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.