“It’ll Tickle Yore Innards!”

A (Hillbilly) History of Mountain Dew

June 29, 2019 to January 27, 2020
Rogers-Claussen Feature Gallery

Please note that while this exhibit ended in 2020, a few of the artifacts are still on display in the Museum of East Tennessee History.

[Mountain Dew]’s pretty much a religious obsession for me.
Chris Whitley, 27-year-old superfan of Mountain Dew, Jackson, Mississippi

Mountain Dew. Your parents likely warned you about the neon-green soda. Doctors and dentists despise it. Yet, across the United States—especially in the South and Midwest—there are “superfans” of the beverage who will not drink anything else.

High in sugar and caffeine, it’s the all-night elixir of gamers and programmers. It fuels skateboarders, snowboarders, and racecar drivers. And for some, it’s the perfect pairing for Doritos or Taco Bell fare.

Mountain Dew ranks as the third most popular “liquid refreshment brand,” behind only Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola. How did Mountain Dew become so popular, at a time when many Americans are looking for healthier beverage options?

Explore the drink’s storied history, which began here in the hills of Appalachia.


Dr. Daniel Pierce

Special thanks to “Dewologist” Dick Bridgforth for his generosity and support of the exhibition

In the exhibition’s text, mountain dew (lower-cased) refers to the colloquial nickname for whiskey. Mountain Dew (initial-capped) refers to the soft drink owned by PepsiCo. All artwork and likenesses are copyright of their owner(s), if applicable, and are used solely for historical and scholarly illustrative purposes.

Related Resources:

Dick Bridgforth, Mountain Dew: The History, 2007

Anthony Harkins, Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon, 2004