DR. PEPPER BOTTLING COMPANY

The Dr. Pepper Bottling Company began production on the morning of March 23, 1936 at 109-111 North Boone Street with Mr. & Mrs. Rudy B. Williams as owners, John C. Campbell as Sales Manager, Mrs. John C. Campbell as Office and plant supervisor, and Mr. L. M. McMinn as Plant Foreman.(4) The company also employed Mr. Ross Spears and Mr. Vance Wright who were "responsible for sales and services", and Mr. Bill Wright who "Will Assist" I'm assuming the plant foreman.(4) The firm was in reality a branch plant of the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Greenville, Texas.(3) By July 7, 1936 the Johnson City Chronicle reported that the acceptance and growth of the brand was beyond their expectations and that the company covered six counties namely Washington (TN), Carter, Johnson, Green, Unicoi, Sullivan, and part of Hawkins County.(5)

Aside from Dr. Pepper the company was also bottling the Craig's Better Beverages flavor line which was named after John Craig Campbell as Iíve been told by Dr Pepper collector David T. Bryant of Houston Texas. This line was bottled in beautiful tall deco bottle with droplets embossed over an orange peel texture. The thing is this bottle doesn't actually have a town name on it; however, the finding of its sister brand Craig's Root Beer, which was bottled in an ACL (applied color label) bottle from 1937 we find the same logo on the back label of that bottle. Knowing that the 1937 Root Beer is embossed on the bottom as being from Johnson City, and the same logo being on that bottle as the drip deco, we can conclude that the deco is from Johnson City. The Craig's Root Beer logo was filed for a trademark on January 20, 1938 by the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Greenville, Texas with a claim of use since March 20, 1937. In 1938 the company has picked up the franchise for the Five Points Beverages line which is owned by the National Nugrape Company of Atlanta, GA. They bottle Five Points through 1939, but quickly decide to trade Five Points for a newer Nugrape brand by the name of Sun Crest in 1940. That same year they are bottling Virginia Dare's Korker lithiated lemon soda which was based in Brooklyn, New York.

By 1941 there has been a change in managers as Roswell H. Spears Jr. takes over the reins of the company.(1) 1941 also found a new drink added to the line in the form of Tru-Ade, a non-carbonated soda. Then there are the De Licious bottles from Greenville, Texas. In the early 1970's the Kingsport News used to have column called the "Action Line" where people would ask questions of the author and he would find the answers for them. On January 28, 1971 he included in his column a question about the De Licious bottle from Greenville, Texas. His answer was thus, "In 1942 and 1943 the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company in Greenville, Texas, bottled flavored drinks - orange, strawberry, etc. - along with the Dr. Pepper drink. The owner used the name "De Licious". A glass company in Sapulpa, Okla., made the bottles shipped them to Greenville, Texas, and Johnson City, Tenn. (the bottling company in Greenville owned the Johnson City plant) and they were distributed from those two plants. Actually, Greenville bottled the "De Licious" drink before 1942, but Johnson City only had it for two years."(4) Given that most of the De Licious bottles Iíve found are dated 1945 or 1947 it is possible that the authorís source was mistaken about the years they were bottling the De Licious brand.

In 1949 R. B. Williams buys the building across the street at 108 North Boone then moves the company into it.(2) They are bottling Nugrape itself by 1951, and continuing to bottle their flavor line Sun Crest along with Tru-Ade. Things soon change when the company is sold to a Walton E. Sherman of Dallas, Texas on June 12, 1952.(3) Sherman appears to have either sold the plant to, or is having George and Robert Sampson operating the company for him by July 1954.(2) The Sampson brothers also owned the Boone Distributing Company, who handled Falstaff beer.(2) George Sampson moved to Knoxville in 1957 to attend to other interests leaving Robert to handle the operation of both Dr. Pepper and Boone Distributing.(2) Another article, from a later date, says that the company was sold outright to Bert Sampson in 1959, who sold it to George and Robert in 1962.(2) No matter what it's the Sampson brothers who sell the Dr Pepper Bottling Company, and the Dr. Pepper franchise, to the Royal Crown Bottling Company of Johnson City in December 1968. The Royal Crown Bottling Company builds a new plant on Mountain View Road in 1969 with the capacity to produce their sodas in cans.(3) In July of 1972 Rice Bottling Company has bought the franchise for Dr. Pepper.(2)





This building sits just across the street from the lot below and is the first location for the Dr Pepper Bottling Company of Johnson City.



You are looking at the lot where Dr. Pepper of Johnson City was located after 1949, I know that the building isn't original as that building was torn down in 1970.(2)




Grand opening announcement for the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company from March 22, 1936. Just click on the ad to enlarge.







From the collection of Frank Anderson, photo by Joseph Lee
12oz Craig's Root Beer bottle dated 1937. There is a 1938 version of this bottle with a different acl on the back of the bottle that reads "Tops in Taste".




From the collection of Frank Anderson, photo by Joseph Lee
The bottom of the Craig's Root Beer bottle




A Craig's Root Beer cap







The Craigís Better Beverages drip deco bottle




April 25, 1937 Craig's Root Beer ad







12oz 5 Points Beverages bottle dated 1938




A Five Points Lemon Soda cap







12oz 5 Points Beverages bottle dated 1939




A Five Points Grape Soda cap







From the collection of Geff Moore, photo by Joseph Lee
6 1/2oz Dr Pepper bottle dated 1939







From the collection of Geff Moore, photo by Joseph Lee
7oz Virginia Dare Korker bottle dated 1940







From the collection of Geff Moore, photo by Joseph Lee
12oz Sun Crest bottle dated 1940




A Sun Crest Grape Soda cap







Tru-ade bottle dated 1941



Tru-Ade ad from May 2, 1941







A De Licious bottle embossed Greenville, Tex.







10 oz Suncrest smooth neck variation bottle







6 1/2oz Dr Pepper bottle dated 1947




The bottom of the Dr Pepper bottle







10 oz Suncrest rough neck variation bottle dated 1949







6 oz Nu-Grape bottle dated 1951







6oz Dr Pepper bottle dated 1952







10 oz Suncrest acl neck variation bottle dated 1954



A receipt from the Dr Pepper Bottling Company listing both Tru-Ade, and Suncrest.







6 1/2oz Tru-ade bottle dated 1958



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Bibliography:

(1) Baldwin's Johnson City, Tenn. City Directory

(2) Johnson City Press

(3) Washington County Circuit Court Records

(4) Kingsport News

(5) Johnson City Chronicle