It used to mean moonshine, a friend of whiskey. Today, this soft drink satisfies taste buds worldwide. But did you know Mountain Dew originated here in the Tri-States?
Ally Hartman and his brother Barney grew up in Quincy in the early 1900s.
"We were always told that Uncle Ally was the inventor of Mountain Dew. I'm not so sure we really believed that," Chris Scholz said.
Years later, it would come as a shock to Scholz and his family that the tale was, in fact, true about both of his great-uncles.
In the book, Mountain Dew: A History, you'll find this passage next to a photo of Ally Hartman and his family, "100 years from now, when Mountain Dew is the number one drink in the world and someone else follows the history of those bottles, they will know first and foremost that the original Mountain Dew was created by Barney and Ally Hartman."
It was the age of prohibition when Barney and Ally left for Tennessee to become a part of the soda bottling business. Originally, the brothers bottled and distributed Orange Crush. But they also developed their own sodas under the company brand Hartman Beverages.
"Mountain Dew was a drink that was developed as a mixer with Whiskey. And I think both the Hartman brothers liked to drink whiskey," Hartman said.
The drink became so popular with the Hartman brothers' friends and business associates that they decided to bottle the drink as Ally and Barney's Mountain Dew. The history book documents the official patent application for the famous label submitted in 1948. The duo received their patent in 1953.
"There was an amateur cartoonist that lived close by and they asked him to draw up a funny looking hillbilly character," Scholz said. That hillbilly imagery would stay with the Dew for years to come.
"This Mountain Dew they made was a white soda. It didn't taste exactly like the Mountain Dew we have today. It was the Pepsi Cola Company that added a more citrus flavor to it," Scholz said.
It wasn't until 1955 that Pepsi Cola became interested in the Mountain Dew brand. The Hartman brothers eventually sold the rights to the name and the hillbilly imagery to Pepsi Cola in exchange for a lucrative distribution dealership in Knoxville, Tennessee.
"Once it hit the big time with Pepsi Cola, it became a national phenomenon," Scholz said.
Today, Mountain Dew is the number one seller in the Tri-States for Refreshment Services Pepsi . The leading Mountain Dew seller is the original, followed by its diet counterpart.