He didn’t invent the drink, but he kept it alive. Frank Anicetti, who helped launch The Moxie Festival in Lisbon, died Monday at 77. The town confirmed the keeper of the orange fizz flame has passed.

“Everybody knew Frank,” said Tracey Steuber, Lisbon’s economic and community development director. “He brought in thousands and thousands of people.”

The Portland Press Herald reports he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and his heart gave out.

Such a lover of Moxie was Anicetti that he created a mini museum to the beverage in his family’s store, the Kennebec Fruit Company, which soon became known as The Moxie Store.

Anicetti closed the store and sold it last year, according to media reports.

“Frank to Lisbon was an Icon,” said Steuber. “Everyone knew him. He would tell you everything about Moxie.”

The three-day festival with parades and moxie ice cream started 35 years ago when Anicetti organized a book signing for Frank Potter, who wrote “The Moxie Mystique.” As a youth he was hooked on the quirky, made-in-Maine drink.

“Even as a kid, he always liked it,” said Steuber.

The festival, now run by the town, is planned for July 7-9.

Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.