RC Cola and Moonpies – The Origin
RC Cola and Moonpies

“Gimme an RC Cola and a MoonPie”

The unlikely pairing of RC Cola and MoonPies has captured the hearts of Americans for nearly a century. Originating in the 1930s, the “Working Man’s Lunch” of an RC Cola and a MoonPie could be purchased for just a dime, making it an affordable option for coal miners and laborers.

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These two iconic American staples, despite being created nearly 15 years apart and originating from different cities (Chattanooga, Tennessee and Columbus, Georgia), have formed a lasting bond. Let’s delve into the history of this enduring, yet surprising, relationship.

RC Cola and Moonpies
The Bell Buckle RC Cola MoonPie Festival 2018 – Bell Buckle, TN

MoonPie History

The history of MoonPies dates back to the early 20th century when a traveling salesman for Chattanooga Bakery asked a Kentucky coal miner what type of snack he would like to eat. The miner requested something with graham crackers and marshmallows, which the Chattanooga Bakery team was happy to fulfill. But it was the miner’s next request that cemented the product’s place in history. He asked that the snack be “as big as the moon,” a phrase that inspired the name “MoonPie.”

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Since its inception, MoonPies have been made daily at the Chattanooga Bakery and have become a beloved treat for many. The company’s creation of the MoonPie was a perfect example of listening to customer demand and responding with an innovative solution, leading to a snack with a rich history and nearly 100 years of tradition.

The History of RC Cola

The roots of RC Cola can be traced back to the Cole-Hampton-Hatcher Grocery Store in Columbus, Georgia, which was established in 1901. The Hatcher family took over the store in 1903 and renamed it the Hatcher Grocery Store. As the popularity of bottled soft drinks grew, Claud A. Hatcher, the grocery wholesaler, was in dispute with the local Coca-Cola salesman over the cost of syrup. Determined to win the battle, Hatcher decided to create his own soft drink formula and started developing products in the basement of the store with a recipe for ginger ale.

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In 1905, Hatcher launched Union Bottling Works and introduced the first product in the Royal Crown line, Royal Crown Ginger Ale. Over the years, the company underwent several name changes and was eventually renamed RC Cola in 1934. By the 1950s, RC Cola and Moon Pies had become a popular “working man’s lunch” in the American South. RC Cola was also a trailblazer in the soft drink industry, being the first company to sell soft drinks in a can and later in an aluminum can. In 1958, RC Cola made another mark by introducing the first diet cola, Diet Rite.

RC Cola and Moonpies
Video: RC Cola and a Moonpie Song by Big Bill Lister

The Fusion of RC Cola and MoonPies

RC Cola and MoonPies have been a classic American combination since the 1930s, earning them the nickname “The Working Man’s Lunch.” It is believed that their affordability and larger serving sizes made them popular with coal miners and laborers. This iconic pairing has been referenced in pop culture, including the popular song “Gimme an RC Cola and a Moon Pie” by Big Bill Lister from the 1950s. Then, in 1973, NRBQ also released a song titled “An RC Cola and a Moon Pie.”

RC Cola and Moonpies

Today, RC Cola and MoonPies continue to be popular treats enjoyed by people of all ages. Despite the rise of new and trendy drinks and snacks, these classic American staples have stood the test of time. Their affordability and larger serving sizes make them accessible to people from all walks of life, and their delicious taste is a comforting reminder of simpler times.

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  • Because of their generous portions and inexpensive price, RC Cola and Moonpies became known as “The Working Man’s Lunch”
  • On the 3rd Saturday of June, Bell Buckle, TN throws a party in honor of a traditional local pairing: MoonPies and RC Cola
  • The 1st Moonpie flavor made was chocolate. The other flavors came in the 1970s
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  • There are currently 5 flavors of moonpies. They are chocolate, vanilla, banana, strawberry, & salted caramel
  • Moonpies use pork gelatin, which does not allow them to qualify as Kosher. Vegans are also not crazy about this ingredient
  • At a Moonpie eating contest hosted by Bass Pro Shops in 2018, Matt Stonie ate a whopping 78 full-size Moonpies in 8 minutes!
RC Cola and MoonPies
  • In the 1930s, you could get an RC Cola and a Moonpie for 5 cents each
  • “RC Cola and Moonpies” is one of the most searched snack-related phrases on Google
  • – Did you know that the MoonPie was created in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1917?
  • – MoonPies were originally sold individually for a nickel and were called “coal miner’s lunch.”
  • – RC Cola was originally called Chero-Cola and was created in Columbus, Georgia in 1905.
  • – RC Cola’s famous mascot, the RC Cola Moon Man, was introduced in 1965 and has since become a beloved symbol of the brand.
RC Cola and MoonPies

“Give me a RC Cola and a MoonPie
I’m playin’ Maple on the hill
I’ll catch that freight train on the blind
Leave my corn down at the mill
’Cause I sold my calf for a dollar and half
So Brother, I can pay the bill
Give me a RC Cola and a MoonPie
I’m playin’ Maple on the hill.”

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The average MoonPie is still made with the same recipe from the 1930s and contains no preservatives.

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5 responses to “RC Cola and Moonpies – The Origin”

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  4. Mason Barbour Avatar
    Mason Barbour

    I love RC and Moon Pies, have ate them all my life. Now I have to buy RC in 2 liter bottles single bottles are hard to find in North Carolina.

  5. Shannon Post Avatar
    Shannon Post

    I grew up in Phenix City, Alabama and Columbus, Georgia in the 70s and 80s. There used to be a TV show that had a man who sat next to a cooler full of RC Colas, would interview someone then offer them an RC Cola and a Moon Pie. Anyone remember this? Remember his name or the name of the show?

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