Pine Brothers Cough Drops are back!

Some of the most fulfilling posts to write are the ones dedicated to micro niche topics that no one else is talking about. Through the magic of the Google, your silly little post about obsolete technology X or discontinued product Y can gather visitors over the course of several years, and if you’re lucky enough, you can grow little micro-communities inside of each post. It’s amazing. A few posts Mike Industries posts that created such flash communities are:

  • Too Much Cream of Wheat? — A ridiculous little two minute post I wrote after being surprised at how many Cream of Wheat varieties were sold. Five years and 251 comments later, people are still telling Cream of Wheat stories from their childhood and sharing recipes.
  • Wither the Halogen Torchiere — A post I wrote lamenting the death of everyone’s favorite college dorm lamp. These lamps put off incredibly warm, indirect light but were eventually taken off the market because idiots who threw clothing and other materials on top of them burned their houses down. This one has 315 comments ranging from suggestions on where to purchase replacement parts to ideas on how to make your own lamps (seems like a bad idea).
  • How to Snatch an Expiring Domain — I’m not sure if this is the most popular post I’ve ever written or if the MySpace one is, but this story of how I bought newsvine.com is up to 862 comments now. Unfortunately, I’ve had to delete hundreds more because let’s just say the “community” that cares about expiring domains is usually made of SEO monkeys and likes to use my post as a way to get link juice back to their own cesspools. I actually created a special rule in WordPress specifically for this post that doesn’t allow link juice.
  • Desperately Seeking Pine Bros — Finally, this is the one I’m most proud of. If you grew up in the 1980s, you probably remember a “softish” cough drop by the name of Pine Bros. that came in Honey and Cherry. It was more candy than medication but damn was it good. Some time in the 90s, the company shut down and without any warning, Pine Bros. disappeared from the face of the earth. I wrote a post about it and thousands of Pine Bros. fans have visited to express their support for the product.

Something great happened in the Pine Bros. thread several months ago: a woman chimed in to say that her family had bought the rights to the Pine Bros. name and was hard at work recreating the formula in order to bring them back to market. It seemed too good to be true, but I’m happy to say that as of right now, this great product is once again available! They plan on releasing four flavors for distribution nationwide, but for now, you can just get the Honey flavor at the Vermont Country Store. I ordered three tins. They were predictably gone in less than three days and now I’m ordering more.

Since I had purchased a box of 50-year old Pine Bros. cough drops on eBay a few years ago, I have tested the new drops against the old. The bad news is that they seem to taste just a tad more mild than the originals, but the good news is that it’s very, very close.

If you miss Pine Bros. cough drops as much as I did, quit reading this and get on over to Vermont Country Store already. They’ve already sold out at least once.

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41 Responses:

  1. Brade says:

    Indeed the “micro niche” topics are the secret ingredient of this blog.

    Now if you could only do a similar investigative series on Pizzarias snack chips…

  2. [...] not ashamed to say I love Mike Davidson’s writing. Check out his recent post on micro-communities. I know I’ve personally benefitted from the one on grabbing an expiring domain. It’s [...]

  3. I seem to recall that the original pinedrops were in tins but the picture in this post is of a plastic container. Am I right?

  4. Mike D. says:

    Russell: The only old Pine Bros packaging I’ve ever seen was a rectangular cardboard box. The new packaging is indeed a plastic “chew tin” though. It’s quite nice.

  5. Mary Ann says:

    Ordered them and they do not taste the same. It is close but something missing. You chew them hoping it is the same…sort of a funny taste. They make you purchase three little containers at once, with shipping, it comes to around 5 dollars a container. They are taking advantage of consumers a wee bit.

  6. Jules says:

    OMG!! Back in the early 80′s my Grandfather owned a pharmacy in Agoura, CA and after school I would go and hang out with him…to keep me occupied he would give me some Pine Brothers to chew on!! Cherry was the best!! That was when I was 13…to this day I still crave them!! Thank you for letting me know they are back!!

  7. Pam says:

    I am so excited about the Pine Bros making a come back! I ordered three tins already! I used to eat these like candy in the 80′s and was devastated when they disappeared..

  8. Joe says:

    Ordered the Pine Bros from Vermont General. They were not attentive to my address, many emails and 5 weeks later I recieved the product.

    The Honey was only close to the original the flavor and texture seem a little weak to my memory (and I was an addict!)

    To me the Weight Watchers Fruities are lock-step in flavor and texture of original Pine Bros. But some sugar substitude is extemely hard on my stomach. It OK if I just 2 or 3, (I could never do that.)

    I will keep shearching.

