LISBON — Reigning champion Beau Bradstreet of Bridgewater exuded confidence as he approached the competition table where a 12-pack of Moxie awaited him.

“I don’t feel much pressure,” he said. “I’m going to do what I can do and hope for the best.”

Bradstreet, from a tiny town in northern Maine, has dominated the competition since he first attended the festival, winning the Moxie Chugging Challenge at the annual Moxie Festival seven years in a row.

“A couple of friends of mine from down here were up (in Bridgewater) snowmobiling, and they seen me drinking Moxie and said, ‘We have a whole festival of Moxie back home,’” Bradstreet said. “So I came down, saw there was a chugging competition, entered it and won it the first year.”

Among Bradstreet’s challengers were a couple of first-time competitors eager to dethrone the king: Breanna Glover of New Hampshire and Trevayne Jackson of Wilton.

“I’ve always loved Moxie, and, like, I think it would be totally cool to not only be able to say I love Moxie but also I won this weird competition, you know?” Glover said.

But as soon as the competition began, it was clear the race was in the can. Bradstreet coolly lifted the first can, chugged it, unhurriedly set it down, and reached for the next. Beside him, newcomers and seasoned hands visibly struggled to down the bitter beverage.

“I was expecting I would just drink it, you know, chug-a-lug,” Jackson said. “The first can is like, ‘Oh boy, oh boy.’ The second can is, ‘Ohhhh,’ then the third can I started gagging, but I kept it down.”

When the dust cleared, Bradstreet had easily claimed victory with six completed cans in two minutes, nearly triple the number Jackson and Glover each had drunk.

“He always wins,” said Julie-Ann Baumer, who organizes the chugging competition. “He’s drunk more soda before — he can shotgun, what, 10 cans?”

Bradstreet said he’ll be back to defeat any challengers next year.

The festival organized around the 19th-century beverage is also about a community coming together.

“A lot of people come in and raise money for their fundraisers and stuff like that,” said Ken Chase, 71, who has lived in Lisbon his entire life. “It’s just a community spirit that keeps growing every year, a little bit bigger and bigger.” 

Chase admitted that he doesn’t really care for Moxie.

“When I was a kid, my aunt used to give me that every time I had an upset stomach,” he said. “I don’t know if she gave it to me because she thought that it was actually going to help my stomach or if I’d stop complaining.”

Even though he’s been told that the formula for Moxie has changed since that unpleasant encounter, he’s steered clear of the stuff.

While some locals like Chase opt to appreciate Moxie from afar, others come from all over the country to celebrate the soda.

Steve and Verna “Peaches” Cole of Massachusetts are members of the New England Moxie Congress, a group of self-described Moxie zealots.

“We’ve come up five or six times now,” said Steve Cole as he sipped on a can of Moxie.

“Peaches” Cole added that she only likes the Moxie that comes in bottles, which is made with cane sugar.

While they both love the soda, she added that what keeps them coming back is the community of people who gather for the festival.

Chase summed up that feeling.

“It’s nice to see everyone come together and have a good time, and that’s the main thing,” he said. “There’s too much separation today, and this just seems to bring everyone together. I love it.”

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The Kora Karts unit and Kora Klowns make their way down Lisbon Street during the Moxie Festival Parade in Lisbon Falls on Saturday morning. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Johnny Johnson, right, of Bowdoin, Trevayne Jackson of Wilton and Breanna Glover of Merrimack, New Hampshire, down cans of Moxie during the Moxie Chugging Challenge in Lisbon Falls on Saturday. Beau Bradstreet of Bridgewater won the contest for his eighth title in a row. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

TJ Heck, 2, and his foster grandmother, Dawna Bowlin of Bowdoinham, react differently to the approaching Kora Klown during the Moxie Festival Parade in Lisbon Falls on Saturday morning. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Children, from left, Callen Cote, 6, of Wayne; Ayla Cote, 8, of Wayne; Jacob Haskell, 13, of Bowdoinham; Camden Laudieri, 8, of Lisbon; Conley Patrie, 6, of Lisbon and Byron Davis, 7, of Windham anticipate the candy coming their way during the Moxie Festival Parade in Lisbon Falls on Saturday morning. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Julia Bichrest, 7, of Lisbon Falls wears a Moxie hat during the Moxie Festival Parade in Lisbon Falls on Saturday morning. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Bill Archer of Gray gives Mason Parks, 8, of Lewiston an exploding fist bump while wearing a Moxie Darth Vader suit during the Moxie Festival Parade in Lisbon Falls on Saturday morning. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Beau Bradstreet of Bridgewater won the Moxie Chugging Challenge contest in Lisbon Falls on Saturday after downing six cans of Moxie. Bradstreet is the eight-time defending champion. “So far, so good,” he said.  (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

People line up along Lisbon Street to watch the Moxie Festival Parade in Lisbon Falls on Saturday morning. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Trevayne Jackson of Wilton downs a can of Moxie during the Moxie Chugging Challenge in Lisbon Falls on Saturday. Beau Bradstreet of Bridgewater won the contest for his eighth title in a row. Jackson is a 2017 graduate of Mount Blue High School in Farmington. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Oliver Bradstreet, left, 5, and his brother Blaine, 8, celebrate with their father, Beau Bradstreet, after the elder Bradstreet won the Moxie Chugging Challenge for the eighth year in a row in Lisbon Falls on Saturday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)


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