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No big shakeups planned yet

Tim Nelson
August 29, 2018

For New Englanders, Moxie is a soda you either love, or love to hate. Its taste is a tad more bitter than what you’d probably expect from a soda, but some say that just adds to its unique charm. Though it lacks a nationwide profile, Mainers swear by it to the point that it was declared Vacationland’s official state beverage back in 2005. Now, a new acquisition could end up taking this regional curiosity global.

That’s because the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola corporation has made a major play to purchase Moxie. They’ve purchased the brand from the somehow-unaffiliated Coca-Cola of Northern New England, which is an “independent bottling partner of the larger company” based in Bedford, New Hampshire, according to the Associated Press. Terms of the sale have yet to be disclosed.

From the perspective of Coca-Cola (the Atlanta mothership that is), it’s an opportunity to diversify the company’s flavor portfolio while leveraging and growing a strong, if somewhat localized, brand. Moxie gets its distinctively bitter taste due to a formula that makes use of the gentian root, an herb often used to soothe digestive ailments. That harkens back to Moxie’s launch as a soft drink with supposed medicinal properties back in 1884, beating Coca-Cola itself to market by two years. First bottled in Lowell, Massachusetts, it’s been a New England mainstay even as the soft drink market evolved in the 125 years since.

“The acquisition will provide the Moxie brand with the resources needed to evolve for a new generation of drinkers,” a Coca-Cola of Northern New England spokesperson said about the sale. Presumably, that will involve finding a way to market Moxie’s divisive taste to a receptive audience.

In the short term, at least, there are no plans for a massive shakeup when it comes to Moxie’s operations. New Hampshire will remain the drink’s production hub, and the distribution structure should largely remain the same. So even though Moxie might be “selling out” by going nationwide (or even worldwide) in the future, the fine people of Maine won’t have to give up their beloved beverage any time soon.  

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