Non Fiction Book Reviews #212



by Mike Cheatham

In 1899, Chattanooga lawyers Benjamin F. Thomas and Joseph B. Whitehead arrived in Atlanta, Georgia with an offer for Asa G. Chandler, president of Coca-Cola. They wanted the bottling rights to Coca-Cola which they got although Chandler thought their scheme was harebrained. What the two got was permission to blanket the country with bottling plants. To discharge their duty, they subcontracted the rights to bottle Coca-Cola to private investors throughout the country. For qualified individuals willing to invest their own capital to bottle and sell Coca-Cola, they got the grant of an exclusive territory coupled with the license to make use of the trademark. At the time Coca-Cola was a modest success and the qualified bottlers had to invest resources and effort. In April 1900, Joseph Whitehead moved to Atlanta and opened the Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company. During the following decade, 379 plants had been put into operation. By the time of the First World War ended, the entire continental United States was being served by Coca-Cola Bottlers. In 1903, Whitehead sold his Atlanta plant to Arthur Montgomery. The Atlanta Coca-Cola bottling Plant at one time stretched about forty of Georgia's 159 counties and served about thirty percent to forty percent of the state's population. The Montgomerys set up sub plants along the railroad lines. The family has also been involved in the affairs of Atlanta. In 1901 in Rome, Georgia, F. S Barron started in the soft drink business. Before becoming a bottler of Coca-Cola F. S. Barron had "gone broke" twice in the grocery business. But he was recognized as good bottler material, and for $250 got the bottling rights. In 1901, there were only nine bottlers around, and two were in Georgia. After World War 1 the "Barron territory" expanded from Rome , to Cartersville and then Carrolton, Cedartown, Dalton, Fort Valley, and Valdosta. In 1986 the franchise was sold to the Coca-Cola company. At the age of thirty, successful businessman Columbus Roberts signed a franchise contract in 1901; his firm became the third to be awarded a bottling contract in Georgia. The business was a runaway success and by 1920 it had become America's favorite beverage, with universal distribution and memorable advertising. Coca-Cola had achieved another level of success. In 1929 Roberts got involved in Georgia politics and aiding Mercer University. In 1906, in Athens, Georgia, Walter Sams opened his first Coca-Cola plant. By 1928, after five expansions an entire block was absorbed. Using the profits he got involved in other successful enterprises. In 1908, George S. Cobb bought the bottling territory of west Georgia comprising LeGrange and West Point, as well as the Valley area across the Chattahoochee River into Alabama. In 1910 - 1912, Cobb secured a patent on the first coin-operated dispensing machine, the "Vend-All nickel in Slot Vending Machine." This twelve-bottle model spawned an entire generation of increasingly sophisticated coolers that became known in the industry as the cold bottle market. About the same time, Cobb purchased a Reo Truck for deliveries. His revolutionary new distribution method would eventually be seen as a breakthrough. Bottling machinery improved too. The pioneer bottler also innovated in advertising and promoting Coca-Cola. As the business matured, other bottlers began to look to the Cobbs for more innovation and industry leadership. In 1952 George Cobb, Sr. died. The business was sold to Coca-Cola United in 1977. Advertising has been very important to the success of Coca-Cola. Outdoor advertising-- painted walls-- were very popular. Coke was also advertised in daily newspaper and national magazines. But by the thirties, radio, and especially network radio, was becoming a prime venue for popularizing Coke. By the sixties television became the important way to promote the drink. Beginning with the first bottling franchise in Chattanooga in 1899 and a second in Atlanta in 1900, there were 1,000 plants authorized to conduct business by 1919. The working relationship between the Coca-Cola bottler network and the Coca-Cola Company is a unique one. In recent years, however, the Coca-Cola Company's acquisition of the vast majority of franchises has changed the relationship between Coke and the vast majority of franchises has changed the relationship between Coke and the towns in Georgia. A fascinating look at how Coca-Cola came to be.