  9. e.m.sill says:

    I hate to say this,but,I loved Pine Bros.way back in the 60′s.Going to a catholic school,it was our only excuse to have something in your mouth during classes..Gum chewing was never allowed nor tolerated by the nuns who taught us…But I really loved those little cough drops…

  10. Tracey lynn says:

    Yay! It’s about time someone brought these back. My teeth may hate me for it, but I’m ordering a bunch. Honey was my favorite, but I can’t wait to try the other flavors as well. I had been substituting Airborne gummi lozenges, but their flavors were a little off, now those have been discontinued too. Thanks for the great news!!!

  11. mike says:

    they need to hurry up and put out the cherry ones!! I remember putting 2 in my mouth and biting down hard and having troubles opening my jaw….the good old days

  12. A.M. Whittaker says:

    I bought up all the boxes of Pine Brothers left at the old People’s drug stores at a huge discount. I had thought they were on sale because People’s was bought by CVS. Wow! Was I disappointed to find out that Pine Brothers went out of business. (Why? Was it because of the earthquake in Northridge?)
    Hey, why couldn’t they buy the recipe from someone connected with Pine Brothers?
    Anyway, I don’t like the menthol cough drops, so I will drop some money for the honey and cherry and licorice.
    Thanks for the info!
    A.M.

  13. michele yuska says:

    been looking forever for your honey cough drops…i don’t know where the store is in vermont..but where else can i buy them.i live in n.y and n.y. has everything help please imiss them now that winter is coming up……………i’ll do just about anything for your wonder honey drops i remembered when i was younger…..thanks michele yuska 59 forest row,great neck,n.y. 11024

  14. William says:

    Where can I get Pine Bros cough drops on Long Island?

  15. Vicky says:

    One comment said something was missing. Pine Bros made honey-lemon flavored drops. Maybe lemon is missing. I think they also made cherry. To me the best parts of Pine Bros was that they were long-lasting, unless you were willing to risk a filling or crown by chewing them, and they didn’t have anything in them that would limit the number you could take, like medicine or whatever is in Hall’s that makes your head feels like it is going to explode if you take too many (eucalyptus maybe?). The glycerin soothed your throat, and helped stop the cough. I with you well with this product!

  16. I found some today at CVS and did The Dance Of Happiness right there in the cold & flu aisle. And then I bought two bags of them.

  17. Erika says:

    Happiest news ever about the cough drops. I cannot wait!

  18. Kim D says:

    When my sister and I were kids in the 60′s we absolutely loved Pine Brothers cough drops. We were very sad when they stopped making them. I remember that there were three flavors – cherry, honey, and believe it or not, licorice! Before you say yuck to the licorice flavor let me say that they were very good (I love anything licorice) but my favorite flavor was honey. I was watching The Price Is Right this morning and they had them for one of the pricing games. I couldn’t believe it so I went online and sure enough there are several sites that have them. I’m kind of bummed that they don’t taste exactly as the original but I’ll give them a try. By the way, I also bought a box of Pine Brothers cough drops on eBay (honey of course.) I don’t remember how old they were but I ate them. They were so good and I kept the box.

  19. mike k says:

    hope there is plan to bring back the other flavors
    i know there was a menthol green one and also the licorice
    we want menthol!!

  20. Micelmore says:

    I just saw a commercial on TV for Pine Brothers. I also have been searching for them for years! I flew to google to check this out. OMG I can’t wait to try the cherry. When I was a child I almost could not wait to get sick so I could have my Mother buy me a box or two. When I see them in the store I to will be dancing in line! Thank you!!!

  21. SStoll says:

    I don’t know if Mike Davison is still following or even cares about this anymore… Previously, the Pine Bros cough drops were sold in rectangular cardboard boxes as Mike D mentioned. The metal boxes that you are remembering belonged to Sucrets which was far more medicinal than Pine Bros.
    Also, more than a decade ago I moved to Australia. In December of 2001 I was diagnosed with a very rare, very aggressive, incurable cancer. My prognosis was, at you would imagine, quite poor. The only hope I had was to undergo a very rigorous treatment regiment. One of the less horrible side effects of the various medications was an incredibly dry mouth. Thinking back to my childhood, I asked my parents to send me some Pine Bros cough drops. They checked at a few stores, then called their pharmacist who tried to get them from his distributor and was told that they were no longer available nor was there any information available as to why.
    Before moving overseas, I was in finance, so I thought to start a company history search as if I had stock for a company that no longer existed. I made my way through three successor companies and somehow got put in touch with the CFO of the last company to do anything with the “Pine Bros Cough Drops” product. I do not recall the reason, but they decided they were not profitable enough to produce. They sold all rights to the name and recipe (and whatever else goes along with the package) to someone that had – I suppose – FOND MEMORIES TO THE nth-DEGREE of Pine Bros cough drops.
    I’ve not tried the new ones yet as I only just became aware of their existence. I was at Physical Therapy earlier this week and they had the TV set to The Price is Right, and I saw an acknowledgement of their sponsorship . When I got home I Googled it which brought me to you folks. Horray to Google, and horray to Pine Bros cough drops. My next step is to track down the cherry ones. Funny though, I never thought I’d be one of “Those People” that has such strong feelings about a food, candy, beverage, etc.

