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Can both moonshine and soda be called Mountain Dew?

Ole Smoky Mountain Moonshine wants the entire spirits industry to be able to use the traditional term for moonshine, but Pepsi disagrees.

Is Mountain dew a soft drink or moonshine?

That probably depends on your age, and where you grew up.

For most folks, of course, Mountain Dew is that bright yellow soda sold by Pepsi. But for decades, particularly in the Appalachian region of the south, mountain dew meant moonshine--- the real high-octane stuff produced in stills and sold privately in mason jars.

DID YOU KNOW: Both version of Mountain Dew have roots in Knoxville?

Now, a modern Tennessee moonshine distiller wants the entire spirits industry to be able to use the term mountain dew in relation to moonshine.

Ole Smoky Moonshine has been locked in a trademark battle with Pepsi since 2015.

Ole Smoky says it acquired the trademark for Mountain Dew Moonshine from the descendants of a Kentucky distiller who sold spirits under that name in the late 1800's. They filed to register "Ole Smoky Mountain Dew Moonshine" as a trademark for distilled spirits.

Pepsi filed a dispute, and the legal battle began.

Now, Ole Smoky has asked the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to remove their exclusive claim to the phrase Mountain Dew Moonshine so that all moonshine producers can use it.

“Ole Smoky Distillery was founded with the historical understanding that ‘Mountain Dew’ means moonshine and we strongly believe that no single corporation, including Ole Smoky, should have a monopoly over its use for moonshine,” said Joe Baker, Founder of Ole Smoky Distillery LLC. “We know the term Mountain Dew evokes different cultural interpretations and references, but that does not void its original meaning and historical connection to spirits and moonshine culture.”