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Tri-Cities soft drink Dr. Enuf comes to plastic bottles to expand the cult classic's reach

The company said plastic bottles will allow them to bring the soft drink to places where glass containers are prohibited.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — A Tri-Cities soft drink with a significant cult following in East Tennessee is hoping to expand its footprint in a move that it said has been a long time coming.

Tri-City Beverage Corporation said Dr. Enuf, its popular lemon-lime and cherry-flavored soft drinks, are now available in 16-ounce plastic bottles for the first time in the company's history. 

The soft drink has been traditionally available in glass bottles. However, the company said the glass bottles limited it from being sold in certain places, so it is adding plastic bottles to the mix so people can buy it "almost anywhere," such as vending machines.

“We have found that in the regional and local markets we could expand our growth by being able to place our products in vending machines,” says Vice president of Regional Sales Greg Lyon. “Our distribution had been limited to convenience stores, grocery stores and other retail locations. With the added convenience of vending machines, we can distribute our products almost anywhere. Numerous vending machines have already been placed throughout the Tri-Cities.”

Dr. Enuf is a regional favorite of many in the area alongside the local fast food chain Pal's Sudden Service (which also serves up Dr. Enuf). Its origin dates back to the late 1940s and early 1950s, when a businessman marketed an energy-boosting soft drink to the bottler now known as Tri-City Beverage that was "rich in vitamins" instead of lots of sugar. A partnership was formed and the drink became a hit for the company, which it now markets it as the "original energy booster." 

Dr. Enuf's history is also tied to one of the most popular sodas in the United States: Mountain Dew. 

The Tri-Cities bottler was approached by Knoxville brothers Ally and Barney Hartman in the mid-1950s to bottle and distribute the original "Mountain Dew," which was originally created as a moonshine mixer. 

The original Mountain Dew formula was a clear lemon-lime beverage similar to 7-Up, but the original formula did not sell as well as expected in the early 50s. Ally Hartman eventually teamed up a few bottlers to buy the Tip Corporation in Marion, Virginia -- which is when Tri-City Beverage changed the course of history for Mountain Dew and launched it into national popularity.

Tri-City Beverage used serve up a unique citrus-flavored soft drink alongside Dr. Enuf known as "Tri-City Lemonade," which was developed by plant manager Bill Bridgeforth, and it quickly became a hit. In 1960, Bridgeforth decided to bottle Tri-City Lemonade in Mountain Dew bottles, and in 1961 the Tip Corporation bought the rights to the formula under the Mountain Dew label. 

The drink's growing popularity eventually grabbed the attention of Pepsi-Cola in 1964. Pepsi-Cola bought the Mountain Dew brand and production rights to the formula formerly known as Tri-City Lemonade from the company, and the rest is history! 

If that's not "Enuf" soda history for you, though, check out the full story of Mountain Dew's East Tennessee origins below.