Crist/ Pocahontas/ Spur / Nesbitt's / Falls Mills / Double Cola Bottling Company

Beginning operations in 1919 as the Crist Bottling Company, this company actually lasted over fifty years, providing soft drinks in the small town of Pocahontas VA and later to the area including the counties of Tazewell, Mercer, McDowell, Raleigh, and Buchanan (1), under the leadership of the owner, Nick Crist (1), who's death, sources indicate, influenced the closing of the company sometime in the early 1980's.(2) The company appears to have moved at least three times in its history, the first of which was into the building that had been occupied by the Obbagy Bottling Company in the 1920's, and finally to the small community of Falls Mills about three miles outside of Bluefield, VA.

The Crist Bottling Company is listed in the 1923 and 1925 editions of the Beverage Blue Book; however, they for some reason donít appear in the 1930 edition (4) even though they had to have been as they remodel the building in 1938, and by 1933 had changed their name to the Pocahontas Bottling Works.(1) The Bluefield Daily Telegraph had a full page spread about the remodeling and included several ads pertaining to what they were bottling. And interesting in house brand was Nickís Pale Dry Ginger Ale from 1933. They had been bottling the Jumbo Beverages line in 1934, which was a brand owned by the Seminole Flavor Company, and Pocahontas Club which may be the origin of the Pocahontas Beverages line. I that they picked up the franchise to bottle the other brands that the Seminole Flavor Company produced during the 1930ís including Good Grape, and its replacement Double Grape, Double Orange, Brandywine, and eventually Double Cola which they had just started bottling in 1938, along with Nu-Grape, and Cavalcade Pale Dry Ginger Ale.

For some unknown reason the company is bottling Canada Dryís Spur Cola, and Carlton Club soda by 1941, they also changed the name of the company to the Spur Bottling Company. They have picked up a Nesbittís Orange franchise by 1945. The first ACL (applied color label) Pocahontas Beverages bottles appear around 1947, and carry the Spur Bottling Company name which lends credit to this actually being a name change. According to a lawsuit that was levied against Nick Crist, he had just finished construction on the building for his new plant, and was in the process of moving the bottling equipment to the plant on January 30, 1947, when a woman ran into the trailer that had been left parked on the road in front of the building.(3) I have no idea of the outcome of the case; however, it might have caused a delay as the company appears to be operational again by sometime in 1948. They have changed their name to the Nesbitt Bottling Company and are now bottling Sunny Isles, and have picked up Double Cola once again.

By 1963 they have changed their name to the Falls Mills Bottling Company and have picked up a franchise to bottle the Sun Drop Brand, it isnít too long before they start using 16oz bottles for their Pocahontas Beverages and Double Cola. They continue to bottle until at least 1982 which is the date on the newest Pocahontas Beverages bottle that I can find, which of course is the only brand that still employs a town name at that late a date that the company bottles.

This was the Pocahontas location that seems to have been taken over after the Obbagy Bottling Company went out of business.

This is the Falls Mills location of the bottling company as it stands today.

An Orange Smash bottle from the Crist Bottling Works of Pocahontas VA

7oz Nick's Pale Dry bottle (obviously a Ginger Ale) from the Pocahontas Bottling Works of Pocahontas, VA dated 1933

Bottom of Nicks bottle

Nick's Orange bottle cap from the Pocahontas Bottling Works. Note that the size is 6 1/2oz which means there should be a bottle that size from the company somewhere.

8oz Pocahontas Sodas bottle from the Pocahontas Bottling Works dated 1935. Unforatunately there is no town name listed, but the "Pocahontas Bottling Works" on the bottle matches the one below.

7oz Pocahontas Club bottle from the Pocahontas Bottling Works of Pocahontas, VA dated 1935

Introductory ad for Double Cola from Pocahontas Bottling Works March 10, 1938.

12oz Double Cola dated 1939

Ad for Cavalcade Ginger Ale from March 10, 1938. This brand might be a local created drink.

12oz Spur Cola bottle dated 1941

Bottling companies were known for giving away premium items, and Pocahontas Bottling Works was no different as you can see by this wallet. It was a good way to advertise your product or company.

12oz Carlton Club Beverages bottle dated 1941

7oz Kayo Chocolate bottle dated 1942

12oz Spur Cola bottle dated 1943. Note that the company name and town have moved from the front to the back of the bottle.

6oz Spur Cola bottle dated 1946

10oz Nesbitts Orange bottle dated 1945

7 1/2oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1948

Ad for Double Cola announcing the opening of the new bottling plant in Falls Mills, VA from June 22, 1948.

7oz Sunny Isles bottle dated 1949

7 1/2oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1951

10oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1953

7 1/2oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1963

Receipt from 1964

16oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1965

10oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1966

16oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1966

16oz Double Cola bottle dated 1967, which according to antidotal evidence was bottled at the Falls Mills, VA plant.

16oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1968

16oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1969

A glassworks production sheet for making the Pocahontas Beverage bottle, they would use these as a quality control measure to be sure that the bottle is correct.

16oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1972

Ad for the Nesbitt Double-Cola Bottling Company from 1970.

16oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1975, note the neck label is backwards.

16oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle dated 1976. Who knew that there would be this many variations of the 16oz Pocahontas Beverages bottle?

Nesbitt's Orange Crate from Pocahontas, VA

Double Cola Crate from Falls Mills, VA

Pocahontas Beverages Crate from Falls Mills, VA

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(1) Bluefield Daily Telegraph March 10, 1938

(2) "Double-Cola and antitrust issues: staying alive in the soft drink wars" By Joyce M. Wolburg December 22 2003

(3) Nick Crist V. Mrs. David (Blanche) Fitzgerald March 7, 1949

(4) Beverage Blue Book