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Mountain Dew: It happened in Lumberton

Cleaning out his office, retiring Superior Court Judge Stan Carmical delivered several pieces of legal interest to the History Museum. On a second visit, the judge brought a vintage Mountain Dew bottle. 


In pristine condition, the bottle features a hillbilly holding a jug with the cork flying through his hat. Why is a 10-ounce green bottle important to local history?


When celebrating local history, no collection is complete without a nod to Mountain Dew. Without Lumberton and the Minges family of bottlers, Mountain Dew may have been lost to history. 


In the 19th and 20th century, various beverages and elixirs were bottled in countless localities. Robeson Soda Water Company was Lumberton’s contribution to this business enterprise. Pepsi Cola was New Bern’s invention.


Mountain Dew originated in Tennessee with Barney and Ally Hartman in 1940. It was sold to Tip Corporation of Marion, Va. In 1957.


The Minges family owned controlling interest in Tip, and they moved Mountain Dew to Lumberton. Apparently, the family believed the drink had a future.


The Minges are legendary bottlers in eastern North Carolina. Otto and Luther Minges founded their first bottling enterprise in 1923 in Greenville, N.C. NuGrape and Orange Crush were the Minges most noteworthy products, although there were other beverages like Jumbo Cola. 


It made business and geographical sense for Minges to become Pepsi’s eastern North Carolina franchisee. They became “the first family of Pepsi bottlers.”


The Pepsi connection ignited the fortunes of the family, which expanded to Lumberton with a bottling plant on Chippewa Street. 


The formula for Mountain Dew evolved, but the Minges marketing clout propelled it to wider attention, all the while touting the hillbilly image: “Yahoo Mountain Dew” and “It’ll tickle yer innards.”


Minges’ business empire was a family affair and still is. Hoyt Minges Sr. is credited with bringing Mountain Dew on board and convincing Pepsi to buy it in 1964. In Lumberton, Pepsi and Mountain Dew bottling operations were managed by Herman and Charles Minges.


Originally, the drink was intended to be a mixer for alcohol and was not carbonated. Over time, the lemon-lime soda added more citrus flavoring.


Today, Mountain Dew is a mega brand, the fourth leading soft drink in the world. It all came through Lumberton and one family.


Thanks Judge Carmical for the bottle.


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