Memphis Bottling Companies

     ... and their Historic-Collectible Bottles


The first known glass bottles were produced about 1500 B.C. by the Egyptians.  They were formed by shaping molten glass around a form made of sand and clay.  The core was then dug out when the glass cooled.  Because the process was time-consuming and complex, bottles were expensive and were considered luxury items.  By 200 B. C. a different type of glass bottle was being made in China, Persia, as well as in Egypt - made by blowing molten glass into a mold.  The Romans adopted this method and it spread throughout Europe.  In 1608, the first bottle-making factory in the U. S. was established in Jamestown, Virginia. 




Click on small photos to see a large photo...

Evolution of the Soda Bottle...

Ancient Egyptian Method

Mold Blowing Method

Parts of Mold

1/2 of Mold

Press Mold


Glass-blower John L. Mason devised the first glass jar with a screw-on cap in 1858.  Mold Blowing gave way to the less expensive method of Press-molding.  The bottle-making process first became automated in 1865 with the introduction of  a pressing and blowing machine.   In 1879 Charles G. Hutchinson patented the "Hutchinson stopper"  a replacement for the commonly used cork stoppers.  In 1903 Michael Owens revolutionized the industry with his invention of the Owens Bottle Machine.  This began the inexpensive, large-scale production of glass bottles.   Along with the Crown bottle cap, it helped spur the large-scale carbonated beverage industry as well.  By 1920, almost all bottles were produced on Owens machines.


John L. Mason

Mason Jar and Cap

Hutchinson Stopper

Crown Cap

Owens and his machine



The Coca Cola Company introduced the first soda pop bottle in 1915.  Several other brands followed, each using a bottle with its own distinctive shape.   Standardized soda bottles began in 1934 after technology enabled companies to fire permanent color which made it possible to have names and logos on the bottles.


First Soda Btl



Memphis Bottling Companies began sprouting up all over the city.  Many of them were franchises of the big corporations like Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola.  Other independent bottling companies grew out of the need to manufacture new products.  It was and is Big Business.


Automated Bottling



The bottles from the Bottling companies became the face of the product and needed to jump out at the consumer.   The distinctive bottles that were created are now very collectible.  A selection of the historic Bottling companies of Memphis are listed alphabetically below, along with some of their bottles and bottle memorabilia ...  beginning with the classic "Hutch Bottle"  named for the patented stopper that came with the bottle.


Hutch Bottles   

Artesian Soda Co.  .  173 Jefferson

Listed in the Memphis Directory as early as 1887. . .


1892 Ad

Hutch Btl


Barq Bottling Co.  .  1152 E. Trezevant

Barq Bottling Co dates from as early as 1940 .  It now bottles Red Rock cola which was renewed in the 1950s.  No other information currently available.  (See the Red Rock Cola listing below).

Red Rock

Barq 1943

Blackberry Cola Bottling .   657 S. Orleans  . 322-25 Washington Av  . 326 Poplar

 Circa 1922-40 .  No other Information





BLUFF CITY BOTTLING .  Memphis Bottling Works .  Hygeia Bottling . Becker-Hygeia
                         . 87-89 Vance .  202 Front . 432-434 Main

 R. M. Becker was the most prolific bottler in Memphis and he owned the Memphis Bottling Works, going back to 1889.  The year 1891 is the first year the company is listed in the Memphis Directories originally as Memphis Bottling Works.  In 1894-95 Becker  merged his operation with Coan and Harbin under the name of

Bluff City Bottling Works.  In 1903 they separated with Becker starting the Hygeia Bottling Works and Coan and Harbin continuing Bluff City Bottling.   By 1912, Hygeia was changed to R. M .Becker Hygeia Bottling Works.  According to Dennis Smith of "The Kola Wars", Becker had the Memphis franchise to Celery Cola ... and in 1911, Fan Taz bottling. 


Hutch Btl

Bluff City Bluff City Bluff City Bluff City 1892 ad "Koke" Bluff

Koke 1912








Hygeia Article

1910 Ad


Celery Cola was a celery-flavored soft drink created in 1887 by James Mayfield in Birmingham, Alabama.  In 1910 the Pure Food and Drug administration prosecuted the company for unhealthful amounts of cocaine and caffeine in its beverages


1904 Patent

1912 Hygeia


Celery hat 1908

Celery hat


Fan Taz was a soft drink manufactured by the Hessig-Ellis Drug Co. of Memphis

Fan Taz ad


Celery Cola Label

Fan Taz ad

1909 Fan Taz ad



P. M. Burgoyne Soda Waters  .  85 Beale

One of the oldest Memphis bottlers, dating from as early as 1885.  The "P. M" stands for "Mrs. Priscilla M. Burgoyne",  apparently a widow supporting herself.


