View Full Version : WI/MN Soda Run

Dr. Galaga
08-02-2006, 06:02 PM
Here are some pictures from my run through Wisconsin and Minnesota to get some soda in glass for my machine (and for some friends). As you can tell one of my stops is the Winona, MN Coke plant.
My first stop was Stone Cellar Brewpub in Appleton, WI. I just found this place and I called about getting some root beer. They said that they were out but may be bottling some on the next few days. When I stopped there they said that they were still out of root beer and will not be bottling any for a few days. Oh well, that just meant that I had to get some more non-root beer! I had some of their honey-wheat beer with my lunch. Very tasty. On my way out of Appleton I passed a McDonald’s Classic in a gas station. I’ve never seen one called this before!
My next stop was Seymour Bottling in Seymour, WI. This was my first time at the plant. In the past I have just picked up some at the nearby grocery store. Wow, what a place. Old bottles from closed-up bottlers stacked everywhere (all they do are returnables).

Dr. Galaga
08-02-2006, 06:05 PM
My next stop was Twig’s in Shawano, WI. I picked up 10 more cases than I dropped off and I got quite a shock at the final bill. They just upped the deposit on the bottles to $10 a case! I guess they were having a problem with people not retuning them. I also misjudged the height of the cases from Seymour (since I had 7 oz. bottles before and this time I got 10 oz. bottles). Hmmmm, they were too tall to fit a second layer in the trailer except for in the very middle. The guy gave me a strange look when he saw all of the other bottles that I had when I reorganized.
Across the street there was an old building and it looks like there are two cappers on the porch/dock!
I drove around the block to get some gas and saw the front of the building that had the cappers out back. It used to be Farmers Brewing Company. You can see a Sun-Drop truck in the background on the left.
More pics and info later!

Ram0n C0keah0lic
08-02-2006, 07:54 PM
Thanks for the pics Dr. Galaga... I'm amazed of the finest american architecture, it's so beautiful... the houses... the buildings... please post a pic of the Coca-Cola Bottling plant at Winona, MN. I'll stay tuned...

David J.
08-02-2006, 08:09 PM
My dad was from winona, and I was just there. Great little town.

08-02-2006, 08:25 PM
Funny I have been to Twig's numerous times and always thought the building across the street was the old brewery. I never noticed the sign up near the top before. I guess I better get some new glasses. tongue.gif

08-03-2006, 10:19 PM
This is good stuff ... keep posting!

I'm going through eastern MN/western WI next month and I'm looking for recommendations. So far I plan on visiting Marcel's, August Schell, Winona, Spring Grove, City Brewing in LaCrosse and Leinenkugel.

Any other ideas?

I read that Spring Grove had switched from 10oz to 12 oz bottles - does anyone still find the 10oz?

Dr. Galaga
08-04-2006, 06:00 PM
Yes, Spring Grove switched over to the long necks (from the deli bottles). I had to stop at a number of places to find some. It cost me $5.39 (plus tax) for a six pack. I'll post pics when I get home since everything is packed away. Boy, the back end of my truck is getting low!

Today I stopped at the Winona Coke plant.
Here is a few picks of what you see when you walk in the door before you get to the office.
The son in-law gave my uncle and I a quick tour of the bottling line. I asked about taking pictures and he said not this time since they are working on some things with it. It was pretty interesting to see how a larger bottling operation works. And no, they were not bottling when I was there.

I tried to stop at the New London Kist plant yesterday. What a mess! The main road in to town was closed (river town) so I had to go a few miles down to get in to town. I took me awhile to find my way around town (due to the detour) and they were closed. I looked for a grocery store, but couldn't find one on my way out. I did stop by a store in Stevens Point to pick up some Point beer and pop. That is one more place for you to stop Cheer-wined, or you should find some on your route through Wisconsin.
I will probably make a few stops on my way home in a few days.

08-04-2006, 07:06 PM
I don't know if I would go out of my way to New London the last time I was there they had less than 20 cases left. The owner who is the 3rd generation doesn't really want to run the place anymore and was trying to sell the place. If it didn't sell he was going to close it down. It may be closed now so I would suggest calling before going.

Dr Galaga - I don't think you would have found their product in the grocery store anyway so no loss. I checked the last time I was there.

Ram0n C0keah0lic
08-04-2006, 09:28 PM
Beautiful pics of the Winona Coke Bottling Plant! Thanks Dr. Galaga! smile.gif

BTW... what are those orange soda bottles?... Fanta?

Dr. Galaga
08-04-2006, 10:43 PM
It's a shame that we may have to scratch another bottler off our list. :( I remember you saying before that the plant was for sale, but I didn't realize that it was a sell it or shut it thing.
Winona Coke also bottles Sun Rise drinks (I wish that they did bottle Fanta because I had a chance to get a few cases of 10 oz. bottles). I only saw Orange and a red colored one. They said that they stopped doing some flavors like Cream Soda because they only sold a few cases a year. The Sun Rise bottles are just like the Coke bottles, you have to have the same kind of empties to trade in.

Dr. Galaga
08-08-2006, 02:18 PM
I'm back and just got done unloading the 50-some cases that I got. Here are some more pics of them. I just tried a Cream Soda from Spring Grove. Very good. Lots of flavor, but not too strong. Here's a pic of every flavor except Orange (Orange Cream is pictured) in their new bottles.
One thing I found interesting is that a large portion of the 10 oz. bottles that I got from Seymour were from Little Chute Beverages (about 17 miles south of Seymour). Neat little bottles from a closed up bottler.
On my way home yesterday I stopped at Millstream Brewing in Amana, Iowa. They brew many kinds of beer and also make Root Beer, Black Cherry and Cream Soda.

