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.