The disassembled booth is being

stored in a garage

in Bristol.

UNION (AP) – Moxie lovers are raising money to build a home for a bottle-shaped trade show booth, an obscure piece of outsized advertising art that touted the virtues of the bitter-tasting soft drink.

If all goes as planned, the Moxie Bottle House, as the 32-foot-high booth is known, will be relocated near the far end of the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage at Union Fairgrounds.

Moxie got its start in Union more than 100 years ago when Dr. Augustin Thompson patented the cure-all nostrum called “Moxie Nerve Food” and distributed it in the form of a carbonated beverage from a small plant in Lowell, Mass. The drink is now made in Georgia.

“People either really like it or really don’t like it,” said Dick Tracy, publicity director for the museum. “I used to drink it as a little kid. It was bitter.”

Moxie memorabilia – old and new – has attracted interest from legions of fans and collectors in Maine and throughout the country. The Matthews Museum displays a wide array of antique advertising products, including a set of Moxie dishes.

Sales from such products helped raise $13,000 that will go toward the restoration and housing of the Moxie Bottle House.

The unusual structure survived both the flood of 1936 and the hurricane of 1938 with minimal damage. It is being restored, including label and bottle cap, to be used as a tourist attraction.

Besides being a home at one time, the oversized bottle also served as a navigational aid for World War II pilots flying into New Hampshire’s Grenier Airport, now Manchester Airport. Pilots used the 4-foot silver-colored bottle cap as a guide for landing.

The booth, broken down in sections, is being stored in a garage in Bristol until the new building is erected, Tracy said. “There’s no sense in getting it restored until we have a place to put it,” he said, a process will likely take at least a couple of years.

According to Tracy, the first step in the capital campaign is to draw in enough money to hire an architect to design the building, which will protect the Moxie stand.

Once the building is completed, the Moxie Bottle House, made of teakwood, will be reassembled inside.

The original Moxie “nerve tonic” outsold Coca-Cola in the early 1900s, according to the New England Moxie Congress’ publication, Nerve Food News.

“It still has a medicine taste to me,” Tracy’s wife, Elaine, said.

The couple said that over the years the taste has changed to a sweeter tang. Bitter or sweet, Moxie is a beverage that inspired the world and was marketed in the 1900s as “Distinctively Different” from Coca-Cola and other sodas, supporters say.

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