Bristol Bottling Works starts in the early 1890's with C. Rudolph Scharf as the original owner.(2) The building was located on the corner of Washington and Buford Street nearest the bridge. The strange thing is that for many years the address of the company lists it as being in Bristol Tennessee; however, the Sanborn maps, and city directories, show that they were always physically located on the Virginia side of Bristol. In September 1894 the company placed an ad in Ice and Refrigeration magazine stating that they wanted a 5-ton machine to refrigerate beer storage and to make ice.(11) According to a letterhead from the company owned by Charlie Barnette, they were bottling ginger ale, vinegar, sodas, mineral water, and were the sole proprietor of Hoffman's Corona Malt Extract as well as a distributor for the Jos. Shultz Brewing Company.(2)By 1897 the company has been sold to Hugh M. Smith.(1) Scharf goes into the street paving business, and I've seen his name mentioned in connection with that business as far away as Appalachia, VA.(1)

According to the Sanborn maps the company has changed its name to Dixie Bottling Works by 1902, and a 1925 ad in the Bristol Herald Courier claims the company started bottling Coca-Cola on September 24, 1903.(8) A classified ad is placed in the October 1905 issue of the American Bottler magazine announcing that Dixie Bottling Works wants to sell its entire business for $4,000, with the stated reason for selling was "on account of other business".(9) The ad also notes that the plant is one of the largest of its kind in the South and sells an average of 1,500 dozen bottles a week with a hundred mile shipping territory via four different railroads.(9) The "Coca-Cola Bottling Works" was incorporated by its new owners on May 10, 1906 in the State of Tennessee with J. F. Tarwater, Jack Tarwater, J. H. Wright, Jerry Haggard, and Fred G. Haggard signing.(10)

One of the Rockwood backers was Sewell Howard, referred to as Colonel Howard by Robert S. Loving in his book Double Destiny.(3) Colonel Howard was a self-made man from Rockwood, TN, a town located in Roane County. It was reported in the October 25, 1906 Rockwood Times that Sewell Howard's daughter Ava married Jack Tarwater who was also from Rockwood.(7) According to the article, "after going east for the honeymoon, the couple will be at home in Bristol, where Mr. Tarwater has large business interests."(7) Jerry Haggard, who is Secretary Treasurer of the Dixie Bottling Works of Bristol, VA which is incorporated in Virginia on December 5, 1906 with Jack Tarwater as President (4), makes the trip to Rockwood for the wedding.(7)

They built a new building across the street from Dixie's first location, which was announced on September 30, 1906, with A. G. Gibson getting the contract to erect the building in sixty days.(8) The new plant starts operations on December 10, 1906.(8) The old bottling equipment from the original plant would be moved to Norton, VA where the Norton Coca-Cola Bottling Company would start in 1907 with a Mr. Harnard, also of Rockwood, Tenn., in charge.(8) From the city directories of 1905-06 a Carl Mee is listed as manager of "Bristol Coca-Cola Bottling Works" with both Dixie Bottling Works and Bristol Coca Cola Bottling Works listed separately but sharing the same address.(1) Carl Mee according to my research is actually another person from Rockwood, Tennessee, and may have worked with Walter Howard, one of Sewell's sons in a dry goods store there. Walter would eventually be associated with the Coca-Cola Bottling Works of Rockwood.

In 1907 Bristol had its own skirmish of the "Kola Wars" in which the Coca-Cola parent company was actively trying to stamp out imitator brands who had been showing up in droves as the popularity of Coca-Cola grew. Through legislation, trademark disputes, and even in the streets this "Kola War" had been going on for a while by this point. As to what may have happened between the three contenders on the street level of Bristol during this skirmish is lost to time, but the legacy can be found through the advertising blitz in the Bristol Herald Courier in the summer of 1907. The whole thing really started when the Peters-Goodwyn Ice Company created Holston Bottling Company introduced Dr. Pepper to Bristol.(8)

There wasn't much Coca-Cola could do to Dr. Pepper as it had preceded them in creation by a year, but it was when Holston announced that they were bottling one of the most famous Coca-Cola imitators, Koca-Nola, that the fur started flying. Koca-Nola marketed itself by taking advantage of the rumor that Coca-Cola contained Cocaine by calling itself "The Dopless Drink" and claiming to contain no habit forming drugs. This rumor of Coca-Cola containing Cocaine always angered Asa Chandler who owned the parent Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, so you can imagine how trilled he was with Koca-Nola for constantly reminding the public of this claim. Needless to say the Coca-Cola Company eventually sued the Koca-Nola parent company for infringement of trademark over their similar name and won.