    1880s 1880s 1880s

Chase Bottling Co. .  362 Winchester Av.

In 1925 the formula for "Chaser" was created by Memphian Thomas George Chase.   It was a lemon-flavored soda that contained lithium citrate, an anti-drpressant.  Lithiated drinks were believed to be a curative for indigestion and hangovers.  Chaser was introduced as an international brand in 1956 and in 1957 the Double Cola Company bought Chaser Soda.  It disappeared as a U. S. brand after that.   Chasr made its way back to the U.S. in 2010 ... still owned by the Double Cola Company.


Thomas G. Chase 


Chaser Chaser Ad 1946 Ad 1946 Ad 1949 Chaser Glass Lithiated


Chaser today

Chaser cap


Wooden Case 1933



Chero-Cola Bottling Co.  Nehi  . Royal Crown  .  618 S. Main .104 Webster Av

Chero-Cola was founded by a grocer in Georgia in 1915.  It was the predecessor to Royal Crown Cola (RC).  As with most of the colas, the founder was trying to find a replacement for Coca Cola.  It only lasted until 1921 when a court ruled that "Cola" couldn't be used in their name.  They changed their name to Nehi in 1928 and eventually introduced a new cola named Royal Crown in 1933.

  Chero unused label


Btl Btl Btl Chero Cap Chero Tray Chero Ad Chero Blotter

Chero-Cola Building Chero-Cola Sign Amethyst Chero Employees and Truck Chero Bottles

Ad 1919 Vintage Ad Clock Ad

Metal Sign


Coan & Harbin Co.    202 Front Street

James E. Coan & F. W. Harbin first appear in the 1894 Memphis Directories, listed as Coan & Harbin,  Bottlers.  They had taken over the old Deihl and Danbury Bottling Co.   where, just the year before, Coan was a bookkeepr and Harbin was a traveling salesman.  In 1895, they merged with bottler R. M. Becker, forming the Bluff City Bottling Co.  In 1904 Bluff City registered a trademark for "Coan & Harbins Koke"  and marketed the product for several years.  The company was sold around 1910 and the Bluff City name continued until 1916.  (See the Bluff City Bottling and the Deihl & Danbury Bottling Co listings) 


Coan & Harbin 1892




C & H

C & H

Bluff City

Bluff B.C. Koke B.C. Koke

1904 Koke Patent

1909 Congressional



Coca Cola Bottling Co.    98 DeSoto . 256 Washington .499 S. Hollywood St.

 Coca Cola was invented in 1886 by John Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist.  He was actually trying to concoct a headache remedy but once he mixed his syrup with carbonated water, customers couldn't get enough.  His bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, coined the Coca Cola name and also wrote out the name in the familiar script which became the signature logo.  In 1894 the popular drink was sold in bottles for the first time.  By 1899, independent bottling companies were licensed to bottle it.  Memphis became an independent bottler in 1902. 


Coca Cola Delivery   


Hutch Hutch Delivery Bottle History Bottle History Coke Amber

Label 1925 Memphis Invitation 1900s 75th 1983 100th Memphis Plant


Coca Cola Collectibles

Vintage tray

Knife 1920s

Coke Soda Peppo


Bottle Opener


1900 Ad

1913 Ad

Memphis Coca Cola Bottling Plant 1915


Deihl & Danbury Bottling Co.    Lords & Diehl Bottling Co.  .  Coan & Harbin Co.

This company goes back to 1874 and has changed names several times.  It was a major producer of Ale, Beer, Cider, and Soda Water in a 5 story building at 202 Front Street.   In 1891 James E. Coan was a bookkeeper and F. W. Harbin was a traveling salesman.  The next year they would take over the company as Coan & Harbin.    (See Coan & Harbin Listing above)


D & D

D & D


Lords-Diehl '83

L & D  1883

C & H - 1892 \

  L-D & D

L - D & D

L & D

L & D

C & H


It's a DILLY Bottling Co.  .  2291 S. Third St.

The 1951 Memphis Directory lists this company at 2291 S. Third Street.  Jennifer Almond writes that her grandfather, Robert E. Dilatush, owned the company from circa 1948, and W. H. Hutchinson &Son of Chicago designed the bottle and caps.   Although the product was "short-lived, it's surprising how many folks still remember this beverage - especially the name.  No other information is currently available.


