Carolina Colas and Carbonated Treasures

Contributed by Dale Sauter

About the Exhibit

The Cola Wars started long before Lionel Ritchie or Michael Jackson ever cut a record. Beginning in the late 1880’s the success of Coca-Cola sparked a legion of imitators. Here in the Carolinas, Brad’s Drink was proved the most successful on both a local and national scale.

Originally the national brands were distributed as syrups for dispensing at an established soda fountain. However, as the idea of individual servings caught on, a franchise bottling system developed to distribute the national brands. The process encouraged the growth of local bottling companies all across the country. In the southeast such companies were particularly numerous.

During the mid-1930’s, the town of New Bern was home to four different bottling companies. At times, Greenville and Washington hosted as many as five separate bottling plants. It was not long before a host of local bottlers were trying their hands at crafting soft drink formulas. This exhibit represents some of the more successful regional enterprises as well as selection of exclusively local brands.

When and Where

Carolina Colas and Carbonated Treasures is on display from June through October 2017 in the Verona Joyner Langford North Carolina Collection on the 3rd floor of J.Y. Joyner Library.

For additional information, please contact the North Carolina Collection at 252-328-6601 or email John Lawrence.

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