Cola's Acquisition of Moxie". NBC10 Boston. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  4. ^ a b c d Mark Pendergrast: For God, Country and Coca-Cola, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1993, ISBN 978-0-465-05468-8
  5. ^ Office of the Revisor of Statutes (2005). "Title 1, Section 224 of General Provisions: Seal, Motto, Emblems and Flags". State House of Maine. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Moxie". Silver Internet Ventures, LLC. Archived from the original on 2010-06-05.
  7. ^ "Moxie. Distinctively Different". Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  8. ^ "moxie (n.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. 2014. Douglas Harper. 3 September 2014,
  9. ^ Anne Cooper Funderburg (2001), Sundae best: a history of soda fountains, Popular Press, pp. 67–68, ISBN 978-0-87972-854-0
  10. ^ Doctor Augustin Thompson. Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage. Published 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2010. Archived February 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ a b "Commercial Site: Modox".
  12. ^ "Moxie Nerve Food Company of New England v. Modox Co. et al. : Circuit Court, District of Rhode Island, February 20, 1907", The Federal Reporter, v.151-152, 1907, pp.493-509.
  13. ^ written at Harvard-Radcliffe, "Make Mine Moxie", Perspective, Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 2001, archived from the original on November 15, 2004, retrieved October 9, 2007
  14. ^ ""Moxie For Mine: More About Moxie the Drink"". Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  15. ^ Abelson, Jenn (August 5, 2007), "Can a bitter taste find sweet life again? Unique N.E. soda Moxie thirsting for a revival", The Boston Globe, retrieved 2007-08-15
  16. ^ Polar Bev Partner Products, retrieved 2011-08-18
  17. ^ Moxie – 12 Pack – Orca Beverage Inc., retrieved 2016-03-06
  18. ^ "History of Moxie: 1960 - 1969". Moxie Beverage Company. n.d.
  19. ^ Dun's Review. Dun and Bradstreet. January 1968. p. 56.
  20. ^ Paiste, Denis (2007-04-06). "Moxie, same taste, new owner" (reprint). New Hampshire Union Leader. Union Leader Corporation. p. B3. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  21. ^ "Florida is getting some Moxie", AP via, December 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  22. ^ Coke Inks Deal to Buy Moxie, the Official Soft Drink of Maine Bloomberg, August 28, 2018
  23. ^ a b The Chambers Dictionary, 1993, ISBN 0-550-10255-8
  24. ^ [1] Defined in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
  25. ^ "The Removal of The Moxie Man and his Return". History of Moxie. Retrieved April 16, 2015.[better source needed]
  26. ^ Wagner, Debra. "Moxie Ice Cream "You 'Betcha' It's Wicked Good"". The Lisbon Reporter. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  27. ^ The Moxie Festival, Lisbon, Maine, official website.

Further reading

External linksEdit