Bottle Bottle Cap Matchbook Matchbook  




1951 Ad


Original Art


Dilly Location - today



Double Cola Bottling Co. 
.  362 Winchester

In 1924 Charles Little of Chattanooga creates "Marvel Cola" which will become Double Cola.  In 1933 he perfects his cola recipe and names it Double Cola because its 12 ounce bottle is twice the size of other sodas at the time.  The Memphis Double Cola bottling company dates from 1940. 


Double Cola Ad


Double Cola Bottles

Cap Outdoor Ad Delivery Cases

Treasure Hunt 1950s

              Jumbo Grape


Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Memphis   . 763 Madison Av . 988 Jefferson . 921 Raynor

Dr Pepper is another pharmacist invention.  Charles Anderton invented it while working at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas.  It's the oldest of the major brand soft drinks in America.  His customers liked the drink and they began asking for a "Waco".  Morrison changed the name to "Dr Pepper" - for unknown reasons.  In 1904 Dr Pepper was introduced to America at the St. Louis World's Fair.  Memphis began bottling Dr Pepper, circa 1904.

  Dr. Pepper Ad


Bottles Seltzer Seltzer Ad 6 pack Case

Caps Early Straws C. Alderton Clock

193s Delivery


Gay-Ola Bottling Co.     . 191 Washington

The Memphis Gay-ola trademark (original name was GLEE-ola) was registered 1911 and they began a very aggressive advertising campaign.  Right at the beginning they built an immense volume of business.  They developed branch offices and shipping depots in nearly a dozen centers.  The Coca Cola Company took notice and quickly brought Gay-Ola to court.  The first result was Gay-Ola had to change their trade mark to block letters.  Coca Cola kept at it, and Gay Ola won a 2nd time but had to re-design their bottles.  Gay-Ola remained popular past 1920.

Gayola Fan              


Gayola Bottles Watch Fob Bottles Gayola Ad Bottle Opener Lawsuit


Pocket Mirror Watch Fob GLEE-ola  Amethist Charge coin



Grapette Bottling Works  .  The Memphis Address is not known???

The founder of Grapette was Benjamin Tyndle Fooks.  In 1925 he left the lumber business and purchased a property in Camden, Arkansas.  The next year Fooks purchased a small soft drink bottling operation and a year later, another company nearby.  By 1938 he began experimenting with grape flavor.  After a couple of years of testing, he achieved the taste he was looking for.  The next year Fooks traveled  to Chicago and purchased the copyrighted name of "Grapette" 

 from the Sunset Liquor Company.  In the spring of 1940, he put Grapette officially on the market and it was an immediate success.  At its peak, Grapette had over 600 bottlers in 38 states.  The drink faded in popularity by 1970 and was purchased by the Monarch Co, the bottler of NuGrape.  It is still manufactured in foreign countries.


B. T. Fooks

Grapette Cap Grapette Bottles Ad Temperature

Opoener Bottle Ad Bldg Sign Receipt Book Delivery Truck

Grapette Case      

1940s Guide


Grapico Bottling Works  .  1333 Madison Av

Around 1914, Grapico, a new grape drink from New Orleans, opened a Bottling Company in Memphis.  President of the company was Louis Rochell, and associates were C. E. Teder and W. S. Routt.  In 1917 the company moved to Alabama and is still there.


Grapico Today


Grapico Btls

Grapico Grapico Grapico Sign Grapico Litho Grapico Ad

C. J. Hargan & Co  .  27 Alabama

This company is listed in the 1872 Memphis directories as  "Hargan, C. J., widow."

  1876 Ad Hutch Hutch Blob Blob

J. J.  Heinrich Bottling Co  .  9-14 Hadden . 12-18 Hadden . 200-206 Rayburn

The firm began in 1854 as P. H. Heinrich & Bro.  In 1870 P. H. Heinrich  died,  and  J. J. continued the business.   They bottled soda water in the 1880s.  According to Dennis Smith of "Koke Wars", Heinrich had the Memphis franchise for "My Coca".  See the bottle below "Memphis 10 - My Coca"


Hutch Hutch Later Btl 1910 Btl Hutch Hutch "My Coca J. J. Heinrich article


Home Bottling Works  .  460 N. 2nd.  Circa 1916-1918

The proprietor was Ike A. Chase and the Home Bottling Company grew out of the Chase Light Co.  They manufactured Rye-Ola and a Ginger Ale.  According to Dennis Smith of "Koke Wars", Rye-Ola was first bottled by I. C. Lebolt who may have found or sold out to Home Bottling Co.


