The Julep Bottling Company of Kingsport was incorporated on March 3, 1931.(3) The company was operated by Elijah Preston Gillenwater acting as President along with his son Ernest C. Gillenwater as Vice President / Secretary Treasurer.(1) The first location of the bottling plant was at 242 East Main Street, which still stands today.(1) According to an article announcing the opening of the company in the March 29, 1931 issue of the Kingsport Times Elijah Preston Gillenwater already had over eight years of experience in the manufacture of soft drinks when the plant opened.(2) The bottling, washing, and capping equipment was located in the front part of the building so that it could be easily visible from the street; however, the company also invited the public in to tour the plant if so desired.(2)

At the start of their operation the company had a capacity of over three hundred and sixty twenty four bottle cases a day.(2) They produced Julep, a flavor line produced by the Julep Syrup Company of Chicago, which included Orange, Grape, Cherry, Lemon, Strawberry and Lime Julep. They also bottled Lime Cola which was a product of the Lime Cola Co. of Montgomery, Alabama. On March 22, 1936 the company relocated to their new building at 206-208 West New Street.(2) They have replaced Lime Cola with Pop Kola, which is produced by the Braser Company of Chattanooga, by 1938.(2) On August 30, 1940 a notice is posted in the Kingsport Times News that announces the Julep Bottling Company, Inc. is no longer operating the plant on New Street in Kingsport, Tenn.(2)

242 East Main Street as it stands today

This is the second location at 206 West New Street

7oz deco Julep bottle that is similar to the ones used by the company.

A Julep Bottling Company ad announcing the opening of the company from the Kingsport Times of March 29, 1931

12oz Julep Beverages bottle dated 1940

A Julep Bottling Company ad announcing the relocation from Main Street to New Street, Kingsport Times of March 22, 1936

From the collection of Paul Ward, photo by Joseph Lee
12oz Pop Kola bottle dated 1941. This bottle raised a question that is that the Julep Bottling Company is no longer existent after August 30, 1940; however, here is a Pop Kola bottle with their company name on the back. Most likely the glass company didn’t change the name when they made this batch of bottles for the Holston Bottling Company who had taken over Julep Bottling Company’s franchise for the brand.

A September 18, 1938 ad promoting the Douglas Fairbanks Jr. film “Joy of Living” at the Rialto Theater, where of course you can drink Pop Kola and “Six Delicious Flavors” of Julep.

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(1) Baldwin's Kingsport, Tenn City Directory

(2) The Kingsport Times News

(3) Public Acts of the State of Tennessee passed by the Sixty-Seventh General Assembly 1931