Howdy Company, St. Louis, MO.

kailani carlson

Joined October 2010

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Howdy Company was a company created by “Charles Leiper Grigg”.

A little bit of history on this famous urbexer can…

Charles Grigg became a top sales rep with Vess Jones, a local manufacturing entrepreneur in St. Louis, MO. With financial backing Grigg invented and marketed ‘Whistle’, an orange drink. Whistle soon became the Jones’ biggest seller and Jones promoted Charles Grigg to Sales and Marketing manager. Grigg couldn’t work well under Jones, and left both Jones’ company and Grigg’s pet project, Whistle.

Grigg’s next career stop was the Warner-Jenkinson Co. of St. Louis, a developer of soft drink flavoring agents.It was around the year 1919 that Grigg invented then his second soft drink, an orange-flavored beverage with 14% sugar named “Howdy”. Charles Grigg’s lithium laced clear soda bested an estimated 600 competing, similar citrus flavored sodas to become a market leader by 1936. Such was the success of the product that Howdy Company changed it’s name to The Seven Up Company in 1936.

Just as the successes of Coca-Cola, Orange Crush, Hires Root Beer and Dr Pepper could be traced to nationwide distribution, Seven Up’s commanding success in their niche was directly attributable to a 25-year, highly aggressive, creative national advertising campaign.

This accomplishment shouldn’t be discounted. Remember that there were no ‘big-box’ supermarket chains when 7Up was trying to get off the ground. The midwest, as with most of America was a collection of Mom & Pop stores to negotiate with on a one to one basis from town to city to town, as Howdy Company’s sales reps fanned out across the Midwest, and then West and East to create more distribution outlets for 7-Up. The Great Depression was clearly a hinderance, but may also have been very helpful in negotiating with individual outlets. Charles Grigg wasn’t above marketing his product to the vast network of underground speakeasies during the Prohibition Years. Just as seltzer water and dry ginger ale, 7-Up was also becoming a very popular mixer. Indeed, once prohibition was repealed, Grigg started promoting 7-Up as a mixer. By the end of the 1930’s, Mr. Grigg had made 7-Up one of America’s most popular sodas.

As for the lithium, Seven Up maintained lithium citrate in 7-Up’s formulation until 1950.

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