Home  Article



Rye-Ola Dispenser





Home Bottling Co



Kensler-Waibel Bottling Co.

Kensler-Waibel was one of the several German bottlers in Memphis in the early years.  No other information.




Liberty Bottling Co.  Re-o-Cola  . Rainbow .     1332 Florida . 893 S. Third

Opened in 1934 by Henry Lotti out of his home on Florida Street.  The business thrived and the name changed to Re-o-Cola Bottling.  By the 1950s the name changed again to Rainbow Beverages.  See Re-O- Cola and/or Rainbow below.


Henry Lotti



Liberty Liberty Re-O-Cola Building Rainbow Rainbow Rainbow Rainbow Rainbow


Nehi Bottling Co.  . 618 S. Main  .  234 Jefferson

The Chero Cola Company changed name  to Nehi in 1928.  See the Chero Cola listing ...


Nehi Ad










Nu Grape Bottling Co.  . 643-651 Marshall  . 175 Pauline

Nu Grappe was founded in 1921 in Georgia and the Memphis Nu Grape Bottling Co dates from 1922.  Today, NuGrape is still found in parts of the southeast U.S.m specifically in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, northwest Alabama, and the eastern half of Tennessee. NuGrape is almost impossible to find for sale west or north of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.


Nu Grape Bottles Today New Grape Sign   Nu Grape Ad Sign

1951 Ad 6 Pack Sign Ad Sign






Nu Grape Cap




Orange Crush Bottling Co.   . 1333 Madison  . 763 Madison  . 315 Washington

The new Orange Crush plant dates from 1930 and had a capacity of 5,000 cases daily.  Joseph Rout was the manager of the plant.  The original Orange Crush bottles were brown to "protect the contents from environmental deterioration".


Trade Show 1926   


Btl Bottles Clear Btl Routt Cap Cap Miniature

1960 Ad

1940's Ad

1938 Ad

Old Colony Mil-K Vintage Ad

Trade Show 1931    


Ozark Fruit Co   . 7,8,9 Howard's Row

The Ozard Fruit Co.   was in business from 1888 - 1911.  The 1888 they are listed in Memphis Directory as Ozark Cider and Vinegar Co  on Howard's Row.  That listing continues thru 1900  when the address changes to 7,8,9 Howards, Row.  In 1903 the name changed to Ozark Fruit Co  with Louis Erb, President.  In 1905 the address changes to 37,39,41 Union (Howard's Row).  with Louis Erb, President.  (Same location.  Memphis renumbered in 1905).  In 1906, The president changes to John Chism.  In 1908 the company moves to Corner of W. Butler ... C. N. Churchill, President.  In 1909 the Company changes name back to Ozark Vinegar and Cider Co  ... John Dunn, President.  In 1910 Oscar G. Johnston, President ... Corner W. Butler.  1912 ... No more listings.


Howard's Row today


...     Ozark Bottles     ...


...     Pansy Ginger Ale     ...


1892 Cider Vinegar


1905 Ad




Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. of Memphis  -  250-252 E. Calhoun Av . 672 S. Main  . 315 Washington

 Pepsi was another creation of a pharmacist.  In 1893 Caleb Bradham of North Carolina, began serving "Brad's Drink" at his drug store.  In 1898 he changed the name to Pepsi-Cola and by 1902 had founded the Pepsi-Cola Co.   As demand for the drink gew, Bradham decided it was time to offer Pepsi Cola in bottles.  By 1910 there were 240 franchises in 24 states.  Pepsi has been in the Memphis area since 1915.




Btl Bottles Delivery Cap Fan Case

Pepsi Cola Bldg. Pepsi Blue 1908 Pepsi Ad Pepsi Sign


Rainbow Bottling Co.  . 893 S. Third

Liberty Bottling changed name to Rainbow in 1950.  Please see the Liberty Bottling listing above  ...


Rainbow Bottles


Chocolate Soldier Btls-Ad 1964


Hula Doola Cap




Red Rock Cola Bottling Co.    . 1152 E. Trezevant

Red Rock Cola was founded in 1885 in Georgia.  By 1938 it was a leader in the field and by 1947 there were bottlers in 45 of the 47 states.  But a major decline began in 1958 and the drink seemed to vanish after 1950.  However the Domincan Republic continued to bottle it and the brand had now been revived.  In Memphis, Red Rock Cola is now bottled by the Barq Bottling Co.  .


