The Tip Corporation of America was incorporated on July 18, 1944, with Clay F. Church as President, C. C. Lincoln, Jr. as first Vice President, J. D. Lincoln as Second Vice president, all of Marion, VA, and Numa S. Forester, Jr. as Secretary-Treasurer.(4) Clay F. Church and N. S. Forester were the founders of the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Marion, VA in 1937.(2) Forester lived in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina where he operated the Forester Beverage Company which produced Pepsi-Cola along with distributing Budweiser beer.(2) Of course Forester also operated two other businesses out of the same building including Mountain Maid brand Ice Cream produced by Forester Ice Cream Company, and the North Wilkesboro Candy Company.(3) Clay F. Church had moved to Marion from his home town of Elkin, NC where he had been a member of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, and an associate of his father in his gas and oil business, in order to operate the plant.(2)

The leader for the company was a grape soda named Tip, which was created by J. N. Gary Jr. of the Gary Beverage Company, which Clay and Forester had purchased after the war's sugar rationing had adversely affected the Tip Company portion of Gary Beverage's business. You can read more about the early history of the brand by clicking the TIP brand link. Tip had been created in order to take advantage of a new light weight 6oz bottle back in 1938, and it is claimed that Clay Church wanted to turn Tip into what could be termed a Grapette killer, which was also a grape soda that was bottled in the same style bottle, and had become quite popular in the South. It wasn't long before Clay Church hired Bill Jones to look after the Tip Corporation after he was drafted into military service in World War II.(1) The Tip Corporation shared the same building as the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company and Southwest Distributing on West Main Street, eventually it grew too large forcing them to build a new building on North Main Street to house the corporation in late 1947.(2) It was also at this time that Clay Church handed over the Presidency of the corporation to Bill Jones, and became Chairman of the Board.(2) The new building would include facilities for blending Tip Concentrate, storage for the same, offices, and a laboratory, but no bottling ability.(2)

It was the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Marion, VA who bottled Tip locally under the name of The Tip Company.(2) An interesting twist is that the Sun Flower Beverage bottles, the brand being trademarked by the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Marion in 1939 (5), now say The Tip Company Marion, VA on them, and the brand is being franchised to other bottlers. The most noteworthy being not only Forester's own bottling plant in North Wilkesboro, NC, which had been bottling a Blue & Yellow labeled version of the bottle since the early 1940's, but in Greenville, NC with its Brown & Yellow label version, and in Norton, VA which used the 12oz Blue & White version. There is evidence of at least one bottler being allowed to use the Tip bottles to bottle a flavor line. Tri-City Beverage did this in 1948 just prior to creating their Tri-City Beverages line. The flavors included Tip Orange, Tip Lemon-Lime, Tip Strawberry, Tip Peach, Tip Ginger-Ale, and of course "unique-flavored" Tip (grape). They didn't do this long as they purchased quart Tri-City Beverages bottles in 1948, and 8oz versions in 1950. Whether or not this was something Bill Jones approved has yet to be discovered, but I doubt it would have continued for two years without his noticing, so the question is did he allow others to do this, and is that why the 10oz red & white label bottles, introduced in 1948, were created?

The corporation was starting to get into real trouble around 1955 as Tip alone was no longer popular enough to keep it afloat. One thing that did keep the corporation going was Bill Jones' practice of creating soft drink formulas for other bottlers. Bill kept the formula created so that these bottlers had to purchase these concentrates from his company. The association of Clay Church along with the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Marion and the Tip Corporation ended around 1957 when the Corporation was on the brink of bankruptcy. Sun Flower Beverages was taken with Church to once again be the Marion Dr. Pepper's flavor line, and the bottles were redesigned around 1959. On June 11th 1958, The Tip Corporation of America re-incorporated with Bill Jones as President, Treasurer, and General Manager. The other investors in the reorganized corporation were Wythe Hull (of the Marion Bottling Company), Ally Hartman (of Hartman Beverage), Richard and Herman Minges (who both owned Pepsi-Cola bottling companies in North Carolina).(1) Hartman Beverages from Knoxville, Tennessee offered as part of their buy in their Mountain Dew trademark, a lithinated lemon soda like 7-Up with a hillbilly theme, which gave the corporation another leader to franchise alongside Tip.(1)

