New England may be more famous for lobsters and clams than soda, but it is also home to the oldest bottled soft drink in the U.S.: Moxie. Yesterday the Coca-Cola Company announced it will buy the brand from its bottling partner, the Kirin-owned Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England, the Associated Press reported.
Coca-Cola has been diversifying its portfolio with non-carbonated beverages. Since last year, the company has said it aims to be “a total beverage company” with a focus on more low and no-sugar options. Coca-Cola claims it supports the World Health Organization’s sugar guidelines, which include a tentative recommendation of consuming less than 25 grams per day if possible.
The Moxie recipe contains 25 grams of sugar per can.
It’s possible that Coca-Cola was attracted to Moxie’s branding. Moxie dates to 1884, two years before Coca-Cola, and still features the somewhat bitter flavor of gentian, a root. Its ingredients have slowly changed to suit customer preferences, ingredient availability, and federal regulations, but the brand sustains a nostalgic aura. Maine hosts an annual Moxie Festival in Lisbon, a township with just over 9,000 residents.
Coca-Cola produces more than 800 beverages across 100 brands.
A spokesperson for Coca-Cola of Northern New England told the Associated Press: “The acquisition will provide the Moxie brand with the resources needed to evolve for a new generation of drinkers.”
Moxie production will continue to take place in New Hampshire, and the company reportedly has no plans to change its distribution structure.