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Do the Dew Dumplings

| 3/1/2011 7:43:46 PM

 A photo of Allan DouglasThis time around I’ve elected to poke into the history of something that is near and dear to my heart on a couple of fronts.  The soda pop marketed as Mountain Dew is one of my favorite ”treat” beverages (I prefer the diet version), and the term “mountain dew” has been slang for moonshine for hundreds of years.  The Tennessee county where I live has a well-deserved reputation for having been the moonshine capital of the world during the heyday of that illegally produced corn whiskey. There is even a moonshine museum in Cosby!  Sorry, they do not give out samples.

 Mountain Dew was born here in the hills of Tennessee in the 1940s. Barney and Ally Hartman, who ran a bottling plant in Knoxville, coined the name of their product from the colloquial term for moonshine whiskey. The Hartman's Mountain Dew, however, was a lemon-lime flavored mixer for whiskey, not originally intended to be drunk alone. But that changed quickly enough.

 Classic Mountain Dew Sign 

The first sketches of the original Mountain Dew bottle labels were devised in 1948 by John Brichetto and depicted a character known as Willy the Hillbilly shooting at a revenuer fleeing an outhouse with a pig sitting in the corner.  In 1951 Ally ordered the first ACL Mountain Dew bottle. The bottle was green glass with white paint (no red) with Willy shooting at a revenuer. The bottle read "by BARNEY and ALLY."  This was supposed to give the feeling that the person using the product was drinking illegal moonshine.  Interestingly; when the bottles arrived they were put in a warehouse and not used until 1955!

 Pepsi Cola bought out the Mountain Dew franchise in 1964 and in 1973 the logo was changed to reflect the audience Pepsi was aiming for, a younger outdoorsy generation. This tradition is continued today with many commercials for the drink featuring BMX and skating superstars. 1988 brought a new Dew to the scene with a diet Mountain Dew, offering a low sugar compliment to the original beverage.

 Over the years the product carried several slogans. In 1965 Pepsi launched its first Mountain Dew campaign, "Ya-Hoo Mountain Dew! It'll tickle your innards." That was followed by several rather unremarkable slogans, but in 1993 the slogan "Do the Dew" was created by the Dew Dudes in the award winning commercial "Been there, Done That".

1/5/2015 5:00:56 PM

I've known shiners from Kentucky and tasted their liquor. Honestly, not to bad in very small sips. As for the recipe, and being diabetic, those are awesome!! I always liked mountain Dew any way, and apples cooked or straight from the tree.

3/28/2011 1:43:24 PM

In North West Alabama, there were moonshiners that sold wild cat whiskey that had grey slime floating in it. I saw my daddy pour it out once it was so bad. Most of the time he would drink anything.

Allan Douglas
3/4/2011 7:22:51 AM

Hi Dave, Thanks for dropping by! Around here the old timers converted corn to whiskey becuase the jugs of whiskey were easier to transport through the mountains to the cities of Knoxville and Asheville than wagon-loads of corn were - and they brought a higher price. The original settlers here were Scotch-Irish and they had a long history of making high quality spirits. Poor grade moonshine tastes a lot like rubbing alcohol, the good stuff tastes - to me - like a good grade of brandy. I've had just a sip once or twice just to taste it. Really... that's all! (grin)

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