To complicate matters Milton H. Rush decided to enter the fray with his Rush Bottling Works bottling a cola that is yet unidentified, but they claimed was "…as good as any other".(8) Dixie Coca-Cola pretty much ignored them at first, but eventually the mud started slinging with ads insinuating that Holston and Rush were unsanitary, and of course accusing these two of bottling imitators, to which they were bound to reply with ads of their own. This all wound down by the end of 1907, Rush seems to have given up the fight earlier that summer. When the dust settled we find that Dixie Bottling Works had purchased Holston Bottling Company in order to expand their operation, and obviously to put a stop to Koca-Nola and Dr. Pepper. Rush Bottling Works just appears to vanish from the scene by December 1907, as would Milton H. Rush himself would later under mysterious circumstances.

Speaking of Milton H. Rush it appears that he was the man who introduced Coca-Cola to Bristol when he negotiated with a "Knoxville concern to ship bottled Coca-Cola to Bristol, which he distributed in the territory on a small scale."(3), this Knoxville concern was Roddy Manufacturing of Knoxville, TN. Pat Roddy Jr. implies that they were shipping Coca-Cola by the Southern Railway lines to Bristol, VA as early as 1902, and reveals that they were "…shipping Coca-Cola to Bristol through 1904 and into 1905, but since we did not or could not put a bottling plant in Bristol, the territory was taken over by Carl Jones who built the Bristol Plant."(5) Actually it wasn't until 1907 that half of the existing Coca-Cola bottling company was bought by Carl A. Jones, and the rest was purchased eighteen months later.(3) Carl A. Jones was working at Dominion National Bank until 1908 when he resigned to join Dixie Coca-Cola,(8) so he didn't build the plant as Pat Roddy Jr. remembers which shows the flaws of relying on antidotal evidence. That being said by 1909 Carl Jones owns the Dixie Bottling Works.

All of the ads being placed during 1907 gave us a good deal of information as to what Dixie Bottling Works was bottling at this time including Jersey Cream, a product of the Jersey Cream Company of Ft. Worth, Texas, Iron Brew, owned by the Maas & Waldstein Extract Company of New York, Orcherade, a soda from W. H. Hutchinson and Son of Chicago, Peach Mellow, produced by Blumenthal Brothers in Philadelphia, and "the celebrated" Rainbow Ginger Ale, manufactured by the Rainbow Ale Company of Atlanta Georgia.(8)They also bottle their own flavor line like most bottlers of the time which include Strawberry, Lemon, Lemon Sour, Cream Soda, Ginger Ale, Chocolate, Pineapple, Raspberry, Orange, Vanilla, Birch Beer, Root Beer, and Champagne Cider.(8)

It appears that after the completion of the sale of Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Works to Carl A. Jones, Jack Tarwater essentially abandons the Norton Coca-Cola Bottling Company which finds itself in a situation where the corporation hadn't paid the annual registration fees for 1910 and 1911 causing the Virginia Corporation Commission to take away their charter.(12) The stockholders of the corporation, including Ferdinand B. Kline, revive the charter on May 23, 1913 in an effort to keep it going, but left Tarwater and Haggard in the same positions.(12) Kline takes over the Norton Coca-Cola Bottling Company on March 20, 1917.(12) In August 1913 we find that Jack Tarwater is listed as manager of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Rockwood, Tennessee which shows he went back home.

