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150px-Maxwell House French Roast

A can of Maxwell House French Roast Decaffeinated, circa 1992.

Maxwell House is a brand of coffee manufactured by a like-named division of Kraft Foods, parent company of General Foods Corporation. Introduced in 1892, it is named in honor of the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. For many years until the late 1980s it was the largest-selling coffee in the U.S. and is currently (ca. 2007) second behind Folger's, which is now manufactured by The J.M. Smucker Co. The company recently unveiled a new slogan, "Good Just Got Great," visible on their website. However, it is best known for its longtime slogan, "Good to the last drop," and is still running ads featuring the line.

Whence the slogan?

Maxwell House Coffee began as a Cheek-Neal product before Cheek-Neal became part of General Foods, and in 1917, Cheek-Neal began using the slogan "Good to the Last Drop" to advertise its coffee. For several years, the ads did not credit Theodore Roosevelt for originating the phrase. But by the 1930s, the company had begun to running ads that claimed that the former President had taken a sip of Maxwell House Coffee when he had visited Andrew Jackson's estate, The Hermitage, near Nashville on October 21, 1907, and that, when he was served that coffee, he had proclaimed it to be "Good to the Last Drop." During this time, Coca-Cola was also using that slogan.

In modern times, Maxwell House has distanced itself from its own original claim stating that Clifford Spiller, former General Foods Corporation president, had actually written the slogan, and that it had not come from any of Roosevelt's remarks that Cheek-Neal might have overheard. The phrase remains a registered trademark for the coffee, and even appears on its logo. While the truth of Roosevelt's relation to the phrase has never been historically established beyond doubt in the local papers that covered Roosevelt's October 21 visit and one of his coffee drinking episodes, the Maxwell House Company itself claimed, for many years, in its own advertising that the Roosevelt story was true. In 2009, Maxwell House ran a commercial in which Joe Wiegand, a Roosevelt repriser, was shown actually telling the "Last Drop" story. The Theodore Roosevelt Association, an organization dedicated to preserving Roosevelt's history and heritage, has cited evidence on paper that also backs up the story.

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