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5 Regional Soft Drinks Everyone Needs To Try

Ever try Apple Beer? How about Dr. Enuf Energy Booster? Check out this list of interesting regional soft drinks.

Soda, pop, soft drinks —no matter what you call them, we’re certain that you’re probably familiar with the major brands like Coke and Pepsi. But there are some lesser-known brands that have interesting histories. Some were even considered medicine to cure nervousness and insomnia! Here are a few that you should definitely try…

1. Moxie

Of course, this is #1 on our list because it hails from Maine. Moxie is a soft drink that has its roots in medicine. One Dr. Augustin Thompson wanted to create a new cure-all beverage that didn’t contain some of the common and (and as he correctly thought, dangerous) ingredients of the day, such as alcohol and cocaine. To that end, he patented a gentian root-based soft drink, “Moxie Nerve Food,” in 1885.

Among the claims surrounding Moxie, it was said that this drink aided digestion, reduced nervousness, and cured insomnia. Other claims said that Moxie made you stronger and improved your appetite. Moxie only lasted a short time as a medicine, however. By the early 1900s, people had become wary of the claims surrounding cure-alls.

This wasn’t enough to put Moxie out of business, though. Instead, the manufacturer dropped the “Nerve Food” part of the name, and Moxie became what it is today — a delicious local soft drink. Even though Moxie never spread out of the Northeast, it is still popular in the region, and today, it is the official soft drink of the State of Maine! Read all about the Moxie Festival.

2. Cheerwine

This soda, which is non-alcoholic, despite the “wine” part of the name, comes from Salisbury, North Carolina, where it was originally created in 1917. The creator of this drink, L.D. Peeler, was looking to create a new soft drink recipe when he happened upon a traveling salesman from St. Louis that was selling some deliciously intense cherry flavoring. Mr. Peeler experimented with this flavoring and others, eventually creating Cheerwine, a drink that is to this day recognized in North Carolina and elsewhere as one of the best sodas ever created.

3. Capone Family Secret Sodas

Al Capone and his brother Frank are not known for soda. These brothers were some of America’s most notorious gangsters — Al as the boss and founder of the Chicago Outfit syndicate, and Frank as one of Al’s partners in crime, most notably the crime of bootlegging alcohol during the Prohibition Era.

So how does soda relate to Al and Frank Capone? Well, police raided Frank Capone’s warehouses during Prohibition 137 times, looking for alcohol. In all 137 raids, the police found not a drop of alcohol. Instead, they found cases of soda.

Today’s Capone Family Secret Sodas are made in Chicago, Illinois, and they’re said to be a “reimagining” of the sodas found in Frank Capone’s warehouses. Favorite flavors include black cherry and root beer.

4. Dr. Enuf, The Original Energy Booster

If you are thinking that energy drinks are a fairly recent fad, then think again! “Dr. Enuf, The Original Energy Booster” is a Tennessee favorite that was originally created in 1949. This energy drink was produced alongside the famous Mountain Dew by the Tri-Cities Beverage Company up until the mid-1960s when the Mountain Dew brand was sold to Pepsi.

Originally, Dr. Enuf was marketed as a beverage that was packed with vitamins, and that would give you energy and provide relief from the “untold misery” of your aches and pains. Nowadays, even though Dr. Enuf is high in vitamins like thiamine and niacin, people from Tennessee love it not because it is a tonic for your ills, but because it is the delicious, long-lost lemon-lime brother of Mountain Dew.

5. Apple Beer from Utah

If you’re looking for something different, we’ll bet you’ve never tried Apple Beer. Unless that is, you live in Utah, where the aptly named Apple Beer company is located. According to Apple Beer, this drink was first created a century ago by Bavarian biermeisters as a delicious non-alcoholic alternative to regular beer. Called “fassbrause,” this drink was made with Sicilian apples and natural herbs and spices, and like beer, it was packed into wooden barrels and delivered in a horse-drawn wagon. In the 1960s, the Apple Beer company brought this drink to Utah, where it has remained a regional favorite ever since.

Are there a few delicious locally produced sodas in your area? If so, share them with us in the comments section!

Amber Kanuckel is a freelance writer from rural Ohio who loves all things outdoors. She specializes in home, garden, environmental and green living topics. Her article on woolly worm caterpillar folklore appears in the 2020 Farmers' Almanac.

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ben barnard

seattle,wa. is home to the jones soda co. i have consumed COPIOUS amounts of different sodas in my life and NOTHING comes even close to jones green apple soda!!!!!!!!!! the fufu berrysoda is good too!

Wendy Fort

We used to have Apple Beer available here in Birmingham, AL, and I immediately fell in love with it. I don’t know why it went away, but have considered trying to order it online when I’m having a craving. Cheerwine is available here in certain stores like Fresh Market and Whole Foods. I like that one, too. Locally, we have Buffalo Rock, bottled in Homewood, a suburb of Birmingham in the “Over the Mountain” area. It’s a VERY strong and dark ginger ale. SPICY! It’s such an icon of the city that I included it along with other local favorites, like Bud’s Best Cookies, in welcome baskets for our out-of-town wedding guests 20 years ago. They’re still favorites today.

BOBBY BAREFOOT

You should also try Blenheim Ginger Ale from South Carolina. Another soda with roots from a healing drink. Very Spicey!

Kirt Brinkley

Sprechers soda is bottled in Wisconsin and is not widely available outside the state except @ all Menards stores. The have several flavors and the are excellent.

Texasgal

We also have Big Red in Texas that is popular as well

Ren

Foxon Park Soda in New Haven county CT. I moved to Pittsburgh about a year ago and I miss it so much

Bennie Lee

Another NC favorite is Sun Drop.

This is a lemon lime soda that is a kin to Mountain Due but with a little more “kick”
Popular over the state, but very much in the western Piedmont of NC.

Thomas Hood

No one should drink a soda — ever! You know they destroy your body, right? They are an American plague. Twenty years ago I drank a soda out of politeness and still feel guilty for it, but I do enjoy Kanuckel’s articles in Farmers Almanac.

Media Witten

I am a KY native and Ale8 1 wins hands down. Bottled in my hometown, Winchester, KY.

kristy

Agree!! I’m from mount sterling and drink em daily

Thomas

Hosmer Mountain Bottling Co. in Eastern CT produces a Birch Beer that’s pretty good.

Candace Warren

My son loves Faygo, which originates from Michigan. They do carry it here in Texas, but only certain stores have it – not all. Most people here love Dr. Pepper. And if you want a Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, orange or lime type of soda, it is ALL referred to as a coke. “What can I get you to drink? A coke. What kind? A root beer. You got it”.

Marilyn Jones

Cheerwine is delicious! You can us it to make good ice cream, barbeque ribs and baked beans!

Carl Wicklund

ALE-8 1 the best of all I have had including those listed.

Trisha Boden

Our local soft drink is
Ale 8 One
Bottled in Winchester KY

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