“That Good Ole’ Mountain Dew”, Willie Nelson & Family

Mountain Dew’s Knoxville History
by:  Jim Matheny

KNOXVILLE – The term “mountain dew” has multiple meanings and origins in Knoxville.  These days, the first thought is likely the popular neon soft drink made by Pepsi.  For most of the 20th century the phrase referred to high-octane clear Appalachian alcohol straight from illegal stills into glass jars without being aged.

“Mountain dew, before the 1940s, was mainly a nickname for liquor.  If you said mountain dew, you meant moonshine,” said historian and author Jack Neely.  “It was a well-understood term.”

Uncle Dave Macon, Grandpa Jones, as well as Willie Nelson have all recorded individual renditions of a popular song titled “Mountain Dew.”  The chorus of the song says, “They call it that ole mountain dew, and them that refuse it are few.”

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