Moxie once bottled in Maine

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’ve always understood that Moxie was never bottled in Maine, but we have found what appears to be a very old Moxie bottle, which indicates “MOXIE is a wholesome carbonated beverage made from the extracts of gentian root and other natural flavors, cane sugar and caramel color. Contents 7 Fluid Ounces Bottled By George H. Mitchell Bottling Co. Waterville Maine.”

Would you or any of your illustrious readers know what years Moxie was bottled in Waterville? Thanks so much. — Gloria Holland, Auburn

ANSWER: Sun Spots was all over the Internet searching for answers to this question. While she didn’t get an exact answer, she did learn a lot from the many websites devoted to this unusual beverage.

One of the most informative was drinkmoxie.com, which has a history page noting the beverage’s progress decade by decade. One interesting fact: It turns out that Moxie actually outsold Coca-Cola in the 1920s.

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Information on bottling was more difficult to come by and came mostly from bottles being sold on eBay. According to those sellers, over the years Moxie was bottled by Elm City Bottling Co. and Maine State Bottling Co., both also in Waterville, and the Nezinscot Bottling Co. in Turner. There may very well have been others.

The Maine State bottle says it’s from 1963, so Moxie was bottled in Waterville then, if not by the same company as your bottle.

Sun Spots also found a postcard for sale that showed Moxie located in downtown Waterville. There was no date with the postcard, but early 20th century is a good guess, based on the fact that both trolley cars and automobiles are in evidence.

Sun Spots emailed the historical society in Waterville, but they were unable to provide any information.

According to Wikipedia, the Moxie brand was purchased by the Monarch Beverage Co. of Atlanta in 1966. In 2007 Monarch sold it to its current owner, Cornucopia Beverages of Bedford, N.H., which is owned by the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Northern New England, a subsidiary of the Kirin Brewery Co., based in Tokyo.

The Catawissa Bottling Co. in Catawissa, Pa., is one of six bottlers in the United States that produce Moxie. Catawissa has produced it since 1945. Polar Beverages also bottles Moxie in Worcester, Mass.

Wikipedia also noted that Moxie was designated the official soft drink of Maine on May 10, 2005. Its creator, Dr. Augustin Thompson, was born in Union, but Moxie was invented and first produced in Lowell, Mass.

For those who’d like to learn more about Moxie in person, the museum and bottle house (a big bottle once used as a house) are at the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage, northwest of Union on the Union Fairgrounds. More information and directions are at www.roadsideamerica.com/story/12781 or call 207-542-2379.

Other websites of possible interest include www.mainethingstodo.com/mttd/2010/01/95-drink-moxie/, http://moxiecongress.org/page42.htm and, of course, moxiefestival.com.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: A couple of weeks ago a lady wrote looking for old magazines. Could you please repeat the information? — Gerry via email

ANSWER: You can reach V. in Auburn, who takes the magazines, at 207-784-3803. The preferred magazines are Woman’s World, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Reminisce, Country and Country Woman, Better Homes and Good Housekeeping.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I would like to say thank-you to you and the four people who gave us some great artificial Christmas trees (Sept. 25 request from Roak Block). I want the rest of the world to know that people are still very kind and generous, even though we don’t seem to read very much good news.

The first day I had seven people answer my request for trees. I accepted four, and we now have them all. Again, thank you everybody. Wishing you all a nice Christmas season. — Leta, gileta@roadrunner.com

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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