Mountain Dew is a carbonated soft drink brand produced and owned by PepsiCo. The original formula was invented in 1940 by Tennessee beverage bottlers Barney and Ally Hartman and was first marketed in Marion, Virginia; Knoxville, Tennessee and Johnson City, Tennessee with the slogan “Ya-Hoo! Mountain Dew. It’ll tickle yore innards.” A revised formula was created by Bill Bridgforth in 1958. The Mountain Dew brand and production rights were acquired by the Pepsi-Cola company in 1964, at which point distribution expanded more widely across the United States and Canada.
Between the 1940s and 1980s, there was just one variety of Mountain Dew, which was citrus-flavored and caffeinated. Diet Mountain Dew was introduced in 1988, followed by Mountain Dew Red, which was introduced and subsequently discontinued in 1988. While Mountain Dew Red was short-lived, it represented the beginning of a long-term trend of Mountain Dew being produced in different flavor variations. In 2001, a cherry flavor called Code Red debuted. This product line extension trend has continued, with expansion into specialty, limited time production, region-specific, and retailer-specific (Taco Bell, 7-Eleven) variations of Mountain Dew.
Production was first extended to the UK in 1996, though this initial debut was short-lived as it was phased out in 1998. A similar but very different-tasting product returned to the UK under the name “Mountain Dew Energy” in 2010 and returned to Ireland in Spring 2011. As of 2009, Mountain Dew represented a 6.7 percent share of the overall carbonated soft drinks market in the U.S. Its competition includes The Coca-Cola Company’s Mello Yello, and Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s Sun Drop; Mountain Dew accounts for 80 percent of citrus soft drinks sold within the US.
The Hartman brothers developed Mountain Dew as a mixer. Soft drinks were regional in the 1930s, and the Hartmans had difficulty in Knoxville obtaining their preferred soda to mix with liquor, preferably whiskey, so the two men developed their own.
Charles Gordon, who had partnered with William Swartz to bottle and promote Dr. Enuf, was introduced to Mountain Dew when he met the Hartman brothers on a train and they offered him a sample. Gordon and the Hartman brothers subsequently made a deal to bottle Mountain Dew at Tri-City Beverages.
The Hartman brothers also asked Coca-Cola for input on their own soda; however, the Coca-Cola Company refused their offer.