First sold in 1885 at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas, Dr Pepper is the oldest soft drink in America. It was soon followed by Coca-Cola (1886), Pepsi-Cola (1898), IBC Root Beer (1919), 7-UP (1929), Sprite (1961), and countless other soft drinks that have long since disappeared from the shelves. In 1929, there were more than 600 lemon-lime soft drinks alone on the market!
When C.L. Grigg first introduced 7-UP to the world in 1929, he called it "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda." Although there were already more than 600 lemon-lime soft drinks on the market, Grigg's new brand sold well enough to keep him afloat--even through the stock market crash which occurred just two weeks after he introduced the drink--and, thankfully, he soon changed the name to the much easier to pronounce "7-UP."
Born in the hills of Tennessee in the 1940s, Mountain Dew was originally invented by two brothers, Barney and Ally Hartman, for use as a mixer with whiskey. Mountain Dew is actually slang for "moonshine," and some of the early bottles were even adorned with sketches of a character called Willy the Hillbilly!
The "A" and "W" in A&W Root Beer stand for "Allen" and "Wright," the two founders of the company. Roy Allen purchased a root beer formula from an Arizona pharmacist and sold his first mug of root beer in 1919. In 1922, he took a partner -- Frank Wright, one of his original employees. Two years later, in 1924, Allen bought wright's share of the business back, but he stuck with the name, and the rest is history. By 1933, he had more than 170 franchised A&W outlets, and by 1950 he had more than 450 outlets nationwide.