The untold truth of 7UP

7UP, the refreshing lemon-lime soda, traces its beginnings to the early 20th century. In 1929, Charles Leiper Grigg, who had been working in the soft drink industry for ten years, invented a beverage called "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda" (via Thought Co.). This moniker was considered to be too long, and quickly shortened to 7UP Lithiated Lemon Soda. 

In 1936, the name was changed again to the title it holds today, "7UP." There are many theories about the origins of the number seven in the name of the beverage. These range from people believing it's because the pH level of the drink is 7 — it's not; it's closer to 4 (via Rewind and Capture). Others think it is a reference to the drinks former lithium content, which has an atomic mass of around 7 (via The People's Pharmacy). The true meaning of the number has never been divulged by the company and may, in fact, be lost to history! 

According to Vintage News, the original version of the soda included lithium citrate (hence "lithiated") which is a drug that has been used to treat manic states and bipolar disorder (via WebMd). The timing of the release of this soft drink containing an "upper" couldn't have been better. 7UP hit the market just two weeks before the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.  

7UP history post-prohibition

After Prohibition ended and people were allowed to drink legally again, Gregg marketed his drink as a mixer for hard liquor, and it caused sales to take off with 2 million gallons sold in 1936, compared to 174,000 just three years prior. In 1948, the United States Food and Drug Administration banned using lithium in soft drinks, and in 1950, the soft drink changed its formula. 

In the 1970s, the drink marketed itself as being the "uncola," the polar opposite of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Unlike the two colas, it contained no caffeine and was known for its "fresh and clean" taste. The campaign was a hit, with 7UP ranking as the third best-selling soda in the United States in 1972. Since its invention, 7UP has also been introduced in Diet and "Ten" (as in calories) varieties, as well as a 7UP cherry flavor (via Dr. Pepper/Snapple). Though the beverage was once owned by tobacco giant Phillip Morris, it's currently manufactured by Keurig/Dr. Pepper in the United States, and is bottled by PepsiCo outside the country (via AdWeek).