During recent ceremonies, a Tennessee Senate Resolution was presented to both sons of the men who put Mountain Dew on the map in East Tennessee. After selling to PepsiCo. Corp. in 1964, Mountain Dew became one of America’s favorite soft drink and third-biggest liquid refreshment beverage megabrand in the U.S. with sales in the billions.
Dr. Bill Bridgforth and Charles Gordon, Jr. accepted the resolution for their late fathers, Bill Bridgforth, Sr. and Charles Gordon, Sr. Bridgforth was Tri-City Beverage president and Charles Gordon, Tri-City Beverage owner and founder.
The resolution reads, “Charlie Gordon and Bill Bridgforth were responsible for the initial growth of Mountain Dew and the subsequent creation of the new flavor, and Johnson City is the home of Mountain Dew; and in 1954 the first franchise for Mountain Dew was awarded to Charles “Charlie” O. Gordon of Johnson City, the founder of the Tri-City Beverage Corporation and innovator in soft drink production and pioneer in marketing.”
Bottlers in Knoxville, Barney and Ally Hartman first bottled the drink and called it Mountain Dew and actually used it as a cocktail mixer with the “Hillbilly” logo. As close friends, the Hartman’s awarded Charlie Gordon the first franchise.
The Hartman’s Mountain Dew flavor was like 7-up. Bridgforth changed the flavor and formula into a yellow citrus-lemonade flavor which is still the formula for Mountain Dew today.
The resolution continued, “Johnson City was honored by the PepsiCo Corporation in 2012 when the company introduced an extension to the Mountain Dew brand in honor of Johnson City’s contribution to the success of Mountain Dew naming the brand, ‘Johnson City Gold.’
An extensive historical account of how Mountain Dew evolved was written by Bridgforth’s oldest son, Dick Bridgforth who lives in Houston, Texas.
An additional honor is also forthcoming from the state as the original location of Tri-City Beverage Corporation will be noted with a Tennessee Historical Marker at the corner of Walnut St. and Cherokee St.
Tri-City Beverage is also known for the region’s favorite Dr. Enuf soft drink.