  22. Steve H. says:

    Saw the Pine Brothers ad on TV…cant wait to find them…Back in the 50-60′s…Parke-Davis Throat Discs were all the rage at our School. They burnt like heck when you sucked on them..I got burned out on them after a while..Still have the urge for “Pine Bros”…by the way…we found SEN-Sen in an Amish Drug Store in Indiana…another great tongue burner!!!

  23. Ray says:

    good cough drops STUPID (very) COMMERCIAL.. SIMPLE IS BETTER

  24. Cliff says:

    Just received my order. The cherry flabor is pretty good. The honey is awful. Taste like chemicals, not honey. They did get the texture right thought and I would buy the cherry again.

  25. cat says:

    they’re in CVS now-rejoice

  26. Lin says:

    So very excited to hear that Pine Bros were back! But, alas, they are not the same as the “original”. Kind of feel take by the advertising. This is not the original formula. The Pine Bros of old had slippery elm and zinc in them, not just a bunch of glycerine. Does not taste the same nor have the same soothing effect on the throat.

  27. Henry says:

    No Vicky. Honey-lemon were Ludens cough drops. They were hard, just like Smith Bros. cough drops that had licorice flavor and cherry flavor.
    Trust me, I know ALL the old cough drops from the 70′s! It was a weekly Sunday thing on a drive to my grandmothers….
    Pine Bros. had two rectangle boxes. One box was tan and contained the honey only flavor and the other box was white and contained the black (licorice), red (cherry), and the green (menthol) drops. Assorted 3 flavors.

  28. julie says:

    yes, rejoice! i just bought 2 big bags of the cherry and they are close to the original, not exact but i am happy to have them back. i searched the internet high and low and asked all the stores to sell them again. finally, they are here and i’m delighted

  29. Jody L. Cahill says:

    I almost fell over when I saw a commercial advertising Pine Bros. My favorite! (Honey slightly had a lead over Cherry,51 to 49). I only saw the commercial 3x & alot of time has passed since then. I asked wherever I went but no one knew what I was talking about. Obviously they were all too young. Guess I will have to keep trying. Will try CVS again! Am slightly disappointed to hear that several people say they are not quite 100%, but still desperate to have that flavor, texture back in my mouth again either way.

  30. Gary says:

    Man have I missed those Pine Bros drops!
    I used to buy boxes upon boxes in 60`s and 70`s and then suddenly one day they just died and left.
    I would check and see others lamenting a drop of their youth and seeking them too.
    I gotta admit I have never been sold on their “healing power” and always more considered a yummy candy to be honest.
    But when I saw they were back I ran to CVS and got my all time favorite honey.
    Now there is a bit of a “STRANGE” taste to these-NOT BAD- but way different than I recall still-NICE!
    Then I got the cherry and those were more close to the old flavor I recall.
    Like all else nothing tastes like it did back then and thats probably due to flavors changing and other things BUT BOTTOM LINE IS THEY ARE BACK!
    I anxiously await another favorite LICORICE! Plus I recall a combo box of licorice and a green medicated flavor back in the day too.
    Anyway THESE WILL ALWAYS KICK Ludens ass and I am just glad to see em back.
    Seem to be a tad pricey and wish they were in those old white boxes but will take what I can get and say:
    WELCOME BACK PINE BROTHERS-YOU WERE MISSED!

  31. Elissa says:

    I just found some in my Harris Teeter. I have been wonderinf for years what happened as well to PINE BROTHERS! I loved these as a kid in the late 70′s and 80′s. I just bought the honey and agree something is missing needs to be a little stronger possibly. I will try the cherry tomm. Glad they are back!!! TY.

  32. Terry says:

    I’m so glad that Pines Bros. Drops are back…Ahhh, memories of what were my generation’s good old days. I remember them from the 60′s and 70′s as actually being considered a treat! They go back to the days of when penny candy still existed and you could buy a lot with just your nickle or dime. On a rare occasion, such as a birthday, when Mom would give us a dime; I would run to the neighborhood sweetshop to buy a box of Pine Bros. honey or cherry cough drops. I loved the taste and it’s chewiness and that they would last a long time. The biggest trick was hiding them from my 7 brothers. Ahhh…the good old days! I am glad Pine Bros. are back even if it takes many more nickles and dimes to purchase them.

