7UP was invented in 1929 by Charles Leiper Grigg, who unhappily worked as an advertising executive at Whistle Orange Soda before quitting to make his own orange drink dubbed Howdy. Howdy was unsuccessful because of Orange Crush, which contained real orange juice. Doctors started to stress the importance of vitamin C around this time, and Howdy only contained essential oils found in the fruit's peel.
So Grigg set out to make a new drink. Although there were about 600 other lemon-lime sodas out there already, he took a nosedive into citrus waters and created another one anyway. But this time, things were different. 7UP, which wasn't always called 7UP, made waves for various reasons and a market leader was born.
Fast-forward nearly a century later, and this fizzy pop is still alive and well. Although people don't use it to cure hangovers anymore, soda slickers will still find the classic drink on store shelves waiting to be tossed into cake batter, used as a marinade for shrimp, or simply poured over ice. Chances are that you, your parents, and even your parents' parents have enjoyed a can at some point in this life, but we bet you didn't know these 13 things about 7UP.
It wasn't always called 7UP
The original name of 7UP was "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda." This is because up until 1949, it contained a trace of lithium citrate - the same pharmacological compound that's now used to treat people with bipolar disorder and depression. The mood-elevating ingredient was used to great advantage in the soda's early marketing, but it was eventually removed from the recipe after evidence of severe side effects emerged and the government banned its use.
It tried to be family friendly
The original slogan, "You Like It, It Likes You" became "The Fresh Up Family Drink" following the removal of lithium from the product. Since then, the drink has had a slew of slogans, most eyebrow-raisingly "Make 7UP Yours"; the campaign featured T-shirts that had "Make 7" emblazoned on the front and "Up Yours" in big letters on the back.
It used to claim unproven curative properties
7UP was originally marketed as an antidote for hangovers. One newspaper ad claimed the drink "neutralizes the acid blood - 2 to 4 glasses soothes and smooths the ragged nerves." Others said, "'7UP' is good for one down," and "7UP dispels hangovers - takes the 'ouch' out of grouch. An internal bath of carbon dioxide is good for anybody - any time. Pour gently - fizzing lets the CO2 escape."
Its creator made another soda
Before Charles Leiper Grigg had success with 7UP in the late 1920s, he made a very sweet orange soda called Howdy. Alas, competitor Orange Crush was on the rise and had one essential ingredient that Howdy lacked: orange juice. Doctors were beginning to stress the importance of vitamin C, and Howdy used essential oils of the fruit's peel only - so it flopped.
It succeeded against all odds
When Grigg invented 7UP, there were approximately 600 other lemon-lime sodas on the market. Although the odds were against him, Grigg spent months plotting how to make his product stand out from the rest. The result was a pop that fizzed more and contained less sugar than the average soda.
It was once called 'the uncola' for marketing purposes
In the early 1970s, 7UP aired an iconic commercial starring late actor Geoffrey Holder, who played a Caribbean planter explaining the difference between kola nuts used to make cola-flavored drinks and "uncola nuts" - lemon and lime. "We use them, of course, to make the uncola 7UP. It's the uncola nut that helps give the uncola its je ne sais quoi, you know, fresh, clean taste. No after-taste. Wet, wild - all that. It's marvelous! Absolutely marvelous!"
It was popular after Prohibition
When people could legally start drinking again, Grigg had the bright idea of marketing his drink as a mixer that "tames whiskey" and "glorifies gin." As a result, syrup sales skyrocketed from just 174,000 gallons a year in 1933 to over 2 million by 1936.
It has a mysterious moniker
The reason for the shortened name "7UP" is unclear, but popular theories surmise that it's slang from a card or dice game, that the drink originally contained seven ingredients, and that the beverage was sold in 7-ounce bottles. "UP" could simply refer to "bottoms up," a popular phrase associated with drinking.
It was sued over health claims
The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a lawsuit against 7UP's former parent company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, for manufacturing healthy-seeming "antioxidant" flavors, including Cherry Antioxidant, Pomegranate Antioxidant, and Mixed Berry Antioxidant. The company agreed to stop producing the beverages.
The red dot on the logo used to also be its mascot
You've probably seen the red circle on the 7UP logo, but we bet you've never heard of The Spot. This cool little animated character was prominently featured in ads through the '80s and '90s. He was even in a few video games including Spot (1990), Cool Spot (1993), and Spot Goes to Hollywood (1995).
Dr.Pepper Snapple Group
There's a limited-edition 7UP Mustang
In 1989, 7UP commissioned Ford to make a small batch of 7UP-themed Mustang convertibles with emerald green bodies and white tops. Thirty were supposed to be part of a giveaway for fans that sank half-court shots during the NCAA basketball finals in 1990, but the promotion was cancelled at the last minute. In all, 4,103 were produced and sold through conventional outlets, instead.
Flickr/Michel Curi/CC BY 4.0
You can bake with it
7UP can be used in baking to make your cake light and fluffy: Popular recipes include 7UP-infused pound cake, biscuits, buttercream sugar cookies, pancakes, pie crust, fruit salads, and brownie glaze.
You can also cook with it
Even crazier, 7UP has been featured in plenty of savory recipes: everything from basting a turkey to marinating pork chops to stir frying shrimp. We can't vouch for the tastiness of these culinary concepts, but they do exist.
Now that you have the 4-1-1 on 7UP - aka the uncola - why not broaden your soda knowledge on on of the competitor? From cocaine and morphine to indigestible masses trapped in the digestive system, we bet you didn't know these 20 things about Coca-Cola!
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