While the drink’s national popularity began to decline as tastes evolved and Coca-Cola and Pepsi (founded in 1965) grew stronger, New Englanders refused to give it up. It’s true that Moxie maintains a core group of loving loyalists throughout the region, but Maine is where Moxie is arguably most beloved. For more than 30 years the town of Lisbon has held a 3-day Moxie Festival the second week in July, celebrating all things Moxie with a clambake, fireworks, cooking contest, parade, book sale, car show, race, and more. The state loves Moxie so much that in 2005 it became the state’s official soft drink.
Beyond grocery story shelves, special Moxie collections are on display at the “Moxie Wing” of Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage and Clark’s Trading Post in Lincoln, NH (where the world’s only surviving original Moxie Horsemobile is on display), not to mention for sale at places like Zeb’s General Store in North Conway, NH and the Kennebec Fruit Co. in Lisbon Falls, ME, where owner Frank Anicetti delights as Moxie’s unofficial ambassador.
While the taste of Moxie is memorably distinct, there are many who point out that if you’re trying it now for the first time, you’re still not getting the “original” Moxie experience. They say it’s not as carbonated as it used to be, or as bitter (which is a bad thing). This could be changing palates or the loss of sassafras (federally banned in 1960 as a potential carcinogen), but it could also be the high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar, which is often linked to Moxie’s parent company (since 2007) — Coca-Cola.
But like it or not, it’s ours, and has been for more than 130 years. Now that’s something to drink to!
Not in New England? Fear not! Moxie (regular, diet, and turbo-charged energy) is available for purchase online via the Moxie website, where you’ll also find historic photos and recipes for Moxie cocktails, Moxie Baked Beans, and Moxie Chocolate Cake.