TWELVE FULL OUNCES (2nd edition)

by Milward W. Martin

The creator of Pepsi-Cola was a young pharmacist named Caleb D. Bradham, owner and operator of his own drugstore in New Bern, North Carolina. Bradham had been born in a well-to-do family in Chinquapin, North Carolina and his ambition was to be a doctor. After three years at the University of North Carolina, he entered medical school at the University of Maryland. In 1891, after two years of medical education, Caleb had to leave college. In 1893, when a local drugstore in New Bern came on the market, he bought the drugstore wholly on credit. With two years of medical education he became a pharmacist. In his pharmacy Caleb concocted soft drinks for his customers. He also experimented with new flavor combinations when in the 1890s he came up with a new beverage of his own creation and began offering it at his fountain. On August 28, 1898, Bradham gave his beverage the name "Pepsi-Cola." By 1902 he was devoting his own time exclusively to developing Pepsi-Cola into a full-fledged business. The Pepsi-Cola trademark was registered with the United States Patent Offices on June 16, 1903. In 1881, a new carbonated beverage with the "Imperial Inca Cola" came onto the American market, the first of the coca beverages. Some others in the industry began to bring out coca beverages of their own, each with the work "coca" in its trademark. In 1887 the Coca-Cola trademark was registered. As had happened with "coca," others used the word "cola" to name their drinks. It was in 1892 that modern bottling machinery had been invented, which would have a dramatic effect on the soft-drink industry in the future. Bradham worked in the back room of his drugstore where he mixed and packaged his syrup and then went out to seek orders and build sales volume. Sales were exclusively to soda fountains, yet in the first three months he sold 2,008 gallons. In 1904 he bought his own building and got into bottling. Having begun bottling in New Bern in 1904, his franchising of other territories followed quickly. In 1907, syrup sales passed the 100,000-gallon mark. By 1909, Bradham hired an advertising agency to advertise Pepsi-Cola. By the end of 1909, his bottlers not only numbered 250, they were also bottling in at least twenty-four states. As late as 1915, under Bradham's leadership, Pepsi-Cola had become a nationally important entity in the soft-drink field. In that same year Bradham was forty-eight, wealthy, successful and widely popular. In 1920 the price of sugar climbed to 22.5 cents and in a matter of months dropped below 2 cents. The company lost $150,000 and was hit hard. On March 2, 1923 the company declared bankruptcy. At fifty-six Bradham lost everything and, in 1934, he died at sixty-seven. For the next eight years, from 1923 to 1931, Pepsi-Cola barely held on. stumbling through not one but two reorganizations, and finally to a second bankruptcy. Roy C. Megargel, senior partner in R. C. Megargel & Company, a Wall Street firm, had a vision of a Pepsi-Cola operation national in scope. The Pepsi-Cola Corporation moved to Richmond, Virginia. For five years, from 1923 to 1928, Megargel lost