In the grand quilt that is the heritage of America, Mountain Dew certainly has a patch of fabric. But surely it's a wild, tawdry, neon-green-colored square of nylon, stitched very far from the hand-sewn patches of flannel and wool that stand in for the traditional moonshine distilled high in the Ozark and Appalachian mountains.
Yet PepsiCo, which owns Mountain Dew (or "Mtn Dew," as the brand styles itself), is trying to bridge the gap between these two disparate facets of American history with a new beverage called "DEWShine." You know: like a cross between Mountain Dew and moonshine.
The new drink, which first started appearing in stores in late March, has the sweet, fizzy, citrusy taste of soda and the clear appearance of -- you guessed it -- moonshine. It comes in bottles made of glass, rather than plastic, with a label designed to look like it was found on a jug of hooch.
The advertising around DEWShine is similarly old-timey and backwoods. A TV commercial for the drink, embedded above, shows three burly, hirsute men forging glass bottles and then pouring a clear liquid from dusty barrels in some dark cabin in the woods.
Old-fashioned Americana has been a trendy vein in commercial culture for years. And so-called "moonshine" -- really just unaged corn whiskey -- has seen its popularity soar even faster than the popularity of bourbon. So there's a canniness to this ad campaign.
But it actually isn't pure poseurdom. It turns out that Mountain Dew itself was first created in the 1940s by a pair of brothers from Tennessee as a mixer for hard liquor. And the name was a reference to a common slang term for moonshine. So why hate? It's definitely less offensive than PepsiCo's attempt to convince America that you should drink Mountain Dew at breakfast.