A few years ago I took a road trip to Knoxville, Tennessee, and while visiting the local historical society, I stumbled across one of the most fascinating museum exhibitions I’ve ever seen: “It’ll Tickle Your Innards!” A (Hillbilly) History of Mountain Dew. I walked in with low expectations and walked out brimming with wonder and an arsenal of fun facts. Did you know that Mountain Dew was originally created to be a chaser for cheap whiskey? When it was invented by brothers Barney and Ally Hartman in 1932, they chose the name Mountain Dew because it’s an Appalachian slang term for moonshine, and they wanted to make the electric-yellow soft drink’s purpose abundantly clear. If you’re wondering how bad this moonshine was, here’s a particularly descriptive verse from the classic bluegrass song “Mountain Dew”:
You take a little trash and you mix it up with ash,
And you throw in the soul of a shoe,
Then you stir it awhile with an old rusty file,
And they call it that good old mountain dew.
We’ve come a long way from ramshackle rural distilleries to the current XXXtreme era of Doin’ the Dew—so much so that we’ve all but forgotten where it came from. That’s about to change, though, because today, Mountain Dew’s parent company PepsiCo revealed it has been collaborating with Sam Adams brewer The Boston Beer Company on a product that’s bringing The Dew back to its belligerent roots.
HARD MTN DEW (yes, it’s spelled in all caps) is a zero-sugar 5% ABV malt beverage, and it will be offered in three flavors: Black Cherry, Watermelon, and good ol’ classic Mountain Dew. PepsiCo’s official press release was rather vague on the details, but the company did promise that the drink will be “perfect for occasions to dial-up the fun,” which sounds pretty exciting. But don’t get too excited just yet—HARD MTN DEW won’t be available to the public until early 2022, meaning you’ll need to find other ways to dial up any sort of fun you’re planning on having this year.