April 11, 2008


Filed under: FEATURE STORIES — carolyncholland @ 1:44 am
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Many older residents of southwestern Pennsylvania, including Ligonier, are familiar with Moxie. They either tasted it in their younger days, when it was sold in local markets or saw the Moxie-mobile passing through their town, or saw it advertised on billboards. (photo: )

“I remember it well until the late 1930s.” E. Kay Meyers said, recalling the Moxie truck, and remembering that the beverage was sold locally well into the late 1930s.

The Rev. Edward Rogosky, originally from this area, tasted Moxie when he was 10 years old. He purchased it at Strickler’s Drugstore in Latrobe.

“I remember the taste—it was awful,” said the 58-year old. “I can still taste it today.”
He agrees with those who describe its taste as “bitter medicine.” Rogosky said he tried it twice. “It didn’t work for me either time,” he said.

Steve Harwig, Lower Burrell, was familiar with the Moxie name, but only recently had his first taste the beverage. “It’s a medicine taste that I like,” he said, emptying his glass down to the last drop.

Bath, Maine resident Dave Roberts, working temporarily in Ligonier, said Moxie was the only pop he could keep in the house because it was the only one his wife didn’t like.
“You either love it or hate it,” he said. “It’s sort of like sarsaparilla, but it has a little bite to it.”

Numerous sites in central and eastern Pennsylvania still stock Moxie. Boxer’s Café, Huntingdon, “smack dab in the middle of the state,” draws a New England crowd from Juniata College. Mainers are their other major customers.

It’s also available at Harrisburg Beer Express in Harrisburg, and in Flinton, north of Altoona. A case of 24 cans costs $13.75, including tax.

Moxie is more difficult to find in the Pittsburgh area. The closest confirmed site to purchase Moxie is at Valley Beverage in Nanty Glo, a 90-minute drive from Pittsburgh, according to owner Terri Hott. She drives to Catawissa to stock it because it is difficult to get them to deliver in Nanty Glo, she said.

“I drive five hours for something I don’t like,” she said. “It reminds me of the 1950s orange baby aspirin. Actually, I hate it.”

There’s little demand for it, Hott said, noting that a number of her customers from Virginia stop to pick up cases while traveling through the area.

“Certain people come in and want it,” she said. “I have a five-year old nephew who loves it. His grandfather drinks it. Moxie used to be really, really popular around here and then it faded out,” she said. “Today the demand is slowly picking up.”

Both Linda Adams and her husband, Wayne Adams, Johnstown, carry on their grandparents’ tradition of being Moxie fans. Wayne Adams’ grandparents had a little store in Johnstown where it was sold. Their whole family imbibed. Wayne and Linda Adam’s daughter, Holly, 20, carries the tradition into the younger generation. She’s liked it since she was old enough to hold a pop bottle. Their older daughter, Jaime Oakes, hates it.

“It’s been the first considered pop. It tastes like old time bitters,” Linda Adams said. “It’s good for your stomach. You have to like it or hate it.” She recently purchased the last case of Moxie from Hott. It was buried under some beer cases, she said.

To read the story of Moxie, click on: MOXIE: LOVE IT or HATE IT

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