Things seemed to be working out with the new flavor as new franchises were signing up, which had dropped to about five before the restructuring. The only problem was that many of these new franchises were Pepsi-Cola Bottlers, and Pepsi introduced their new Teem soda in the early 1960's.(1) Teem was a lithinated lemon soda as well, and Pepsi had a rule that their bottlers couldn’t bottle a competing brand with the same flavor as one of their own.(1) Bill Jones had a problem, so he started trying to come up with a new formula for Mountain Dew which by this point was gaining traction. He introduced the new formula in August 1962 to the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Gastonia, NC.(6) North Carolina was of course the state where most of his Pepsi connected franchises were located. This new formula was a citrus lemonade type flavor similar to Sun Drop which had been reformulated in 1952.

The new formula was a hit, and Bill Jones soon found that the demand for concentrate was now getting beyond his ability to produce. This lead to shortages, which prompted the Minges brothers who were partners in the Corporation as well as Pepsi bottlers in North Carolina to approach the Pepsi-Cola Corporation about purchasing the Mountain Dew brand, which they did in June 1964.(1) Actually they purchased the entire corporation, which left Bill Jones twenty dollars short of being a millionaire.(1) Of course he bought himself a Lincoln Continental and retired. The Tip Corporation, spent a short time at the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Marion, VA, but was eventually moved to Arlington, VA where it produced Mountain Dew extract until Mountain Dew was incorporated into the main Pepsi-Cola Corporation in the late 1960's.(1) The last incarnation of the Tip Corporation was dissolved on January 30, 1967.

Was it the end for the Tip brand? In my researching of the Tip trademark I came across an interesting find. In 1981 Pepsi renewed the trademark for Tip, the specimen sent was a generic looking black and white label that reads "Tip Citrus Soda 10 FL. OZ.", and appears to be the label for a 10oz No Deposit No Return bottle. Was Mountain Dew being sold as Tip somewhere due to the shady nature of the original alcoholic beverage that Mountain Dew is named after? Were they trying to re-brand Mountain Dew for the same reason? We are just left to wonder, but I would love to find a throw away out there with this label attached for the collection.

The Tip Corporation building as it stands today

On the left is Clay Church and on the right is N. S. Forester, Jr. from the Smyth County News of March 17, 1942.

6oz Tip bottle dated 1945

Tip advertisement from November, 1945

6oz Tip bottle dated 1946

TIP bottle cap

6oz Tip bottle dated 1947, note that this variation has an orange peel texture on the neck and the heel that resembles a Grapette bottle.

I have now found evidence to back up my claim that the Dr. Pepper was bottling for the Tip Corporation, in the form of these two ads. The first one is from July 15, 1948 which relates that the brand is being bottled by the Tip Bottling Company, but the next ad placed on August 15, 1948 changes that information to it being bottled by the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Marion, VA.

6oz Tip bottle dated 1947, this variation is smooth with no texture at all.

TIP Grape Soda bottle cap

6oz Tip bottle dated 1947, this variation is interesting due to its having two lines on the top of the main label and four on the bottom instead of the more common three and five.

Two Sun Flower Beverages bottle caps

12oz Sunflower beverages bottle dated 1948

Tip advertisement from May, 1946

6oz Tip bottle dated 1948

Tip advertisement from July, 1947

From the collection of Frank Anderson, photo by Joseph Lee
10oz Tip bottle "Trade Mark Reg." dated 1948

Tip 30 bottle crate

10oz Tip bottle "registered symbol" variation dated 1948

10oz Sunflower beverages bottle dated 1949

10oz Sunflower beverages bottle dated 1952

This page is only part of a much larger site. To see the rest then just click TAZEWELL-ORANGE.COM and the contents on this site are copyrighted by Joseph T. Lee III except where otherwise noted see Terms of Use.


(1) "Mountain Dew: The History" By Dick Bridgforth, Copyright 2007 by Richlard Bridgforth

(2) The Smyth County News

(3) Miller's North Wilkesboro, N. C. City Directory

(4) Smyth County Courthouse records

(5) Official gazette of the United States Patent Office

(6) The Gastonia Gazette