You just can’t keep a good Moxie Man down.
The iconic salesman who adorned America’s oldest continually bottled soda for decades disappeared from the label in 2007 when the brand was purchased by Cornucopia Beverages of Bedford, N.H.
After four years, it was time to bring him back, says brand manager Justin Conroy.
Stores in Northern New England have already begun carrying the new Moxie Man labels, and stores in Southern New England will soon follow.
The young man with the white coat and finger pointing at you who customers grew up with has been slightly updated – he’s got a website on him now (drinkmoxie.com).
But with the eyeliner-wearing Moxie Man with his steely gaze back on the scene, some Northern New Englanders have begun complaining the soft drink has lost some of its legendary bite. I’ve had three friends in Maine complain over the past two weeks that something wacky is going on with Moxie. So, I called the one man with the distinctive taste buds to know the difference.
“It’s not what it used to be,” says Frank Anicetti, owner of Kennebec’s store in Lisbon Falls, Maine.
Anicetti should know. Aside from being a lifelong Moxie drinker and peddler of Moxie paraphernalia galore (a Moxie necktie anyone?), he organizes the annual Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls that drew more than 50,000 fans last summer.
Anicetti says he usually drinks Diet Moxie as it has more of that original “bite” that fans love. When he twisted open a bottle recently, though, he was not pleased.
“The one I had yesterday was more like a fruit drink,” he said.
Conroy refutes any formula change, however, saying the company has made no changes to the concentrate that is shipped to bottlers and used to make Moxie.
Formula changes are a sore subject for Moxie fans. Longtime drinkers may recall the blunder the company made in the 1960s when it completely revamped Moxie as a fruit beverage. Sales reportedly plummeted and something close to the original drink was quickly brought back.
“We’re always mindful of past mistakes,” Conroy says.
Conroy says depending on the water source a bottler uses and the individual batch preparation, there can be some minor fluctuations in flavor from one soda to another. Locally, Moxie is bottled by the Polar Beverage Corp. here in Worcester.
“That’s true,” Anicetti says. “The Moxie we drink up here tastes a little different than what you get in Massachusetts.”
Has Cornucopia pulled a fast one on Moxie loyalists or did folks in parts of Maine just get a botched batch of Moxie? If only the Moxie Man could speak.+Continue Reading