Reece Museum exhibit explores Tri-Cities origins of Mountain Dew, Dr. Enuf

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) Two popular beverages with unique Tri-Cities ties are being celebrated in Johnson City.

The Reece Museum on ETSU’s campus is recognizing Tri-City Beverage company for their impact on the region. This comes as Johnson City celebrates it’s 150th anniversary this year.

A State Historical Marker naming the city the “Home of Mountain Dew” was unveiled Friday, July 20 on West Walnut Street.

The celebration continues as the Reece Museum unveils an exhibit highlighting the origins of both Mountain Dew and Dr. Enuf in the Tri-Cities.

The “Tri-City Beverage Story” display opened officially on Monday, July 22 and runs through September 13th.

It is a story the museum says many do not know about our region: the genius behind two successful soft drinks is a Johnson City company.

“They put their heart and soul into it and you can really tell. I think that’s why it is still here today,” says Spenser Brenner, exhibition coordinator for the Reece Museum.

It’s a history on full display, hoping to give a peak into the background of this hometown company.

“Tri-City Beverage grew as Johnson City grew. I hope people can have a little bit of a sense of pride, even if you don’t drink soda,” says Brenner.

The museum says though Mountain Dew started in Knoxville, it grew up in Johnson City. The beverage “Tri-City Lemonade” created by Tri-City Beverage is what we now know as Mountain Dew today.

The flavor was sold to the Pepsi franchise and is now the third most popular soda in the United States.

Dr. Enuf, coined the “original energy booster,” was a first of it’s kind energizing soda. It has been bottled and sold at Tri-City beverage since the 50s.

The iconic drink is more popular today than ever and can be found nationally at Cracker Barrel stores, as well as locally in retailers across the Tri-Cities.

The free exhibition includes bottles, television and radio ads, and collectibles from the beginning of Tri-City Beverage to present day. In addition, a documentary produced by Fred Sauceman and Gabe Perez will be featured.

The Reece Museum, located on the campus of East Tennessee State University, is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, please visit www.etsu.edu/reece or phone (423) 439-4392.

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