History of Seven Up
7 Up was created by Charles Leiper Grigg who launched his St. Louis-based company The Howdy Corporation in 1920. Grigg came up with the formula for a lemon-lime soft drink in 1929. The product, originally named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda", was launched two weeks before the Wall Street Crash of 1929. It contained lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug. It was one of a number of patent medicine products popular in the late-19th and early-20th centuries; they made claims similar to today's health foods. Specifically it was marketed as a hangover cure. The product's name was soon changed to 7 Up.
The Great Depression was just the beginning of the business challenges the product would face. In its early years, there were around 600 lemon-lime beverage brands being sold in the US. 7 Up was able to survive and become the market leader in the category by being one of the first to be nationally distributed as well as being marketed as more healthy than other soft drinks.
The success of 7 Up led Grigg to rename his company to "The Seven Up Company" in 1936.
Lithium citrate was removed from 7 Up's formula in 1950.
Expanding the brand beyond a niche market, major competitors began to set their sights on it such as The Coca-Cola Company with its Sprite brand introduced in 1961. Sprite would not challenge 7 Up's position seriously until the 1980s when Coke forced its major bottlers, then distributing 7 Up, to drop the beverage in deference to Sprite. 7 Up challenged Coke's actions in court as "anti-competitive", a challenge they eventually lost.
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