In 1909 Dixie Bottling Works sets aside Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday as "Inspection Days" where the locals and friends were invited into the plant to show how sanitary the operation was.(9) Over two hundred people showed up opening day.(9) They were entertained by music and given refreshments and souvenirs.(9) Many bottling plants invited the public to inspect their operations, a practice that some still engage in. By 1909 there have been a few changes to their bottling line up as they are now producing Deep Rock Ginger Ale, owned by the Deep Rock Ginger Ale Company of Athens Georgia, Cream Soda, Digestol, a tonic produced by the Wharton Chemical Co. of Nashville Tennessee, Dixie Ginger, most likely their own Ginger soda, Hot Tom, a soda similar to hot Ginger Ale, and a new Grape soda.(8) Carl A. Jones would build a new plant on the corner of Lee and Sycamore Streets and the company would move there around 1911.(1)

The new two story plant's foundation dimensions measured one hundred feet by thirty-five feet, and was constructed of rough decorative block.(13) The plant was operated by steam with electricity being used to power the bottling washing and sanitizing machinery.(13) On the roof near one corner of the plant was installed a lighted sign which featured the Coca-Cola script in front of a straight side bottle. This sign was an electric sign and was included, with the rest of Bristol, on a special occasion in 1913 when the entire city had lights strung up down the streets so that everyone could amaze at this new phenomenon known as electric light.(8) The year 1912 sees the company bottling Pepsol which was Pepsin flavored drink (similar to cinnamon) out of Memphis Tennessee, and 1913 appears to be the year that Carl Jones starts advertising for his Jay’s Quality Beverages line the first ad for which is for Plezol "The New Drink".(8) Plezol was a cherry drink created by the Warner-Jenkinson Co., a bottling supply company from St. Louis, Missouri. By 1915 they are also carrying Warner-Jenkinson's True Fruit Orange, but have dropped it in favor of the Orange Julep Company's Orange JOOJ by 1917.(8)

In 1916 the threat of imitators is once again a concern for Dixie Bottling Works as both Chero-Cola and Pepsi-Cola bottling plants are opened on opposite corners of Commonwealth Avenue and State Street. To add to their troubles the United States entering into World War I meant that rationing of basic materials for bottling was a growing concern. This is in evidence in the story of Dock D. Parks' Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company leaving Bristol. Parks was offered an opportunity to move to Appalachia to reinvigorate the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company there with his larger sugar ration, and newer equipment in 1918. Chero-Cola Bottling Company would remain a thorn in Dixie Bottling Company's side into the Nineteen Twenties, and even moved just down the street from them. The parent Coca-Cola Company, in Atlanta, GA, successfully sued Chero-Cola for their similar name infringing on their trademark in the early Twenties, which ultimately prompted the Chero-Cola parent company to create the Nehi beverage line.

The early Nineteen Twenties finds Dixie bottling Whistle, an orange drink from St. Louis, MO., and Cherry Blossoms, from the Cherry Blossoms Manufacturing Co. of Newton, Iowa.(8) By July 1925 the bottling plant as Lee and Sycamore is given a makeover, with a new addition built on the side for a truck garage, and white stucco applied to the entire building with green tiles worked in as well. The photo posted is prior to the new signage being applied. This year also finds them placing an ad which features new brands the company is bottling including Orange Nip, Lemon Nip, both owned by the Armour Company of Chicago, Delaware Punch, from the Delaware Punch Company of San Antonio, Texas, Blossoms, I’m guessing there are more than just Cherry by now, Indian Rock Ginger Ale, manufactured by the Adam-Christian Company of Richmond, VA, and a strawberry soda.(8) On December 4, 1925 Carl A. Jones files a patent for a new bottle based on his earlier Jay's Quality Beverage straight side bottle, only now while it retains the basic shape, he has added a mid-body slug plate and a hatch pattern over most of it. This Design was given the number 69,397 and approved on February 9, 1926.(14)

They are bottling Orange Kist, from the Citrus Products Company of Chicago, and Grapette in 1926.(8) This Grapette isn't the one that everyone drank as a kid, which was created by B. T. Fooks in Camden Arkansas in 1939, but an earlier drink trademarked in 1920 by the Sethness Company in Chicago. They used the characters from the Mutt and Jeff comic strip to promote the brand. As with many bottlers in the country the Depression hit Dixie Bottling Company pretty hard, and then World War II brought back the rationing and problems from the first war, workers being drafted into the military, bottle and crate shortages, and even collecting old tin cans to be sent to bottle cap manufacturers in order to be recycled into new caps, which all led to a shortage of available Coca-Cola to sell. After the war was over it was time for Carl Jones to look to the future, and that included the building of a new plant. Unfortunately Carl A. Jones Sr. would never get to see that plant open as he died on July 23, 1950 during a business trip to New York.(6)