money every year, and in every year made up the corporation's deficits out of his personal funds. By the end of 1930, Mergargel was unable to continue to support the company. On June 8, 1931, for the second time, Pepsi-Cola went bankrupt. In 1931, Charles G. Guth, the president of Loft, Incorporated, a candy company located in Long Island City, bought the Pepsi-Cola trademark and started a new Pepsi-Cola Company. Guth then had the flavor of the drink changed to make it more to his liking. His next move was to throw Coca-Cola out of every Loft, Happiness, and Mirror soda fountain. For the first three years, Guth's Pepsi-Cola Company steadily lost money. In 1932 he began selling 12-ounce bottles of Pepsi for ten cents per bottle at the Loft stores. When he lowered the price to five cents sales skyrocketed. Within six months Pepsi-Cola was a great success. By April 1934, sales of the 12-ounce Pepsi bottle had passed the level of one thousand cases per day. From 1934 to 1938 net profits climbed. Guth then turned to franchising and with of the 12-ounce bottle for a nickel the franchises went fast. In 1934 Guth had to fight to keep control of his company. By 1939 Guth had withdrawn from Pepsi-Cola with considerable profits. In 1936, Walter S. Mack, Jr., a graduate of Harvard College, joined the company and in 1939 became the President and Chief Executive Officer. By 1940 bottling was booming and there were 341 franchised bottlers. Mack hired a large advertising firm with which he worked closely with. Within a few months a new Pepsi-Cola jingle became a wide spread success. Mack also redesigned the bottle which for years remained the company's standard bottle. In 1934 Pepsi-Cola entered Canada and by 1938 was in Latin America. World War II bought about rationing and Pepsi-Cola survived. Walter Mack had his eye on the world market and once World War II had ended Pepsi-Cola was in the Middle East, in Africa, the Philippines, and the Far East. By 1954, there was 118 bottling plants operating under Pepsi franchises in fifty-two foreign countries. From 1946 to 1950 Pepsi was struggling to survive. Alfred N. Steele joined Pepsi-Cola in 1949 as First Vice-President and by 1950 had become Chief Executive Officer. Steele worked to update the advertising. He brought out the "swirl bottle," brought out bottle-vending machines wide-spread and spent money on advertising and improving bottling bottling plants. Sales and earnings began to climb. In late 1959 Alfred Steele died of a heart attack. In the 1960s Pepsi brought out a new line of flavors under the trademark "Patio" and added new products: Teem, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Tropic Surf.. These and Pepsi itself could be found in bottles and cans. In 1963 Donald M. Kendall became the president and CEO. Under his leadership, the company merged with Frito-Lay Company and the corporate name became PepsiCo Inc. Pepsi-Cola went into Eastern Europe in 1955 with plans for the rest of the Communist world. From "Brad's Drink" in North Carolina to Pepsi-Cola throughout the world, Twelve Full Ounces tells the story of what happened. A fascinating story of an American legend.


