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Home » Behind the Headlines

Moxie sports “new” label; crusty New Englanders appalled

Submitted by on October 9, 2008 – 12:06 am9 Comments

 Now, it has been suggested to me a time or two that I may be a bit of a … well … eccentric when it comes to one little thing: Moxie. True, the oldest continually bottled soft drink that once outsold Coca Cola was the subject of my undergraduate history thesis. And, true, I did name my first dog after it. And yes, I do have a collection of Moxie memorabilia. And, yes, I am drinking one as I type this. But clearly these facts are purely incidental to the essential news value that Moxie — bottled right here in Worcester by Polar — has changed its label.

That’s right, folks. Pictured above, on the far right, is what has been the official Moxie label for the past few decades. To the left of it: the replacements. Now, I know to the untrained eye, these may look very similar. However, close examination will reveal that “the Moxie Man,” the official Moxie pusher since at least as far back as the days when Ted Williams boldly proclaimed “Make mine Moxie” is gone. Gone too is the honored phrase “Since 1884.”  Now, as simply a casual observer, I contacted Cornucopia Beverages of Bedford, N.H., which recently purchased the brand from the Monarch Corporation in Atlanta, GA. Justin Conroy, the brand manager was kind enough to respond:

“While we agree that Moxie has a long rooted and entrenched tradition, we do not believe that we have removed the core elements from the packaging.  The bright orange billboard and bold blue Moxie lettering have remained.  While we did remove some components, there was sound empirical reason for doing so.  After careful research, we recognized that the old package was getting lost on the shelves.  After many options, the current packaging brought the best visual awareness to the brand while walking the store aisles, while maintaining the brand integrity.  Obviously, if we find out that the graphic change is not working, we will re-evaluate our strategy.”










Well, I have to admit the Moxie Man’s eyeliner sent a few sexually confusing vibes from time to time, but wouldn’t that garner moreattention? And one can scarcely rest the blame for Moxie’s present day obscurity on his “manly” shoulders. True, the number one question I hear from folks when I mention Moxie is: “They still make that stuff?” Yes, indeed. You can find it in many Worcester area supermarkets including Shaw’s, Hannaford, The Big Y and Price Chopper — The Garden Fresh Courthouse Cafe on Main Street also had it the last time I was in. Nothing like a Moxie to build your nerve before facing the jury. Worcester’s Polar is actually thebottler for Moxie for most of New England, Conroy says.  The problem is, it’s usually buried on the bottom shelf.

So, Moxie Man, I lament your passing. Perhaps they’ll bring you back one day. Of course, if we wanted the true original label, we’d get the one claiming it cures “softening of the brain.” Perhaps they should serve it at presidential debates.


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  • Mike Nyman says:

    I would love to read your history thesis. Though I have to admit I tried Moxie once, and in my opinion it tasted slightly more appealing than what I would imagine battery acid mixed with dishwashing liquid to taste like (I’ve tried the latter and it isn’t good). Still, I’m fascinated.

  • Noah says:

    Now, that’s a description I haven’t heard — and I’ve heard a lot. Indeed, it is an acquired taste. I think that thesis vanished into floppy disk heaven years ago, but the gist was that Moxie really pioneered a lot of advertising successes that would later be mimicked by other brands. They even made the horrible decision in the 1960s to introduce “new” Moxie. Outrage followed. Oh, Coke, if only you’d learned.

  • Paulie says:

    I have an ole wooden MOXIE case (box) in my front office reception room

    can’t see the box but you can see my reception office:>)

  • Noah says:

    And you can pretty much see your reflextion in those floors — sweet! Unless you’re wearing a dress, I suppose.

  • Eric says:

    It is comforting to know that the safekeeping of the Moxie supply has returned to the New England states. We all remember the big Moxie scare. It is good to put that several decades behind us. Yes, I did take note of the revised packaging of our most revered beverage, and was less than favorably impressed with the departure from the historical components of the label. My grandmother, and many others her age, would often say that Moxie was the only soft drink that their parents would allow in the house. Well consider the options: Moxie, Coca-Cola, A cocaine laced beverage from Georgia and Dr. Pepper. Moxie did not have to rely on the addictive potential of dopaminergic stimulant capable of killing Celtic’s first round draft picks. Neither did it employ the cacophony of 27 flavors to confuse the palettes of unsuspecting northerners into believing that they actually liked it. Yes, Moxie makes no excuses. It demands more of its supporters than those hush puppie sodas of the plebian mainstream. And every time I leave Hannaford with all the moxie they had in stock, so that I may enjoy it at my home in exile, far from my native Maine, I am grateful that I have been blessed to appreciate its subtleties. I hereby raise a Moxie toast to Noah and applaud him for carrying the torch of this beloved and historic beverage. Here’s to you Noah.

  • Johnie Moxie says:

    I can’t believe it’s already been two and a half years since he’s been gone.

  • Happy Hank says:

    “After careful research, we recognized that the old package was
    getting lost on the shelves.  After many options, the current packaging
    brought the best visual awareness to the brand while walking the store
    aisles, while maintaining the brand integrity.”
    Oh yeah, gonna fly off the shelves now!  

  • Well, when you stock them on the bottom shelf and stick a display case in front of them, I’m not sure a new label is going to help. 

  • Justin says:

    I was the guy that made the petition site (thanks for linking, by the way). Too bad it died so quickly…I did actually send J. Conroy a spreadsheet full of ~650 signatures (, but I guess that didn’t phase him or the marketing gang. Too bad.

    To remedy the problem, I’ve contemplated getting a tattoo of the Moxie Man version, haha.