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Coca-Cola’s Got Moxie, the Quirky New England Soda

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.