Bottles Red Rock Ad Themometer Red Rock Ad Red Rock Ad Red Rock Case

J. W. Reinders  .  361 Beale

John William Reinders manufactured and bottled Soda Water from 361 Beale circa 1870 to 1880.  No other information.

Blob top bottles from J. W. Reinders


Re-O-Cola Bottling Co.  . 893 S. Third

See the Liberty Bottling Co and/or Rainbow  listing above  ...  The Liberty Bottling Co changed its name to Re-O-Cola Bottling in the mid 40's and moved into the building on 3rd street.  By the 1950's the name was changed to Rainbow.



Re-O-Cola Building



Royal Crown Bottling Co.    . 234 Jefferson

The Royal Crown Bottling Company dates to 1940.   In the 1950s RC had a big campaign featuring many major Hollywood actors.  See the Chero Cola Bottling Co. listing above ...

  RC Ad

Btl 6 Pack Caps Upper 10 Upper 10 RC & Moon Pie Delivery

7 Up Bottling Co.  . 888 Linden

Charles Leiper Grigg worked for Vess Jones and in 1919 invented the drink "Whistle".  After a dispute he quit his job and gave "Whistle" to Jones.  At his next job, he invented a drink he named "Howdy".  This time when he moved on, he took "Howdy" with him.  By 1929 he had invented "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda".  That name was quickly changed to 7 Up.  No one knows why or how he came up with "7 Up".  By 1940,  7 Up had become the 3rd most popular and best-selling drink in the world.  


Paper Label Bottle Bottles Cap Modern 7 Up Ad

Tennessee Beverage Co.   . 11-13 Butler Av

The Tennessee Brewing Co became The Tennessee Beverage Co during Prohibition (1920-1933).  They sold non-alcoholic Goldcrest beer and another non-alcoholic drink named NIB, which were "cereal beverages".  This was their method of keeping the Goldcrest name alive during this period.  In addition, the plant produced soft drinks, including root beer and Canada Dry Ginger Ale. 


Tennessee Beverage Billhead Bottle Nib Ad 1921 Ad Nib Ad

Nib Ad


P. Twohig Bottling.  .  202 Vance

Patrick Twohig began as an agent for Fleming Ale circa 1870, at 152 Front St and shortly began his own company bottling Cider Ale and Soda Water at 202 Vance.  By 1880, he had stopped the bottling and had a saloon at 301 Second Street.

Assortment of P. Twohig Bottles


Union Bottling Co.  .  127 Alabama   .  417 Vance  . 749 Poplar

The first Union Bottling Works dates from 1892 ... and was part of the B. C. Harrison  Co.  It's not known if the more recent Union Bottling Co is associated with the original company.


O-Jay Lime Cola O-Jay Hap-EE Crescent Chisca Chisca Nichol Kola

Graport Graport Ad Graport Cap Metal Sign 1920s 1800's Steamboat

Whistle Bottling Co.  303-307 S. Main St.

Charles Grigg worked for Vess Jones.  In 1919 he invented a drink he named "Whistle".  After a dispute, he quit his job and gave Vess the drink.  The Whistle Bottling Co of Memphis was one of many distributions centers for this beverage.  The product thrived in other cities but didn't do well in Memphis, lasting only 3 years.  Ironically though, the building has survived. 


Whistle Bottling Co. 1919


Bottles Whistle Display Whistle Ad Whistle Ad Delivery truck

Whistle Metal Sign

Caps Ad Thermometer



City Bottling Company/City Bottling Works  .  Circa 1924-25 .  1099 Jackson Av. 
Elk Bottling Company  . 820-822 N. 2nd  .  Circa 1906   .  No Information or Memorabilia
Star Bottling Company  .  Circa 1915  .  No Information or Memorabilia
  Hertzel-Schlimmer 1860

   Kraze Bottling Co.


C. J. H. Kump 1862 - 1870s



   American Beverage Co


E. Schroeder & Co

Edward Schroeder began operating in Cairo Illinois in the late 1850s.  After selling out to Andrew Lohr, he moved to Memphis before setting up shop in St. Louis.  He's listed in business for oneyear although he may have been in business a second season.  After 1864, he relocated to East St. Louis Illinois and continued in business until his death when his wife Mary took over.  There are embossed bottles that say MRS. E. SCHROEDER. 




Diehl Beverage Company

    Bob-O Bottling

Good Grape Bottling Co. 

The Good Grape Company was founded circa 1922 by past employees of the Chero-Cola Company.  The name was changed to "Seminole Flavor Company" in 1924.  No other information.


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