Dr. Galaga
08-08-2006, 02:26 PM
The first place I stopped was Stome Cellar Brewpub. They silkscreen their own bottles and they also do custom bottles. You could get your own beer name or have them for party favors. They were out of Root Beer, but here are some of the beer that I picked up.
Here are some beer and pop that I picked up from Stevens Point Brewery. The Root Beer is sweetened with honey and sugar.
The final picture is a shot of most of the stuff that I have to go make room for now!
I think I'll be set until next summer!

[ 08-08-2006, 02:28 PM: Message edited by: Dr. Galaga ]

Ram0n C0keah0lic
08-08-2006, 04:37 PM
Wow! :eek: Amazing Coke supply!

David J.
08-09-2006, 12:15 AM
I noticed that Vault is rather big in Winona, always on sale and I saw no less than five billboards. smile.gif

08-09-2006, 10:20 AM
Nice pics of the Coke Plant. So that's what it looks like inside smile.gif I've seen it outside but never been able to bring myself to go inside. I only worked for Pepsi for a few months in the mid 90's but I just can't go in there. But I don't like Coke to drink at all. Sprite is good, and I'll hit the downtown Winona IGA for a case of it a couple of times a year. Makes for nice road trip. But that's mostly a novelty for me. Sprite in bottles tastes to me about the same as it does in plastic bottles.

Actually I just went through Winona last Friday myself. (turned in a case of empty Sprite bottles for full ones) Then headed down the Great River Road to Clinton Iowa to get into the distribution area for Kitchen Cooked Potato Chips, the best chips in the USA. Then back across the plains on US30. Made for a nice road trip, just before it looks like gasoline prices are poised to jump again. Probably a good thing it's not a Pepsi bottler in Winona, I bet I've saved a lot of money on gasoline since AD Heusing stopped bottling in Davenport at the end of 2001.


Mr Zabe
08-09-2006, 10:26 AM
What a great trip.
Good soda pop and good chips! YUM smile.gif

Dr. Galaga
08-09-2006, 02:10 PM
Yea Ramon Cokeaholic, just about every day I'll have a 6.5 oz. bottle of Coke when I get home from work. :D
I was surprised by the by the number of Mellow Yellow vending machines in that part of MN and neighboring WI!
Kitchen Cooked Potato Chips? Are they thick like kettle cooked? I found gas to be the cheapest in the NE corner of Iowa - $2.89 a gallon. :eek:

[ 08-09-2006, 02:11 PM: Message edited by: Dr. Galaga ]

David J.
08-09-2006, 03:15 PM
When I was visiting realitives, I drank a lot of MY. Great stuff.

08-09-2006, 08:41 PM
Great pictures ... my Wisconsin part of the trip will only include LaCrosse, Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, but I would love to visit Stevens Point later. I found some of their sodas at a liquor store in Atlanta last week, kinda odd since they didn't carry Point beers. Haven't tried them yet but I have high hopes.

The Spring Grove bottles are ACL?

Dr. Galaga
08-09-2006, 09:49 PM
The Spring Grove bottles are a white on clear label. Can't wait to try their other flavors. Today I tried the 76 from Twig's. It's a lemon-lime soda. It has it's own taste (wasn't a direct copycat of 7Up, Sprite or the others), overall it was pretty good.

08-09-2006, 09:55 PM
Originally posted by Dr. Galaga:
Kitchen Cooked Potato Chips? Are they thick like kettle cooked? I found gas to be the cheapest in the NE corner of Iowa - $2.89 a gallon. :eek: The cheapest I found gas was in Cheyenne - 2.86. The most I paid was about 3.10.

Kitchen Cooked chips, they are thick kettle cooked chips but not quite as crunchy as some types of kettle cooked ones. They differ from chips found in my part of the country in that they are cooked in soy shortening and not corn oil. This means they have *gasp* trans fat in them so they aren't as healthy as other kinds of chips. But they are very good. About the same as Mrs. Fischers chips sold in my hometown of Rockford, IL. Jay's old-fashioned kettle-cooked variety also taste similar. But the Kitchen Cooked ones are the best.


Rob The SURGE Drinker
08-09-2006, 10:01 PM
ohhh, i remember getting some Mrs. Fischers chips at a gas station in rockford once, i had stopped to grab a cheerwine, but was hungry as well so grabbed some of those as they looked good, and i tried them in the car, and went back in and grabbed what was left on the shelf for home... i gotta go get some of those soon...

Dr. Galaga
11-23-2006, 11:43 AM
Instead of starting a new thread, I'll just add it here. My dad sent me a Blog that mentions the New London Kist Bottling Co. The entry (http://probonobaker.typepad.com/probonobaker/) (October 9, 2006) references a trip from a year ago, so who knows if this little store still has some.

[ 11-23-2006, 11:44 AM: Message edited by: Dr. Galaga ]

12-18-2006, 05:26 PM
As a kid we used to get all the Little Chute sodas in 32 oz Glass bottles. I would kill for some Little Chute Black Cherry or Lime to this day. The orange and fruit punch were also very good. My Grandmother always had a few cases of Seymour 8 oz bottles of assorted flavors on hand.

[ 12-18-2006, 05:29 PM: Message edited by: javaroast ]