PEPSI-COLA / RICES BOTTLING COMPANY

On September 4, 1937 Samuel B. and Adelia G. Tarver, owners of the Quality Orange Kist Company, purchased a plot of land at the corner of West Market Street and Knox Creek Road in order to build a new bottling plant.(3) Pepsi-Cola a brand they had started bottling around 1936 was doing so well that their existing plant on Boone Street wasnít big enough to handle their growing business. They moved into their new plant at 840 West Market Street in February 1938 changing their name to the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company.(2) They continue to bottle Pepsi-Cola along with Hires Root Beer, and their own Traver's Beverages flavor line.

The Tarvers sell the bottling company to Frank A. Dial on August 31, 1945. The Pepsi-Cola Bottling Corporation is incorporated on January 2, 1947 (3) with Frank A. Dial as President, Mary O. Dial as Vice President, and Paul W. McAlister as Secretary-Treasurer.(1) They pick up the franchise for B-1, a lithiated lemon soda from St. Louis Missouri, in 1947. August 26, 1948 the company purchases land on which to build an expansion to the plant.(3) Frank A. Dial sells the bottling company to Lawrence L. Rice, a bottler from Roanoke, VA who has been operating a Grapette franchise in downtown Johnson City since 1941, on December 30, 1949.(3) Rice obviously combined his original bottling plant with the Pepsi-Cola Bottling plant and would be bottling Pepsi-Cola along with Grapette, and possibly Grapette's flavor line Botl-O. On May 18, 1955 the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company was incorporated as Rice Bottling Company.(3)

In September 1964 the Pepsi-Cola parent company purchased a small franchising company out of Marion, VA called the Tip Corporation to acquire its runaway hit soda Mountain Dew after the production requirements of bottler base out stripped the ability for the small companyís ability to keep up. The brand was an overnight success growing from seventeen bottlers in 1964 to over three hundred and ninety in 1965. Unfortunately Rice Bottling Company was not one of them due to Tri-City Beverage already owning the franchise for the brand in their area. This changed in February 1966 when Tri-City sold the franchise for Mountain Dew to Rice Bottling Company who immediately put it into production on March first of the same year.(2)

In anticipation of the accusation the company was starting on another expansion in order to handle Mountain Dew along with Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Teem.(2) It would appear that expansion wouldn't be enough to handle the current and future needs of the company so on December 7, 1966 they purchase land on East Lakeview Drive for a new plant.(3) This might have been prompted by knowledge that they would be purchasing the Seven-Up Bottling Company of Johnson City in April 1967, thus acquiring the Seven-Up franchise for the area.(2)

The new plant on East Lakeview Drives celebrates its grand opening on Saturday April 26, 1969 with Joan Crawford, who at the time was Chairman of the Board at Pepsi-Cola, in attendance.(2) The Dr Pepper Company of Johnson City was sold to the Royal Crown Cola Bottling Company in December 1968.(2) Royal Crown builds a new plant which can not only produce soda in bottles but cans as well; however, something must have not gone well as Rice Bottling Company is able to acquire the Dr Pepper franchise from the parent company on in July 1972, but doesnít announce they are bottling it until October of the same year.(2) The company still exists today as a branch plant of PepsiCo; however, I'm not completely sure if it is still bottling.






Early photo of the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company with delivery trucks




Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company as it stood in 1964



840 West Market Street now home to a CVS drug store.




The Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company opened its present plant on April 26, 1969.







From the collection of Geff Moore, photo by Joseph Lee
Clear and green 12oz Pepsi-Cola bottles dated 1939




Pepsi-Cola ad from October 25, 1939







12oz Tarver's Beverages bottle dated 1940







12oz Tarver's Beverages bottle dated 1941







From the collection of Geff Moore, photo by Joseph Lee
12oz Tarver's Beverages bottle dated 1943



Tarver Orange Soda cap







From the collection of Geff Moore, photo by Joseph Lee
Two 12oz Tarver's bottles one dated 1944 and the other undated. These were most likely used for Pepsi-Cola paper labels as they already have acls for the actual Tarver's Beverages line.





From the collection of Geff Moore, photo by Joseph Lee
12oz paper labeled Pepsi-Cola bottle dated 1945




The end of the Second World War didnít end the problems for bottlers, some decided the way to combat this was to raise their prices. The Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company did just that in November 1946. Unfortunately this wasnít a wise move as the other bottlers in the city made the smarter move to not pass the extra cost on to their customers. The ramifications of this action may explain why the company was sold to Rice by 1950.







12oz "2 full glasses" Pepsi-Cola bottle dated 1948




Pepsi-Cola ad from August 14, 1947







12oz "2 full glasses" Pepsi-Cola bottle dated 1950







From the collection of Geff Moore, photo by Joseph Lee
10oz double dot Pepsi-Cola bottle dated 1951



A Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company ad from April 23, 1949







10oz Pepsi-Cola bottle dated 1953




Teem ad from Johnson City







7oz Grapette bottle dated 1953




Mountain Dew introduction ad from March 24, 1966







8oz "King Size" Grapette bottle date unknown




Dr Pepper introduction ad from October 20, 1972







10oz Pepsi-Cola bottle dated 1957







8oz Pepsi-Cola bottle dated 1958




From the collection of Frank Anderson, photo by Joseph Lee
While not a bottle this item certainly is an interesting go with. Itís a Zippo type lighter with a Pepsi-Cola Cap and Johnson City Tenn. painted on it. It might have been something that was given to the workers at some point.




Advertisement for the bottle that commemroated the opeing of ETSU's new Convocation Athletic Complex from August 22, 1975







16oz commemorative Pepsi-Cola bottle corresponding to the ad above



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Bibliography:

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

(2) Johnson City Chronicle

(3) Washington County Circuit Court Records