2009 STATE OF FRANKLIN BOTTLE CLUB DISPLAY

I was asked earlier in 2009 by the State of Franklin Bottle Club of Johnson City TN. to do a display for their bottle show in Grey, TN. Due to itís being the most mysterious, diverse, exclusive, and interesting bottling company in the Southwest Virginia area I chose Was-Cott/Sunrise Bottling Company of Tazewell, VA. If you want to know what is written on the cardboard in the first picture then check out the bottom of the page.





This is the entire display. I know it's not the greatest, but I was trying to keep it simple.



On the left we have the Sunrise bottles including a previously unknown 12oz version that I had no idea even existed until my mother pulled it out from under a tree root. The Sunrise bottle on the far right of the photograph is not from Tazewell, it is the later bottles after the brand was sold.



The center of the display was dedicated to Was-Cott Ginger Ale itself and Tazewell Orange. It also includes some paper artifacts, and pictures of the buildings associated with the company.



On the right we have the Red Rock Cola, Rhythm Punch, Squirt, and the Canada Dry bottle and crate from North Tazewell, VA.



As a last minute addition I displayed the Wyrick Spring 12oz bottle pictured on the Wyrick Spring site. Unfortunately I no longer own this bottle.



In the town of North Tazewell, VA sit's a large white building with bricked up windows. While this building is vacant now, it was once home of one of the largest carbonated beverage bottling plants in Virginia. This company would remain a North Tazewell landmark from 1910 until the early 1960's, it's most famous product, Was-Cott Ginger Ale, was distributed via rail all over the eastern half of the United States, and even to certain points beyond, including overseas. Their signature flavor line, Sun Rise Beverages, would be bought by a Minnesota company who would in turn franchise the flavor line to various Coca-Cola Bottling Companies during the late 1950's through the early 1980's. The company's name has changed at least three times during its life starting out as The Tazewell Manufacturing Company 1910-1922, The Was-Cott Corporation 1922-1931, and finally The Sun Rise Bottling Company 1931 until its demise.

What is truly unique about this bottling company is the sheer amount of Tazewell exclusive brands that the company created through out its run, which eclipses all other bottlers in the Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee area that my research covers. The first drink created was Was-Cott Ginger Ale itself which was claimed to be created in 1910, and named by rearranging the first and middle initials with the last name of its inventor William Armistead Scott more commonly know as W. A. Scott. The brand was first advertised in September of 1911. After a fire destroyed the plant and wholesale grocery company in January 1920, W. A. Scott would build the present building on the same spot and devote the enterprise to the bottling of Was-Cott. He engaged in a huge advertising campaign in 1923 which ran ads as far away as Atlanta Georgia; however, I would have to surmise that what really helped the brand out was its being picked up by the A&P grocery store chain. I have seen A&P ads from various different east coast states where Was-Cott Ginger Ale holds a prominent place in their roster of ginger ales.

The brand came in three sizes of amber paper labeled bottles, the 7 Ĺ oz for five cents, the 12oz for ten cents, and the 16oz for 25cents. After apparently bottling the various Was-Cott Ginger Ales exclusively for much of the existence of the corporation, W. A. Scott would pick up the Orange Crush line in the late 1920's; however, The Was-Cott Corporation's days were numbered as the Great Depression would arrive in October 1929. The Great Depression spelled the doom of many bottling companies around the nation, and unfortunately Was-Cott was not immune. W. A. Scott was forced to sell the company by 1931 to James G. Buston, who was a receiver for the company in June of 1930 and also bother in law to Scott. Buston would change the name of the company to The Sun Rise Bottling Company, and started to create new brands.

The first was a brand known as Chro-Mo which was touted in advertising as "the drink that everybody likes." apparently everybody didn't like it as the brand is gone by the 1940's, and unfortunately there isnít much left to give us an idea of what flavor this brand was. By the 1940's new brands have joined the homegrown ranks under J. G. Buston one of which is Tazewell Orange "A Delicious Drink" which may have very well been inspired by Orange Crush, and is obviously a Tazewell exclusive brand. The Sun Rise Beverages line, which most likely had been with the company from the start, was created as the flavor line for the company the first bottles were clear with a black and orange painted label that would later be redesigned with a rooster crowing at the sunrise. Then there is 2 TO 1 "Two to one you'll like, because it's two to one in your favor" which was another Tazewell exclusive most likely a lemon lime type drink much like 7-UP or a grapefruit type drink like Squirt.

Lucky Giant "A drink that tastes different because it's made different" was a cola that was created by the company to market as a franchise drink, I doubt it went too far as the brand isn't advertised after World War II. The last of the Tazewell exclusive brands can be quite possibly described as the most promoted brand of the company aside from Was-Cott Ginger Ale itself, and that is Rhythm Punch with the inspiring tagline "Tastes like grapes", which I suspect the flavor and even the name was modified from Mandalay Punch, which the company bottled in the late 1920's. Of course the company was still bottling Was-Cott Ginger Ale which was now in a green painted label bottle similar to a certain Canadian oriented ginger ale. They picked up other nationally franchised brands Red Rock Cola, which most likely replaced Lucky Giant, Squirt, which most likely replaced 2 TO 1, and Hires Root Beer.

Things started winding down for the company during the 1950's, Was-Cott Ginger Ale was losing the popularity battle with competitor Canada Dry, which lead to the dropping of the brand in favor of Canada Dry by 1955. In 1956, the company would sell it's Sun Rise Beverages line to Sun-Rise Incorporated of Marshall, Minnesota. This company would wind up taking the brand national through the help of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company. The company would continue to bottle Tazewell Orange and Rhythm Punch till their closing. After the death of James G. Buston the company tried to carry on, but by the early 1960's the company was gone, and North Tazewell, soon to be part of greater Tazewell in 1963, would lose one of it's most unique enterprises.





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