Famous Soda Pops I Have Known, Vol. X: Mexican 7 Up

Last week I posted about Retro 7 Up which is unusual since it is sweetened with cane sugar and not the more pervasive high fructose corn syrup. It would not be unusual in Mexico, though, as soda pops south of the border are normally sweetened with sugar instead of HFCS.

Mexican 7 Up is, of course, no exception.

When I was a kid, pop bottles that were returned were washed and re-used. I can remember that upon rare occasion, setting a bottle down too hard on a counter could cause the bottle to break if the bottle had been re-used one too many times

Mexican stores still take returns on bottles that are then washed and re-used. As a result, the bottles are often scratched up on the exterior. Bottle reuse also results in differing versions of the logo being available. (Not to mention differing amounts of pop, depending on the bottle!)

There is an urban legend or myth that 7 Up takes its name from the fact that it has a pH acidity level over seven. In reality, its level is 3.79 which is in the same range as other soda pops. The true origin of the name is not known though there are plenty of theories, from the original formula containing seven ingredients to the pop being originally sold in seven-ounce bottles when most brands at the time were sold in six-ounce bottles.

What is not a myth is the origin of the marketing term “the Uncola.” By the mid-1960s, the drink was thought of primarily of being a mixer or a drink to soothe an upset stomach. As to the former, a mixed drink of Seagram’s 7 Crown and 7 Up is called a Seven and Seven. As to the latter, I vividly remember being given 7 Up to soothe an upset stomach as a child while visiting my grandma in Gayscreek, Kentucky.

When the late 1960s saw the emergence of the counter culture, 7 Up saw an opportunity to be the “oppositional” drink of choice. Since the drink lacked caffeine and artificial coloring, a Chicago ad firm came up with the idea of branding 7 Up “the Uncola,” and often marketing it with ads filled with psychedelic “hippie” art, resulting in the idea that the dominant colas Coke and Pepsi by implication were the establishment.

2 Replies to “Famous Soda Pops I Have Known, Vol. X: Mexican 7 Up”

  1. Interesting Randy, brings back a lot of memories for me as a teenager working in grocery stores…in addition to my job duties of cashier, stocking, unloading truck, there was the dreaded deed of sorting through all of the soft drink bottles by brand to be picked up by the vendors for cleaning and resuse 🙂 I also made a lot of change picking up bottles on the sides of the roads and taking them to the store to collect the deposits…I think when I started it was around 2 cents and I remember it getting all the way up to 10 cents per bottle. And yes sir, I remember when 7 Up became known as the Uncola 🙂

    1. Tim, I also worked in a grocery as a teenager and definitely picked up my share of pop bottles from alongside the road. I imagine we are not alone in sharing these commonalities, though.

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