HOW IT ALL BEGAN!
The following information comes from Pepsi-Cola, 100 Years, by Bob Stoddard (1997), page 142-144.
One of the biggest success stories for Pepsi in 1964 was the acquisition of Mountain Dew. The Pepsi-Cola Company bought
the soft drink from the Tip Corporation of Marion, Virginia, for a rumored $6 million in Pepsi-Cola stock. How the Tip Corporation,
a company that marketed flavored drinks to bottlers, acquired the name and formula for the beverage is a matter of debate.
While one Bill Jones, a resident of Marion and the president of the Tip Corporation, is generally credited with concocting
the Mountain Dew flavor that is familiar today, the Mountain Dew story actually begins elsewhere. Evidently, in the late 1940s,
Hartman Beverage Company of Knoxville, Tennessee, bottled a lemon-lime drink they called Mountain Dew. Although this drink
had some regional success, it never really caught on.
Fast forward to 1958, to beyond eastern Tennessee, where a respected soft drink supply salesman - Bill Jones - took over
the Tip Corporation. In order to finance his new enterprise, Jones needed investors, so he offered shares in the new company
to some of his bottler friends. The original investors were Pepsi-Cola bottlers: Herman Minges of Lumberton, North Carolina;
Richard Minges of Fayetteville, North Carolina; Allie Hartman of Knoxville, Tennessee; and Wythe Hull of Marion, Virginia.
At one of the first stockholders meetings of the new Tip Corporation, Hartman reportedly announced the donation, on behalf
of his brother...their Mountain Dew drink to the new company. The addition of Mountain Dew to the product line would, it was
hoped, give the company a competitive edge in the flavored drink market.
Rumor and speculation attend this transaction. One version has it that Jones was originally unwilling to accept the donation
of the Mountain Dew name and formula, so Hartman proposed that Jones pay for their dinner, and they would call it even. If
this is true, one of the most valuable trademarks in the soft drink industry was sold for a steak dinner- which reportedly
Unfortunately for the Tip Corporation, at teh same time they were launching Mountain Dew, the Pepsi-Cola Company was introducing
its own lemon-lime drink, Teem. Most of Tip's customers were Pepsi bottlers who were reluctant to compete with the parent
company, so they ended up selling Teem, rather than Mountain Dew.
The success of another soft drink Sun Drop, and competition from Teem, consequently caused Jones to take Mountain Dew
in a different direction, away from the lemon-lime flavor to an orangey taste.
Using Wythe Hull's Pepsi-Cola bottling facility as a base of operations, Jones began testing different formulas. Employees
at the Marion Pepsi plant were the first to sample each new version of the drink. Finally, one mixture seemed to have the
This new Mountain Dew was test-marketed by the Minges with overwhelming success. Tip began to solicit Mountain Dew franchises,
the company's shareholders agreed that Pepsi-Cola bottlers should be given the first opportunity at a charter. That's why
most of the first Mountain Dew bottlers were also Pepsi-Cola bottlers.
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