  33. Deb says:

    I have ate a bag of the new cherry Pine Bros., and while the texture is perfect, the taste leaves much to be desired. Not enough cherry flavoring, does not taste like the original, just kind of sugary. I am still ordering Weight Watcher cherry fruities for $3 a small box on ebay because they are closer to the original pb cherry.

  34. Alison says:

    I just had these for the first time (I found them at Harris Teeter in NC). I don’t know what everyone is raving about. I do like the texture, but the flavor is BARELY there at all! They’re not really even SWEET! Just kind of tastes like a barely cherry flavored piece of plastic. The WW fruities are MUCH better! They have a lot more fruit flavor than Pine Bros. and aren’t as expensive! At $3.69 a bag, I expected a lot more from Pine Bros, flavor-wise.

  35. Andy Bissinger says:

    can you tell me when and if Pine Brothers will be offering Licorice flavored drops, they are advertised on package,but have been unable to locate them. Thank you. I do love the drops , they were recommended by my Doctor. mAndy B

  36. Anne Marie Whittaker says:

    I’ve purchased a number of bags or Pine Brothers from CVS. They are rather expensive – nearly $4.00.
    CVS displays them hanging in the midst of the cough medicine aisle.

    The consistency is what I remembered, but the taste is blander, less honey. The cherry is so-so. I haven’t seen the licorice.

    However, I have asthma and allergies and cannot take anything with menthol, so these are quite welcomed.

    Now let’s work on getting back the original recipe Hydrox and Golden Fruit cookies!

  37. Gary says:

    I live in Rockland County NY where CVS carries them but have yet to see the long awaited licorice drops arrive? Have these even been produced because its been awhile since they stocked the cherry and honey ones and thought we would have seen licorice well before now? I agree with others back in the day the green menthols were pretty good too and I believe there was a combo box of licorice/green menthols? But still waiting for licorice. The same mixed results apply as cherry was better of the 2 that are out but both fall far from that wonderful real taste they once had. But hasnt everything changed as we have ourselves too? Perhaps including our own taste of flavors?

  38. deb says:

    Lying in bed on this cold November morning, I woke with a mildly dry sore throat. I thought of the good old days (70′s) when my Dad would have a box of Pine Bros softish throat drops in his top dresser drawer for such occasions. I remember pulling Dad aside to ask for a PB honey or cherry soother. I couldnt ask out loud because I had a younger sis (7yrs) & bro (4yrs) who would immediately pretend that they also had a dry scratchy throat. The drops were mostly a comfort item & if I was good, my Dad would often slip me one during church.
    So this morn I picked up my smartphone while lying in bed, wishing for PB drops & I searched online. Your blog was the 1st link I clicked & excitedly (after a 30 year wait) I will drive to CVS on my way to church this morning to purchase both Honey & Cherry Pine Bros drops. (maybe I will even slip my kids a PB during church)
    Thank you so much, this discovery has made my day!
    P.S. I will be calling Dad with the news.

  39. Chuckl says:

    Wasn’t the original Pine Brothers factory located in Reading, Pennsylvania? I remember working a job in Reading in the early 1960′s near a railroad yard and there was an ancient factory nearby with an old, painted sign on the side of the building that read, “Pine Brothers Cough Drops.” I recall thinking,”I loved those as soon kid and this place looks like something from the 1800′s.”

  40. Kat says:

    I’d never have guessed that the first on-line chat community I’d join would be one about Pine Bros. cough drops! Ineed I hadn’t thought of them for some 60 years. But I’m recovering from the flu, and have had a dry, scratchy throat that frequently brings on a cough that can become quite uncontrollable. In the drug store yesterday, stocking up on Fisherman’s Friend cough drops which momentarily ease the throat and stop the cough, I remembered Pine Bros. cough drops. Neither clerk had heard of them. Then I thought of Maynard’s wine gums, a candy, and bought those, as well as Fisherman’s Friend and Buckley’s syrup. The wine gums work better than either.

    My Pine Bros. memories date from the mid-1950s when I was working as a TV interviewer. I had a throat and cough like the one I have now, and it had to be brought under control. I discovered that Pine Bros. were the only thing that worked. They even worked for laryngitis. Esp. the honey as I remember. I think Henry is right about the flavours available back then. They tasted good but didn’t tempt me as candy. I’ve remembered them for six decades because of their effectiveness. I’m in Canada and hoping Safeway here carries them. The wine gums work, but not as well as remember the Pine Bros. drops working.

    Thanks to Mike and all the others involved in their return!

  41. Elissa says:

    Yes we have them in Va know at the CVS! I tried the honey flavor. The taste is a little off but still great! I will try the cherry next! If you can’t purchase them in Canada let me know. good luck finding them so glad they are back!

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