June 2, 2023

There’s Coca-Cola, there’s Pepsi, and there’s 7 Up…but in Maine, the soft drink they celebrate is Moxie. Moxie fan Merrill Lewis says the drink actually outsold Coca-Cola nationally in the 1920s — it even gave us a new word meaning “courage, dynamism and strength”. “Few people know that the word comes from the drink.”


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Lewis enjoyed promoting his favorite beverage at the Moxie Museum in Union City, Maine, the birthplace of Dr. Augustin Thompson, who began selling his Moxie Nerve Food in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1885.


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Reporter Nancy Giles asked: “What are some things that claim to be curative?”

“It cures nervous breakdowns, masculinity, stupidity,” Lewis said. “I like to say everything from bad breath to hanging upside down!”

Jim Baumer, who wrote the book about Moxie, said: “Moxie was literally the Viagra of its day.”

The drink’s heyday was in the early 1900s. “Every major city in America has a big billboard about Moxy, [as well as] The side of the building with the Moxie logo, these ads are painted on it,” Bowmer said. “You have Moxie in the magazine. Wherever there is a marketing presence, Moxie will jump in and be a part of it. “

It was a marketing blitz unheard of at the time, with moxie songs, celebrity endorsements, moxie games and moxie candies.

Listen to Arthur Fields’ 1921 “Moxie (One Step)” (Norman Leigh, Dennis J. Shea):

The Song of Moxie – Arthur Fields 1921 go through
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There’s also something called a Moxie buggy — a horse that’s mounted on the chassis of a car and can be driven around the country.

Moxie carriage.

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And a moxie boy with eyes like Rudolph Valentino’s. “Yeah, the guy who pointed, he had black eyes, pointed at you and said, ‘Drink my moxie or I’ll kill you’!” Lewis laughed.

If Moxie Boy looks familiar, according to Moxie lore, he inspired the iconic World War I recruiting poster to feature Uncle Sam.

“I want you… drink Mo Xie!”

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Every summer (with COVID-19 off for two years), people from all over the world gather in Lisbon Falls, Maine, for a parade to celebrate Moxie; baked goods, including entries like Moxie Barbecue Baked Beans (“You need as much Moxie as possible”) ,” said the chef); moxie souvenirs; and moxie ice cream.

Back in 2000, when “Sunday Morning” last visited the Lisbon Falls, Frank Anichetti (who helped create the Moshi Festival) declared: “If you drink a Moshi, you have a Moshi—if You drink moxie and you have moxie. It’s that simple!”

By now you may be wondering what Moxie is taste like. Well, it’s a little hard to describe, but that doesn’t stop anyone from trying.One man said: ‘It’s a bit like root beer, Coca-Cola and coffee mixed together and it’s warm [or] cold. “

Aaron Sheridan: “It tastes like a rough root beer.”

Brittany Payne, wearing her ‘Mrs Moxie’ belt, said: “I personally think it tastes a bit like a flat root bear, a bit like Pepsi mixed with a bit of cough syrup.”

So, there you have it – a soft drink that sparks the word, and according to Moxie lovers, it may be just what we need today. As Merrill Lewis said, “What this country needs is plenty of energy!”

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Story by Mary Lou Teel. Editor: George Pozdrake.

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