Happened To...
An update on past news

‘Pog’ craze started
as a juice promotion

Question: What ever happened to "pogs," the paper bottle caps collected as a fad in Hawaii?

Answer: "You can find them in the wholesale warehouse with hula hoops," Maui resident Charlie Nalepa said jokingly.

Nalepa, who was in charge of advertising and public relations for Haleakala Dairy on Maui in the early 1970s, was instrumental in developing the drink called "pog" -- passion-orange-guava.

The dairy stopped selling milk in bottles, but there was still a demand from youths for the paper bottle caps, which they used in a game.

He decided to give away the paper bottle caps with "pog" printed on them as a promotional item to introduce the new drink to the market. The caps came to be called pogs and also became collectors items.

There was a resurgence of pog collecting in the late 1980s, and various businesses handed out their own brand of pogs as promotional items.

Nalepa, who was then working as a salesman for a printing enterprise on Maui, said businesses liked the pogs because the cost was about 1 1/2 cents apiece and people readily accepted them with a "thank you."

"Kids loved them and it went way beyond kids," he said. "It just took on a life of its own and went worldwide."

He recalled seeing people talking about the pog craze on national television.

Nalepa said at its peak he'd get orders for 10,000 pogs and that a pog cap could range from 20 cents to $50 depending on its content.

"I doubt it will ever come back to that level ... but it will come back," said Nalepa, who is now an artist who sells his paintings.

Haleakala Dairy still makes "pog," the passion-orange-guava drink.

This update was written by Gary T. Kubota.

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