The new plant at 1915-1925 West State Street opens with a four day open house from March 8-11, 1951.(6) This open house featured entertainment by Graham Jackson, a nationally known musician from Atlanta, movies of the 1950 World Series, door prizes, guided tours of the facility, and snacks to be washed down with Coca-Cola.(6) The new plant was estimated to produce 96,000 bottles of Coca-Cola in an eight hour day, and their franchise covered Sullivan County to Kingsport, most of Carter County including Elizabethton, in which they had opened a distribution warehouse in 1941.(6) In Virginia their franchise covered all of Washington County, Scott County, and parts of Lee County, Russell County, Bland County, Wythe County, and Grayson County.(6) John F. Clark became President by 1951 with Edith Carr Jones, Carl Jones' widow, as Vice President.(1) The Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company would acquire the Canada Dry Bottling Company of Bristol around 1957, renaming it Canada Dry of Bristol, Inc., and would operate it as a part of the company although in a separate plant until dissolving the corporation in 1974.(10) It appears that they continue to bottle Canada Dry products at their State Street plant until 1976.(1)

The Sixties and Seventies were a time of massive changes in the bottling industry. The competition for shelf space was slowly squeezing the independent bottler out, and ultimately forcing them to sell to large bottling conglomerates who were buying them up at a record pace. Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company was no different when in August 1983 Wometco Enterprises Inc. purchased Dixie (15), and made it a sister plant to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Roanoke.(1) The owner of Wometco Enterprises died in 1984, and the company was sold to Coca-Cola Consolidated of Charlotte NC in February 1985.(16) At the time of this sale Wometco owned sixteen Coca-Cola franchised bottlers, so you can imagine how large Coca-Cola Consolidated was after this purchase.

It appears that Coca-Cola Consolidated decided to shut the bottling operation at Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company down when they purchased it. The last bottle to come down Dixie’s bottling line was a 10oz Mr. Pibb Styrofoam label bottle. When the bottle was found it had a brittle piece of masking tape attached to it. On this tape was written in felt tip pen a note that read “Last bottle that came on line Bristol, VA 2/28/86”, which was the last Friday of that month, and a year after the purchase by Consolidated was finalized. The plant itself is still being used to distribute Coca-Cola product in the Bristol franchise area, but its nearly one hundred year bottling history was over.

Yes this thicket was once the home of Dixie Bottling Works from it's opening until around 1906.

From the collection of Charlie Barnette
Dixie Bottling Works plant 1906 till 1911. This was the second location of the Dixie Bottling Works you can see the side of the original building on the left.

The same location as it exists today

Dixie Bottling Works plant 1911 till 1951

The Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Works plant just after it received a stucco makeover and an addition in 1925.

The corner of Lee and Sycamore location as it exists today

A 1948 architectural concept drawing of what the new Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company plant on State Street would look like after it was built.

Dixie Bottling Works as it stands today at it's fourth and final location

Very early Dixie Bottling Works bottle from Bristol, Tenn(?). Dixie was never located in Tennessee.

Carl A. Jones circa 1912 along with his caricature from 1929.

Yet another Dixie Bottling Works bottle with Bristol, Tenn. on it. Actually this is a seltzer bottle from the company.

With this reverse of a 1926 sales receipt featuring a fire breathing Jones with a Coca-Cola bottle for a body, I’d have to surmise that Carl A. Jones was certainly a character.

Dixie Bottling Works 6oz Coca-Cola cap

Aqua "Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company" in an arch version "straight side" Coca-Cola bottle

A June 2, 1912 ad for Pepsol.