by Jeffrey L. Rodengen

In 1880 in Waco, Texas the Old Corner Drug Store opened. It soon became a popular meeting place. One of the employees was Charles C. Alderton, a young pharmacist who also dispensed soft drinks and confections at the soda fountain. Alderton was born in New York in 1857 and earned his medical degree at the University of Texas in Galveston. He decided to make pharmacy his life work and moved to Waco where he secured a job in Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store. December 1, 1885 is considered as the official date when Dr. Pepper was first served at the Old Corner Drug Store. Alderton's new drink became very popular and Morrison's naming the drink Dr. Pepper was in honor of Dr. Charles Pepper. As Dr. Pepper's popularity grew, Morrison and Alderton decided to mix up large quantities of the syrup in the store's back room for sales at other druggists' fountains. Robert Lazenby joined with Wade Morrison to produce and promote Dr. Pepper while Charles Alderton left. Alderton died at the age of 81 in 1941. By 1901, there were bottlers in Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North and South Carolina using Dr. Pepper. To keep up with growing demand to bottle the drink, in 1924 a bottling plant was opened in St. Louis, Missouri. Early advertising capitalized on the fact that Dr. Pepper contained no caffeine or cocaine and was safe for children. In 1917 caffeine was added and in 1983 a no-caffeine version was introduced. It was at the 1904 World's Fair and Exposition in St. Louis that Dr. Pepper enjoyed its first national exposure. In 1923 the Dr. Pepper Company declared bankruptcy and was reorganized. The company also moved from Waco to Dallas. In 1991 the Waco site became the Dr. Pepper Museum. By 1935, Dr. Pepper cold be found in twenty states with the bottlers thriving on Dr. Pepper alone. Until the mid-Twenties, Dr. Pepper advertising campaigns changed so frequently, it was impossible to measure results. In 1927 came the"10, 2, and 4" campaign that would remain with Dr. Pepper for more than fifty years. In 1947, Coca-Cola launched a great advertising campaign, installed vending machines seemingly everywhere and established a world-wide distribution network. Dr. Pepper suffered a decline in sales. In 1963, the Dr. Pepper Company introduced Diet Dr. Pepper which remains a shining star in the line of Dr. Pepper products. In 1981, the Dr. Pepper Company acquired the soft drink division of Welch Foods Company. In 1986, Dr. Pepper was purchased by Hicks & Hall, which that same year had purchased Seven-Up. The founder of 7UP, Charles Leiper Grigg, was born in 1868 in a log cabin in Price's Branch, Missouri. In 1918 he moved to St. Louis and became a salesman for a carbonated beverage company operated by Vess Jones. Grigg created an orange drink called Whistle. He later left Jones and his orange drink. In 1920 C. L. Grigg founded the Howdy Company to promote the orange drink he had invented. When heavy competition led to slipping sales in 1929 Grigg invented a lemon-lime soda and called it Seven-Up. Seven-Up's quality and consistency was best achieved in bottles, and Grigg refused to sell it as a fountain syrup. With quality control sales sky rocked in the early Thirties. On October 2, 1936, the Howdy Company changed its name to the Seven-Up Company. In the early Thirties, advertisements for 7UP appeared in newspapers, magazines and billboards. 7UP was promoted as a healthy drink and to be combined the Seagram's 7 Crown whiskey. By 1934 Seven-Up was in Canada and has remained popular as ever. In 1940 C. L. Grigg died leaving behind a unique drink. During World War II the company J. Walter Thompson to increase the advertising in preparation for peacetime. In 1950, 7UP was the most popular soft drink in the nation. Between 1950 and 1960, 7UP began selling in vending machines, and was introduced in cans and non-returnable bottles. Seven-Up also sold for the first time as fountain syrup. In 1963, a new sugar-free formulation was introduced called Like. In 1973, the name was changed to Sugar Free 7UP, and in 1979 it became Diet 7UP/ The Like trademark was later applied to a caffeine free cola introduced by 7UP in 1982. It was a failure. In 1967, Seven-Up went public for the first time. Also in 1967, Seven-Up launched the now famous Uncola campaign and the impact was tremendous. In 1975, the one-liter bottle was introduced. In 1978, Philip Morris Companies, Inc. purchased the company. When Philip Morris bought 7UP they increased the advertising budget but ended the Uncola campaign. Despite all the money Philip Morris spent, it had damaged Seven-Up's strong market position. In 1986, Philip Morris sold the international rights for 7UP to PepsiCo for $246 million. In 1986, Hicks & Hall bought Seven-Up for $240 million and merged it with Dr. Pepper. In 1987, Cherry 7UP and Diet 7UP was introduced. The next year came Seven-Up God, a spicy caffeinated drink, which did not survive the year. By 1994, Dr. Pepper became the fourth best selling U. S. soft drink and the No.1 non-cola. Diet Dr. Pepper was propelled to the position of No.1 diet non-cola. In 1995, Cadbury Beverages, the beverage division of Cadbury Schweppes plc, purchased the Dr. Pepper/Seven-Up Corporation. The merger bought Dr. Pepper, Seven-Up, Welch's and IBC Root Beer together with Canada Dry, Schweppes, Vernors, A&W, Crush, and Squirt. It has become the world's largest non-cola company. A fascinating chronicle of the history of two classic soft drinks.



