SEVEN UP BOTTLING COMPANY OF JOHNSON CITY TENNESSEE

Cunningham Beverages had acquired the Seven Up franchise after the failure of their first leader Brandimist around 1933. There are Seven Up labels with Cunningham Beverages as the bottler from this period. The city directories show the company was located at 226 West Main Street.(1) Scott E. Cunningham, the president of Cunningham Beverages, was friends with a gentleman named Wiley R. McCoy too whom he wanted to sell controlling stock in the company to in the fall of 1936 due to Cunningham's poor health.(4) The negotiations began in September 1936 for the selling of the stock to McCoy; however, not being able to secure the finances needed to close the deal, McCoy was approached by his brother in law Jack W. Cummins who offered to loan him the money to buy the stock.(4)

According to the 1937 City Directory, Wiley R. McCoy is the President and General Manager, with his wife Christine as Vice President, and Jack W. Cummings as Secretary Treasurer.(1) Although being listed in the city directories as the Seven Up Bottling Company the name of the company wasn't changed from Cunningham Beverages to The 7-Up Bottling Company of the Appalachians officially until June 23, 1941.(3) The officers of the company remaining Wiley R. McCoy as president with J. W. Cummins as Secretary.(3) This was about a year after Wiley McCoy opened another Seven Up Bottling Company in Bristol, Tennessee. Aside from Seven Up they are bottling Mission Beverages, a flavor line from California better known for its orange flavor, and in 1940 they pick up the franchise for Sunny Isles, a Pineapple soda based in Atlanta, Georgia.

This business deal got off to a rocky start, while McCoy was given to understand that the company would be his alone, Cummins started to have other ideas.(4) Cummins first criticized McCoy's handling of the sales department and then started buying up the stocks from the remaining shareholders behind McCoy's back.(4) When McCoy learned of this he decided to buy more stock himself which prompted Cummins to sue him for breach of contract.(4) He also accused McCoy of fraudulent handling of the sales accounts of the corporation and sought the appointment of a receiver; however, the fraud charges were abandoned by Cummins.(4) The Jury found in favor of McCoy's argument, yet the chancellor disregarded the Jury's verdict ruling that the two parties had embarked upon a joint enterprise, and made Cummins the final authority in all matters of controversy, even though he was minority stockholder.(4) McCoy appealed this ruling, and took the appeal all the way to the Tennessee Supreme Court where his appeal was denied on March 4, 1939.(4) It appears that after extinguishing all legal options, and the animosity that had to exist between McCoy and Cummins being obvious, there was only one avenue for McCoy to take, which was when he opened the Bristol franchise.

Although he had started the Bristol franchise he was still President of the Johnson City corporation which had moved to 355 East Main by 1944 with Ralph B. Carr being listed as manager.(1) On March 14, 1946 the company is sold to Ralph B. and Guy S. Carr.(3) The new owners donít wait long before they purchase land for a new bottling plant to be built at 900 Buffalo Street (1), where it meets Maple Street, on July 10, 1946.(3) The 1947 city directories confirm this location listing Guy S. Carr as President, and Ralph B. Carr as Vice president / Treasurer.(1) They have started bottling Grapico, a grape drink from Roanoke Alabama in 1948. The late 1960's would see many changes in the bottling industry with larger bottlers buying up smaller companies in order to acquire their franchises, or eliminate completion, and Seven-Up of Johnson City wasnít immune. In April 1967 Rice Bottling Company, otherwise known as the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Johnson City, purchased both the bottling plant, and the Seven Up franchise from the Carrs.(2) This causes the company to file Articles of Dissolution on May 8, 1967.(3)



226 West Main Street the home of Cunningham Beverages



355 East Main the location for the company from around 1944 until 1947. The unfortunate thing about this is that it was in the path of Interstate 26, and is now a parking lot.



The final location of the company at the corner of Buffalo and Maple




7oz squat amber paper label 7-UP from the 7-UP Bottling Company of the Appalachias dated 1935



July 2, 1937 ad for Seven-Up that ran in the Kingsport Times.







From the collection of Geff Moore, photo by Joseph Lee
7oz 7-UP "eight bubble" bottle dated 1939







12oz Mission Beverages bottle from the late 1930's or early 1940's







7oz 7-UP "eight bubble" bottle dated 1940







From the collection of Geff Moore, photo by Joseph Lee
7oz Sunny Isles bottle dated 1940



Ad for the Seven-Up Bottling Company from the City Directories







6 1/2oz Grapico bottle dated 1948







7 oz 7-Up bottle dated 1952



A receipt from the Seven-Up Bottling Company







7 oz 7-Up bottle dated 1958







12 oz 7-Up bottle dated 1958







10 oz 7-up bottle dated 1961



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Bibliography:

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

(2) Johnson City Press

(3) Washington County Circuit Court Records

(4) Cummins V. McCoy et al. 125sw.2d 509