What is the "7" in 7UP? We'll never know for sure. The soft drink's creator, Charles Leiper Grigg, went to the grave without ever revealing where he got the name. But there several interesting rumors regarding its origin.
When Grigg introduced his drink in October 1929, it
had neither a "7" nor an "UP" in its name. He called it "Bib-label
Lithiated Lemon-lime Soda." Imagine trying to order that bad boy from a
Taco Bell drive-through! Bib-label Lithiated Lemon-lime Soda is perhaps
the single worst name for a soft drink in soda history. How did he come
up with this extraordinarily crummy name?
"Bib-label" referred to
the use of paper labels that were placed on plain bottles. The
"Lithiated" related to the mind-altering drug lithium. No kidding.
having a very bizarre name, Grigg's concoction hit stores just two
weeks before the 1929 stock market crash. It also faced competition from
about 600 other lemon-lime sodas. Despite all of these daunting
factors, the new drink actually sold pretty well. Chalk it up to the
cool, refreshing taste of lithium.
even with its success, Griggs soon realized that Bib-label Lithiated
Lemon-lime Soda was a little tricky to remember (you think?) or maybe he
just got sick of saying it himself. Griggs changed the name of his
drink to "7UP."
Here's the most persuasive (and logical)
explanation for the name: The "7" refers to the drink's seven
ingredients, and the "UP" has to do with the soda's rising bubbles. This
version is supported by an early 7UP tagline: "Seven natural flavors
blended into a savory, flavory drink with a real wallop."
seven ingredients were carbonated water, sugar citric acid, lithium
citrate, sodium citrate, and essences of lemon and lime oils
(technically two ingredients).
Of course, it's entirely possible
that as executives devised the ingredients angle to fit the name rather
than vice-versa. There are other possible origins, but these theories
range from the unlikely to the preposterous. These include:
* Griggs saw a cattle brand that looked like 7UP.
* Griggs was rooting for a seven in a game of craps he was playing in .
* The original 7UP bottle held seven ounces.
* "Seven Up" contains seven letters.
quite possible that the "7" refers to nothing at all -Griggs may have
simply devised the name to stir up people's interest. In any case, the
new name seemed to work okay.
But 1940, 7UP had become the third
most popular and best-selling drink in the world. And even when the
delicious lithium was dropped from the recipe in 1950, the drink
remained a hit.
Is 7UP an aphrodisiac? Remember Wilt Chamberlain,
the great basketball player who claimed he had made love to 20,000
women in his lifetime? Well, Wilt the Stilt's favorite drink was 7UP.
According to Wilt, "I used to drink the stuff all the time."