by Lawrence L. Rouch

James Vernor was born on April 11, 1843, in Albany, New York. When James was five his family moved to the growing town of Detroit, Michigan. As a teenager he worked as an errand boy for the Higby and Stearn's Drug Store. He soon advanced to junior clerk and eventually received training at the drugstore in chemistry and pharmacy. In 1862 he joined the Union Army and was assigned as a hospital steward because of his drugstore experience. In July of 1865 James returned to Detroit, where he continued to work on the Ginger Ale formula he had begun before the Civil War. By Venor's time, novel beverages were proliferating as his fellow pharmacists and others throughout the country concocted thousands of new tonics, some wholesome, some both harmless and worthless, and some toxic. Upon returning to Detroit, Venor resumed work in the pharmacy business, opening a drugstore with his partner. They bought their own carbonation equipment and began dispensing their own soft drinks. He now began formulating his ginger ale at this point. Ginger ale had its origins in ginger beer, which appeared as early as 1790. Two beverage firms, one in Dublin and one in Belfast, developed ginger ale around 1852. As the so-called Dublin and Belfast ginger ales became the favored drink of the era, many Irish and British first firms began to export them to the United States. By the late 1880s ginger ale exports to the U. S. amounted to over 300,000 bottles per year, worth nearly half a million dollars. In 1866 James Vernor introduced Vernor's Ginger Ale. His new beverage began growing rapidly in popularity. Venor soon bought out his partner, and by 1873 his business was solid. He got married in that same year and in 1877 James Vernor II was born. By 1895 the drugstore had become more of a general store, and Vernor's Ginger Ale had become a household name in Detroit as distribution reached many local outlets. James Vernor II entered his father's business, and in 1896 they closed the drugstore to pursue the soft drink industry full time. Many automobile companies and suppliers sprung up around Detroit and the population of the city increased. The Vernors expanded their retail outlet in 1906 and once again in 1918. By 1915 the operation was incorporated, full-time, and large in scope. American distribution had reached Toledo, Cleveland, and Buffalo. Vernor's also went international around this time with exports to Windsor and Toronto. With the arrival of Prohibition the sale of Vernor's Ginger Ale in the Detroit area increased during this period as law-abiding citizens sought alternatives to alcohol. As ginger ale was a favored mixer, the sales of Vernor's continued to rise. Vernor's had competitors with the strongest competitor being Canada Dry Ginger Ale with its less vivid flavor. James Vernor died late in 1927 at the age of eighty-four. James Vernor II continued to expand the distribution and marketing throughout the country. During the Great Depression sales on all soft drinks decreased, but Vernor's weathered the storm. In 1931 Vernor senior's nephew, James Vernor Davis, joined the company. By 1936 Vernor's Ginger Ale was for sales in more than forty thousands locations in the Midwest and Canada. The company had also introduced two new products, Arcadia Dry Ginger Ale and Arcadia Sparkling Water, meant to compete with Canada Dry and marketed as mixers. They only lasted a few years having never met the marketplace challenge of Canada Dry. In 1936 the company celebrated its seventieth anniversary. In 1941 Vernor's opened the "Most Modern Bottling Facility in the World" which occupied an entire city block. World War II was not the best time to be in the soft drink business, as rationing limited many essential supplies. After the war, a new prosperity took hold of Detroit as the automobile companies strove to meet demand for new cars. Demand for Vernor's Ginger Ale increased and Vernor's franchise became a viable business opportunity. On June 30, 1954 a new state-of-the-art bottling plant opened. James Vernor II died of cancer on April 11, 1954, the year of Vernor's eighty-fifth anniversary. In 1957 James Vernor III died of cirrhosis and due to the inheritance tax problems the Vernor family took the company public. By 1962 Vernor's was no longer a closely held family firm. Net sales in the early sixties were stagnant. In June 1962, Vernor's introduced Vernor's 1-Calorie. By 1963, sales hit an all-time high. In June of 1966, the company celebrated its centennial. Several months before Vernor's had been sold to a group of institutional investors for around $4.5 million. The old Vernor's was gone forever. In 1971 Frank Foods took control of Vernor's which was then acquired by American consumer Products in 1972. In 1979, United Brands bought American Consumer Products and in 1985 closed Vernor's bottling plant in Detroit. Vernor's turned over bottling operations altogether to independent franchise bottlers. In October 1987, A & W brands acquired the company for $11 million and A & W shares. In 1993, Cadbury Schweppes had acquired Dr. Pepper/Seven-Up and the Vernor's brand came under the control of Dr. Pepper/Seven-Up headquarters in Plano, Texas. By 1998, the formal rivals Canada Dry and Vernor's ginger ale belonged to the same corporation. Vernor's can be found in only fifteen states and can be purchased online. The Vernor's Story is a fascinating account how pharmacist James Vernor invented a unique soft drink that is still popular.

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Copyright (c) 2004 by William Tienken All rights reserved. These reviews many be freely distributed with proper attribution. Copies may be printed for non-commercial use. Redistribution, publication, or archiving of these reviews on any other terms require my consent.

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