PEPSI-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY

The first mention of the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company in Princeton is in a February 16, 1938 blurb in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph in which it is noted that the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company had joined the Chamber of Commerce. They also show up in the city directories as being located at the corner of Straley Avenue and Third Street which was the building that formerly housed the Chero-Cola / Princeton Bottling Company earlier in that decade. H. P. Hunnicutt is listed as manager in the 1938 city directory; however, from my understanding he is actually the owner of the company. By 1944 the company has moved to the corner of Walnut and Mercer Streets, and is finally incorporated on February 14, 1946 with H. P. Hunnicutt, Anne S. Hunnicutt, and ďothersĒ are listed as incorporators.

By 1948 they appear to have moved to a new facility on South Walker Street at the city limits, the former building was taken over by the Woods Motor Company after a renovation in June 1948. It appears that aside from Pepsi-Cola the company is also bottling Orange Crush and Grapette during this period. They are located at this location in 1950 according to the Bluefield City Directory. On December 29, 1953 the name of the company is changed to the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Princeton, Inc, and H. P. Hunnicutt and James H. Sarver are listed as incorporators. In June 1953 Hunnicutt acquires the franchise to bottle the soda brand B-1, which was a lemon lime style drink similar to 7-UP, and is bottling it in both the seven ounce and twenty eight ounce sizes.

The Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Princeton, like many Pepsi bottlers during this period, decides itís time to build a new modern bottling plant, and this plant would be erected on Rogers Street. Even though I donít have an exact date for their moving to this location, the incorporation date of a previously unknown subsidiary corporation known as the Summit Canning Corporation may give an idea of when they did. That date is July 25, 1968 which of course fits in perfectly with this rash of new Pepsi bottling plant building that was going on during this period. So now the company was not only capable of bottling soft drinks, but were also able to produce them in cans as well, which was a package still in its infancy for the most part. The three incorporators for this subsidiary are H. P. Hunnicutt, James H. Sarver, and Harry T. McCoy all of Princeton, WV.

In August 1973 the company would acquire the franchise for producing the Canada Dry brand which had belonged to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Bluefield, WV. They would eventually acquire the Dr. Pepper franchise from Coca-Cola of Bluefield, and even canned Cheerwine at some point as well. On November 29, 1983 the company would change its name to the RKO Bottlers of Princeton, Inc. Several bottlers in our area were purchased by RKO during this same period. In fact many independent bottlers were purchased by larger bottlers in the 1980ís. As of 1985 RKO Bottlers of Princeton was still bottling Pepsi-Cola, Canada Dry, Dr Pepper, and had picked up Sunkist. In 2004 with the building of the Pepsi-Cola Bottling plant in Wytheville, VA, both the Pepsi plant in Princeton WV, and Marion, VA, another purchased by RKO in the 1980ís, ceased beverage producing operations. The Princeton plant appears to still be distributing soda; however, the Marion plant was closed forever.





1939 ad from the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Princeton.



12oz Hunnicutt's bottle dated 1940. Bearing a remarkable resemblance to the paper label Pepsi Hartman's bottles from Knoxville, it becomes apparent that these too were the individual Pepsi paper label bottles that were prevalent before standardization of the bottles in the later 1940's.









12oz Pepsi-Cola Fountain Syrup bottle dated 1943



Many bottling plants gave away promotion items like this combination spoon and opener from the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company, Inc. Princeton, W. VA.









12oz Pepsi-Cola bottle dated 1947



February 4, 1962 ad for Pepsi-Cola and Teem, Princeton would also pick up the Mountain Dew brand around 1965.









10oz acl Bluestone Beverages bottle dated 1948



Bluestone Grape bottle cap









10oz embossed Bluestone Beverages bottle dated 1949









12oz Pepsi-Cola bottle dated 1955









12oz Pepsi-Cola bottle dated 1959



June 17, 1973 ad for the introduction of Canada Dry that lists all of the counties in the bottlerís franchise area.









While Jefferson Club is actually the local flavor line for the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Charlottesville, VA, this can was produced for and filled by the Summit Canning Corporation of Princeton, WV.









12oz Patio Root Beer can produced by the Summit Canning Corporation of Princeton, WV. Patio was Pepsi-Cola's flavor line in the early 1960's.









Pepsi-Cola "Have a Pepsi Day" can produced by the Summit Canning Corp of Princeton, W. VA.









This is a Cheerwine can produced by the Summit Canning Corp of Princeton, W. VA. While it is post Zip Code it is Pre-UPC code so Iím guessing this would be sometime in the mid-1970ís.









This is a Grapette can produced by the Summit Canning Corp of Princeton, W. VA









Pepsi-Cola Bicentennial can produced by the Summit Canning Corp of Princeton, W. VA.



A 1985 ad after RKO Bottlers has taken over the company.



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Biblography:

(1) Polk's Bluefield City Directory 1925-1986

(2) Bluefield Daily Telegraph