7 Up was created by Charles Leiper Grigg, who launched his St. Louis–based company The Howdy Corporation in 1920. Grigg came up with the formula for a lemon-lime soft drink in 1929. The product, originally named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda", was launched two weeks before the Wall Street Crash of 1929. It contained lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug, until 1948. It was one of a number of patent medicine products popular in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Its name was later shortened to "7 Up Lithiated Lemon Soda" before being further shortened to just "7 Up" by 1936.
7 Up has been reformulated several times since its launch in 1929. In 2006, the version of the product sold in the U.S. was reformulated so it could be marketed as being "100% natural". This was achieved by eliminating the chelating agent calcium disodium EDTA, and replacing sodium citrate with potassium citrate to reduce the beverage's sodium content. This reformulation contains no fruit juice and, in the U.S., is sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The manufacturing process used in the production of HFCS has led some public health and advocacy groups to challenge the ad campaign's "natural" claims. In 2007, after the Center for Science in the Public Interest threatened to sue 7 Up, it was announced that 7 Up would stop being marketed as "100% natural". Instead, it is now promoted as having "100% Natural Flavors". The controversy does not extend to other countries, such as the United Kingdom, where HFCS is not generally used in foods, including 7 Up. In 2011, 7 Up began test marketing a formula, called 7 Up Retro, using sugar rather than HFCS. Container labels sport the caption "Made With Real Sugar".
7 Up Zero Sugar / Diet 7 Up: 7 Up's first diet variation was originally introduced in 1963 as Like (not to be confused with 7 Up's Like Cola from the 1980s). However, it was discontinued in 1969 due to the U.S. government ban of cyclamate sweetener. After reformulation, it was reintroduced as Diet 7 Up in 1970. It was renamed Sugar Free 7 Up in 1973 then back to Diet 7 Up in 1979. Diet 7 Up was reformulated and advertised as being sweetened with Splenda (sucralose); the formula has been retooled and listed these ingredients: filtered carbonated water, natural flavors, citric acid, potassium citrate, potassium benzoate, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, calcium disodium EDTA. The ingredients for Diet 7 Up with Splenda are: filtered carbonated water, natural flavors, citric acid, potassium citrate, potassium benzoate, calcium disodium EDTA, acesulfame potassium, sucralose. The 7 Up Company claims they switched back to aspartame because they conducted a nationwide study showing that people preferred the taste with aspartame instead of with Splenda. The beverage was rebranded as 7 Up Zero Sugar in late 2020.
In 1974 7 Up became The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon's first corporate sponsor, at a time when its sponsorship was generally limited to trade unions and civic organizations.
The 7 Up company was privately owned by its founding families until it was sold in 1978 to Philip Morris, which sold it in 1986 in two parts: the international division to PepsiCo and the US business to a group led by the investment firm Hicks & Haas. In the US, 7 Up merged with Dr Pepper in 1988; Cadbury Schweppes bought the combined company in 1995. The Dr Pepper Snapple Group was spun off from Cadbury Schweppes in 2008; it merged with Keurig Green Mountain in 2018 to form Keurig Dr Pepper.
Cherry 7 Up: A cherry-flavored variant, it was introduced in 1987. Cherry 7 Up flavor, with these ingredients listed for the United States version: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, potassium benzoate, red 40. One known ingredient among the "natural and artificial flavors" is apple juice. The version sold in the United States is colored pink and comes in a clear bottle, while the international version is colorless and currently comes in a pink bottle. It was renamed and reformulated as Cherry 7 Up Antioxidant in January 2009; however, the soda's antioxidant line was pulled from shelves in 2012 amid a controversy about the rumored detrimental health effects of consuming antioxidant drinks. The original Cherry 7 Up was reintroduced at the same time.
In 1987, 7 Up introduced Spot, the red-orange dot in the 7 Up logo anthropomorphized into a mascot. The character was used heavily in advertising and licensed items across the U.S., including the 1993 platform video game Cool Spot.
7 Up Gold: 7 Up Gold was marketed for a short time in 1988 as a spice-flavored beverage, similar to Vernor's Ginger Ale. Though 7 Up's marketing slogan at that time was "Never Had It, Never Will" (referring to caffeine), 7 Up Gold included caffeine as an ingredient. It was introduced by 7 Up in the hopes of capturing 1% of the cola market, which at the time was $26.6 billion. However, it only captured 0.1% of the market because people were confused by 7 Up marketing a dark-colored soft drink with caffeine, so it was cancelled. The 7 Up Gold recipe was actually an unused Dr Pepper invention.
In 1991, 7 Up sponsored Jordan Grand Prix's Jordan 191, the car in which Michael Schumacher drove his first Formula One race.
7 Up Ice Cola: Introduced in 1995 by Pepsi for the international market, it was a clear cola, in essence a repackaging of Crystal Pepsi. It was not as popular as hoped and was cancelled.
dnL / 7 Upside Down: Sold in the United States, dnL was introduced in September 2002, during the same year as other attempts to extend soft drink brand names with new variations, including Pepsi Blue, Dr Pepper Red Fusion, and Vanilla Coke. dnL was scheduled to be cancelled for 2006 in favor of the "7 Up Plus" brand. The product's name came from the fact that the "dnL" logo is the "7 Up" logo turned upside down. The product itself was also, in many ways, the opposite of 7 Up: while 7 Up is caffeine-free, colorless, and comes in a green bottle, dnL contained caffeine and was an unusual shade of green (vaguely similar to the green of 7 Up's bottle) in a clear bottle. And while 7 Up has a fairly standard lemon-lime flavor, the "citrus" flavor of dnL is that of lime-lemon, (primarily lime flavored with a hint of lemon).
Cherry 7 Up Zero Sugar / Diet Cherry 7 Up: Diet Cherry 7 Up was reintroduced in 2006 due to popular demand after having been pulled from shelves with the introduction of 7 Up Plus Cherry. Ingredients are: filtered carbonated water and contains 2% or less of each of the following: citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, potassium benzoate (protects flavor), aspartame, potassium citrate, acesulfame potassium, red 40. Phenylketonurics: Contains phenylalanine. Diet Cherry 7 Up was rebranded as Cherry 7 Up Zero Sugar in late 2020.
7 Up Plus: A successor to dnL, 7 Up Plus was touted as a healthy alternative, containing no caffeine and has 2 grams of carbohydrates per serving, as well as 5% apple juice, which is uncommon among American market carbonated beverages. It is sweetened with Splenda. The original flavor, Mixed Berry, was released in summer 2004. Two additional flavors have been added to the line: Cherry and Island Fruit. In Ireland in 2007, 7 Up launched a range of flavored water.
In 2007, Cadbury Schweppes entered into a licensing partnership with Vita Food Products to produce a line of barbecue sauces and marinades flavored with Dr Pepper, 7 Up, and A&W Root Beer.
7 Up Ten: Introduced in 2013, along with "Ten" variations for most of the major Dr. Pepper/Seven-Up brands, this contains 10 calories. It is a blend using high fructose corn syrup along with aspartame and acesulfame potassium to sweeten it.
7 Up Yerbabuena: Available for a limited time only in Colombia in 2013
7 Up Mojito Flavour: This flavour was launched in France in 2014 and has also been available in the UK and Ireland since early 2016. The version sold in the UK is based on 7 Up Free and contains no sugar, colour, or caffeine.
Tropical 7 Up: This is a pineapple/mango-flavored 7 Up, introduced in 2014 for a limited time, as well as a return in 2015 with newer branding.
7 UP Revive: 7 UP Revive is a variant of the 7 UP brand which is available in India (launched in 2015) and Laos and is marketed as a hydrotonic.