The Virginia Beverage Corporation was incorporated on October 28, 1915 in Roanoke, VA(1), it is thought that the company actually started out in nearby Salem, VA and moved to Roanoke; however, the only evidence of this that I have found are paper labels and a bottle with Salem, VA on them. Yet the State Corporation Commission of Virginia says Roanoke, VA is where they were incorporated so I’m going with that. The main product of the company was a brand called King Cola.

The bottlers of this brand were fairly widespread throughout Virginia and even into other states such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Known bottlers existed in Haysi, Virginia, Bristol, Virginia, Marion, Virginia, Lynchburg, Virginia(2), Salem, Virginia, Edinburg, Virginia(2), Covington, Virginia(3), Northfolk, Virginia(3) Culpeper, Virginia(3), Winchester, Virginia, and Weyers Cave, Virginia. There were even bottlers in other states so far I have found the D. Albertini Bottling Company of Mt. Caramel, PA, and the King Cola Bottling Company of Greensboro, NC.

As you can see the brand seemed to be doing well, and they tried to register the name as a trademark which caught the attention of the Coca-Cola Company who was on a virtual witch hunt at the time trying to quash any brand that dared imitate it including the use of the term cola which is what they came after King Cola with. They succeeded with a judgment handed down by the Commissioner of Patents for the United States Patent Office on January 13, 1917, that the Virginia Beverage Corporation was not entitled to register the King Cola mark for which it had made application.

This did not kill the brand outright. It even picked up more bottlers after this ruling. They couldn’t register the trademark, but they obviously weren’t going to allow this to stop them producing the brand. They also created a new brand in the form of Dixie Flip. Of course eventually the brand disappeared with the last mention I found to be in the first half of the 1920’s. By this point there was a new Roanoke based soft drink on the rise 3-C Nectar.

This label is a recreation from the Coca-Cola trademark infringement book of 1923, this label says the company is from Roanoke, VA as well.

6 ˝” oz King Cola bottle from the J. C. Layman Company of Bristol, VA this design closely mimics the Mint Cola design from the same period. McClure Bottling of Haysi, VA also used this style bottle but in a pale green glass

This is another version of the King Cola bottle with “King Cola The Royal Drink” embossed on the shoulder and the town name below that

The third and final type of King Cola bottle is this semi-deco version, this one happens to be from Marion, VA

This 6 1/2oz bottle is from Haysi, VA, which is in Dickenson County.

This is a King Cola and Dixie Flip ad from the Norfolk King Cola bottling Company dated 1918

Notice by the Radford State Bank of the sale of "Valuable" Virginia Beverage Stock on October 26 1918. Either the company was still doing well or Mr. R. L. Jordon was trying to get out of the company quick for some reason.

A King Cola tip tray

Last but not least a 1916 calendar for King Cola from the Virginia Beverage Corporation of Roanoke, VA

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(1) "Annual Report of the State Corporation Commission of Virginia " published 1926

(2) “Annual Report of the State Corporation Commission of Virginia for the year ending December 31, 1916” 1917

(3) “Annual Report of the State Corporation Commission of Virginia for the year ending December 31, 1918” 1919

(4) “The Coca-Cola Company: opinions, orders, injunctions, and decrees relating to unfair competition and infringement of trade-mark” 1923