The Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company was started by J. M. Huneycutt around 1912 according to James C. Ayer's book,(1) the Heritage of Wise County book claims that prior to 1910 Huneycutt was living in Norton, VA.(2) The same article also claims that F. B. Kline was the person who convinced J. M. Huneycutt to start up a Pepsi-Cola company in Wise County about 1908.(2) The only problem with this is that in the same book, obviously a different author, it's stated that F. B. Kline himself had just started the Norton Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company which was incorporated on March 30, 1908.(2) It makes no sense for him to want a competing operation a few miles away in Appalachia.

I think this conversation came later than that, because, according to Burke Greear, F. B. Kline wrote a letter to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Chattanooga, Tenn., which was the main offices of the bottling part of the company at the time, in 1910, and received permission to bottle Coca-Cola in December of the same year. So his plans for taking over the Coca-Cola bottling came later than this author thought. F. B. Kline's Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company is gone by February 1913, according to the Sanborn maps, is it possible that Kline has gotten Huneycutt to take over the Norton Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company and relocating it to Appalachia where it wouldn't be a direct competitor to his soon to be Coca-Cola market? According to this article the first name for this company was The Pepsi-Cola Bottling Works (2), Ayers book confirms this.(1)

There is only one bottling plant in evidence in Appalachia, VA on the Sanborn maps of February 1913, which is located just across the tracks from the Virginia Wholesale Company's Bake House. I feel that this is the location for the first Pepsi-Cola Bottling Works, because just down the same lot from this building is the Appalachia branch of the Norton Ice Company which F. B. Kline is an officer of in 1907. According to the article Charlie Broadwater provided the money and the building for the new venture at the implied encouragement of F. B. Kline.(2) This location happens to be a very short distance away from his Chero-Cola location on the 1922 sanborn map, which according to this article was the "Huneycutt building".(2)

That leads us to the "Huneycutt Building" itself, apparently by 1918 Huneycutt has vacated the first location. Having purchased lots on Callahan Avenue in November 1913, he would build a new building on these lots between that time and 1917, and move his Pepsi-Cola Bottling Works there.(2) Due to low sugar quotas and aging equipment, Huneycutt needed to find a partner who had a larger sugar quota and newer machinery.(2) The perfect candidate was D. D. Parks who had just opened the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Bristol, VA in March of 1916.(2) D. D. Parks agreed to partner up with J. M. Huneycutt to combine their resources into one bottling company in Appalachia, VA, and moved his entire operation there, thus creating the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Appalachia on March 6, 1918.(2) This would last only about Nine months, on December 2, 1918 D. D. Parks would buy J. M. Huneycutt's share of the business that included a stipulation that Huneycutt wouldn't start another company for at least one year.(2)

Apparently part of the agreement was that D. D. Parks was to be allowed to stay in the Huneycutt building until September 1923(2); however, according to the sanborn map of March 1922, D. D. Parks has already built his new plant up the street from this building. I have to wonder if he didn't immediately build a new building, because J. M. Huneycutt would incorporate the Huneycutt (J. M.) Corporation on August 10, 1920.(3) I seriously doubt that Parks was allowed to continue to operate in the Huneycutt building as the March 1922 Sanborn shows the Chero-Cola Bottling Company occupying that location. Most likely Huneycutt waited until Parks had built his new building which I assume was between December 1918 and August 1920. Around late 1920, D. D. Parks would pick up Orange and Lemon Crush.(2 )

For as long as I've known about this company I've heard about a drink called Hot Tom, in fact most seem completely infatuated with the mystery of this drink, and the connection to the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company. Hot Tom in reality was a drink similar to Ginger Ale which combined extract of ginger, orange, and capsicum, an extract made from chili peppers, with lemon, sugar, and colored with caramel. It was one of a number of concoctions used in the early soda fountain days, and was sometimes combined with alcohol to make a "Hot Tom and Jerry". The Scales-Wilson Company of Greenville, South Carolina decided to trademark the Hot Tom name around 1909 marketing it as particularly adapted for cool weather.

The company actively encouraged bottlers to produce the drink without carbonation, in large bottles or kegs, or carbonated in small bottles. This looseness as to what container the brand could be produced in may be why we have reports of old whiskey bottles being used to bottle Hot Tom. The brand was still going strong by the mid-twenties, this is why it appears that the brand is handed off from J. M. Huneycutt to D. D. Parks as some have suggested. The idea that either one of these men owned the formula, or that Hot Tom was created in Appalachia, is a false one. The same article about the brand goes on to find the author questioning a relative of Huneycutt about Hot Tom, and being told that they thought it was being produced by a "Scales in Winston-Salem, NC". This was a valuable clue that resulted in finally solving this mystery, as the relative just remembered it wrong which happens with anecdotal evidence.

Apparently D. D. Parks would shut down the company in 1924 and sold his bottling equipment to Jackson and Barker of Pennington Gap, around March 18, 1925.(2) The building went into creating D. D. Parks newest business venture, a car dealership.(2) Indeed the Sanborn maps from 1929 confirm this.

This empty lot is what is left of the "Huneycutt Building". The only thing left is the concrete floor of the building.

This building sits on the last location of the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Appalachia, VA. I don't know for sure if the original building was incorporated into this present structure; however, it is possible.

A June 24, 1914 ad from the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Works of Appalachia, VA.

From the collection of Mac Ellison, photo by Joseph Lee
early 6oz straight side bottle from Appalachia, VA

A 1912 ad from the Scales-Wilson Company of Greenville, SC. I wonder if they also bottled SW Grape?

From the collection of Frank Anderson, photo by Joseph Lee
6oz script straight side bottle from Appalachia, VA

A crockware dispenser and bottle cap for Hot Tom.

6oz straight side bottle from Appalachia, VA

A September 8, 1920 Orange Crush/Lemon Crush ad from the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Appalachia, VA.

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(1) "Pepsi : Cola Bottles & More Collectors Guide Vol. 2" By James C. Ayers Copyright 2001

(2) "The Heritage of Wise County and The City of Norton 1856-2001 Vol. 2" by The Wise County Historical Society

(3) Report of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to the Governor and General 1921