Amber "Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company" in an arch version "straight side" Coca-Cola bottle

Dixie Orange bottle cap

From the collection of Billy Jones, photo by Joseph Lee
Amber "Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Company" in an arch version with "this bottle registered" embossed on heel Coca-Cola bottle

A July 27, 1913 ad for Jays Plezol "The New Drink"

Aqua "straight side" Dixie Bottling Works soda water bottle

Dixie Grape bottle cap

Amber "straight side" Coca-Cola in slug plate bottle

A 1917 Orange Jooj ad

From the collection of Tommy Fouch, photo by Joseph Lee
Aqua "straight side" DBW in slug plate soda water bottles

From the collection of Frank Anderson, photo by Joseph Lee
Jay's Lemon Nip bottle cap

From the collection of Frank Anderson, photo by Joseph Lee
Amber "straight side" "Coca-Cola on main body" version

A May 16, 1925 ad for Orange Nip

Amber "straight side" "Coca-Cola on shoulder" version

A June 17, 1917 ad introducing the new “Contour” bottle to Bristol, VA.

6oz "Patd November 16, 1915" bottle dated 1918

6oz Jay's Quality Beverages bottle dated 1922

The bottom of the Jay's bottle embossed DBW.

A May 16, 1926 ad for Orange Kist

6oz "Patd November 16, 1915" bottle dated 1925

Blossoms bottle cap

6oz Jay's Quality Beverages bottles. For the variant collectors out there take note of the position of the Jay’s slug plate on the main body.

The bottom of the Jay's bottles embossed DBW.

A June 7, 1926 ad for Grapette

Dixie Coca Cola Grapette bottle cap

The patent drawing for the Jay’s Quality Beverages bottle.

7oz Jay's Quality Beverages bottle

The bottom of the Jay's bottles embossed DBW.

A December 29, 1929 ad for the Dixie Bottling Works showing the inside of the plant.

6oz "Patd December 25, 1923" bottle dated 1937

Aluminum Coca-Cola crate "property of Coca-Cola Bottling Company bstl (Bristol) VA" dated Mar(ch)1949. Their light weight and attachement for straps made these creates perfect for selling Coca-Cola at local events.

6oz "Pat. D" bottle dated 1950

Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Works 6oz Coca-Cola cap circa 1940's

6 1/2oz "Trademark in patent office" embossed Coca-Cola bottle dated 1952

Dixie Coca-Cola Bottling Works 6oz Coca-Cola cap circa 1950's

A gold plated Coca-Cola bottle dated 1957. There is no town name on the bottom of the bottle; however, it does have a later era cap from Bristol. I know that these were purchased during the golden anniversary era of the 1950’s to give away for various reasons.

6 1/2oz ACl Coca-Cola bottles both dated 1958, but from different glass companies

6 1/2oz ACl Coca-Cola bottle dated 1963

28oz Coca-Cola ND/NR bottle dated 1973.

10oz commemorative Coca-Cola Bottle celebrating Dixie’s 75th year of bottling Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola glass, white version, celebrating Dixie’s 75th year of bottling Coca-Cola

The rarer Coca-Cola glass, gold version, celebrating Dixie’s 75th year of bottling Coca-Cola

Silver bar celebrating Dixie’s 75th year of bottling Coca-Cola

16 oz ACL Coca-Cola bottle dated 1984

10oz Styrofoam label Mr. Pibb with a piece of brittle masking tape attached to it with the notation, “Last Bottle that came on line Bristol, VA 2/28/1986”

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(1) Hill's Bristol VA-Tenn City Directories


(3) "Double Destiny" By Robert S. Loving Copyright 1955

(4) "Fourth Annual Report of the State Corporation Commission of Virginia" published 1907

(5) "75 years of Refreshment" By Pat Roddy, Jr. Copyright 1983

(6) The Kingsport Times News

(7) The Rockwood Times

(8) Bristol Herald Courier

(9) American Bottler Magazine

(10) Bristol Tennessee Court Records

(11) Ice and Refrigeration

(12) "Annual Report of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to the Governor and General Assembly of Virginia" 1913 & 1918

(13) Bristol Virginia – Tennessee: Its Interests and Industries 1915

(14) Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office

(15) Beverage World

(16) The Ledger December 19, 1984