Pine Bros.

It’s a safe bet that many a former Long Island 70s kid will remember Pine Bros. cough drops. They were deliciously different than your typically medicinal flavored variety, and a lot softer too. And as the 70s came to an end, so did these beloved treats. Thankfully, however, this is a story with a happy ending.

The Pine Brothers hailed from Philadelphia, two confectionery makers who wanted to develop a suitable sore throat remedy. In the 1870s, they combined glycerine with acacia gum to create a chewy version of a cough drop they marketed as a “softish throat drop.” Sales soared, especially in the cold and flu ridden east coast. The product was purchased by the Life Savers Corporation in 1930.

Pine Bros. were at the peak of popularity during the 70s and were available in three flavors – black licorice, cherry, and (the most memorable of the three) honey. Since they didn’t contain anything medicinal, many kids ate them just because they tasted good. And then, as the 70s came to a close, so did the era of the soft cough drop. The company was sold numerous times and cost-cutting measures resulted in a lower product quality. Marketing efforts essentially ceased, and with nary a peep, Pine Bros. just quietly disappeared.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, however, and over the years many former fans expressed their desire to see the product return. Finally, in 2011, a company bought the rights, reproduced the original formula, and reintroduced the brand into a number of retail chains. Slowly but surely, they are making a comeback as a whole new generation is introduced to the soothing flavor of Pine Bros. For the time being, all is right in the world once again.

Were Pine Bros. your preferred choice when the cold and flu season hit Long Island each year? What was your favorite flavor? I look forward to hearing all of your recollections in our comments section below.

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4 Responses

  1. Bobbysgirl says:

    Kiddo of the 70’s here!…I was one of those kids munchin’ on the Pine Bros…the soft, comforting flavor….Suffering from a wicked case of bronchitis back in January, I yearned for the soooothing honey Pine Bros, so it was only natural that I hit the web and see whatever happened to those great ole’ cough drops..I was THRILLED to find them on a drugstore website…I ordered up a few big bags and a couple of the small purse size containers and in almost no time my throat was being calmed by the sweet soft honey and my mind got the bonus of a trip down memory lane!…I have since reordered online, as I have yet to find them in my local shops…
    Having shared this, I now find myself wondering what ever happened to Aspergum…Guess I’m back out to the web to find out!…

    • 70sKid says:

      Hi Bobbysgirl!

      Glad you like the site! We’re just getting started around here, so I hope you’ll continue to check back – we update multiple times a week. You can also follow us on Facebook if you like.

      Thanks for those wonderful memories of Pine Bros. I was thrilled when I found out they had returned, although I’ve yet to try them. Glad to hear they still taste the same; they were fantastic back in the day.

      Speaking of taste, one doesn’t soon forget the taste of Aspergum – perhaps best described as a rancid orange Chicklet. I’m pretty sure it was gone before the 80s arrived. We’ll be exploring those medicine cabinets of the 70s in a little more detail once cold and flu season arrives. 🙂

      Thanks again for the comment!

  2. Evan Stone says:

    I overdosed on Pine Bros.

  3. Craig Schneider says:

    I’m from Copiague NY originally , do you know the name of these Brown Square Cough drops , Squares in the middle and came in a blue box with a brown and a white square turned sideways . 60’s early 70’s , Thanks

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