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Cheer-wined
02-25-2007, 05:06 PM
Last week I went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and finished the vacation by driving north through Mississippi to Memphis.

Starting in New Orleans ...

As posted earlier on this board, Cadbury-Schweppes brands in New Orleans have been taken over by the newly created Seven Up Southeast division of CSAB. Most of their products (Welch’s, A&W, 7Up, Sunkist, etc.) I saw were coming from Dr Pepper of Texas.

Big Shot Beverages of Harahan distributes mostly National Beverage brands now – Everfresh, Faygo, Ohana, Big Shot plus Arizona and Fuze. Unique Grocery on Royal St. (near Canal) has a Big Shot branded cooler and a big selection of Big Shot in cans/24oz., a total of 8 flavors (peach, pineapple, grape, orange, strawberry, root beer, cream, fruit punch). This store had a good selection of single sodas, including Welch’s fruit punch – which I didn’t find anywhere else in town. See 1st thumbnail for some of the cans found in New Orleans.

Coke is CCE/Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling of Harahan. As you’d expect, Barq’s root beer is all over the place, 12oz glass, fridgepacks, 8oz cans, etc. See thumbnail #2 for an old Barq’s vending machine that sits at Mike Serio’s deli, located off St. Charles near Canal.

Barq’s red cream in PET/cans everywhere too, but no vanilla crème – the Coke delivery guy at Dorignac’s says they don’t distribute it in this area anymore. Coke also has Delaware Punch, Mello Yello, Vault, Fanta (grape, orange, pineapple, strawberry), Dr Pepper, and Schweppes as their ginger ale. Also saw 8oz glass and some 10oz deli Coke products in grocery stores.

Pepsi is PepsiAmericas, production plant is in Reserve LA (code RL). In addition to the usual stuff, this bottler has Crush as their orange soda, but I did not see a grape soda in their sets. They have all the Hawaiian Punch flavors, LiveWire, Mug cream, etc. See thumbnail #3 for the Diet Pepsi yardbyyard.com can that's promoting a relief effort to build houses for Katrina victims in the Gulf states.

New Orleans is home to a bunch of great food brands (I especially like Hubig’s pies and Zapp’s chips-best anywhere!) so I checked out several supermarkets while stocking up.

Breaux Mart had Big Shot 6-packs for $2.19, and 8oz 6-packs of C-S brands (Big Red, diet 7up, A&W, Diet Rite). Dorignac’s had a few unusual products: Squirt, Diet RC, Big Shot 2L’s and Barritt’s ginger beer.

I also visited two of the local Frostop restaurants, the one in Kenner (thumbnail #4) and Ted’s Frostop near Tulane University. The mug at Ted’s was blown over by Katrina and now sits on it’s top in the parking lot… see thumbnail #5 for one of their flyers.

Cheer-wined
02-25-2007, 05:35 PM
After Mardi Gras, I picked up a rental car & headed north, across Lake Pontchartrain, to visit Abita Springs Brewery’s brewpub. Great beer, plus they make their own root beer (mentioned on the board before), and serve it on tap at the brewpub. (see thumbnail #1)

From Abita I continued north towards Mississippi; near Folsom LA, I spotted this Big Shot vending machine (see thumbnail #2). I didn’t know how far north the brand was distributed, later in the trip I spotted it in Vicksburg MS.

All three bottlers changed when I entered Mississippi –Coke goes from CCE to Coke United, Pepsi from PepsiAmericas to Brown Bottling Group, and Cadbury Schweppes moves from Seven Up Southeast to Hattiesburg Beverage. Jbwalters gave me some great tips for finding Nehi blue in Tylertown; this was on the way to Hattiesburg so it made for a good diversion.

First stop in Tylertown was at the Chevron station across from Tylertown Plaza. That’s where I found the angle bottles (thumbnail #3) of Big Red products (produced by Coke United in Hattiesburg).

The 3rd tier sets at the Chevron and at the Piggly Wiggly in Tylertown Plaza were in transition – Hattiesburg Beverage is in the middle of switching suppliers. Until recently Hattiesburg Beverage had bought product from Mellow Moon (Nehi, RC, Diet Rite, Sundrop, A&W, etc.) but that has ended and now they’re buying from Big Springs. I was surprised by the variety of C-S brands produced by Big Springs - 7Up, A&W, Sundrop, RC, Diet Rite and more.

The Mellow Moon brands which aren’t produced by Big Springs – like Nehi grape, orange, blue, strawberry and RC Cherry – are being replaced (Nehi grape/strawberry by Welch’s, Nehi orange by Crush) or discontinued (Nehi blue and RC cherry) in Hattiesburg Bev’s territory.

At the Piggly Wiggly I found a dwindling supply of RC cherry, Diet RC, Nehi strawberry and blue cream. Their 3rd tier set also had 6 packs of Sundrop, A&W, Diet Rite, RC, Crush and coolpacks of Nehi Peach.

Brown Bottling has the Sunkist franchise, and they had 12-packs of orange, diet orange, grape, strawberry and cherry limeade. Brown also has the Dr Pepper franchise.

Coke United had a lot of Fanta flavors in 20oz, including grape, orange, apple, pineapple and strawberry. Coke sets also included Delaware Punch, Mello Yello, Vault and lots of Barq’s including red cream and 6-packs of 12oz glass root beer.

Cheer-wined
02-25-2007, 05:43 PM
Coke United’s local bottling plant was in Hattiesburg, my next overnight stop. Thumbnail #1 is a shot of the plant entrance.

Thumbnail #2 is a graphic was scanned from the back page of their 100th Anniversary (2006) commemorative magazine – it shows many of the brands they produce.

I had to look in a couple of stores before finding Barq’s French Vanilla in cans (thumbnail #3) – these came from one of the Big Star supermarkets, they had a great selection of 6 packs: Big Red, Big Punch, Big Peach all 3/$5; Barq’s red cream & French vanilla. The same store also had Cheerwine, Squirt, Welch’s Fruit Punch, Crush and Sundrop.

After Hattiesburg, I headed north towards Jackson MS. I stopped at a Piggly Wiggly in Seminary MS where I found the very elusive Mr. Pig – too good to pass up. Across the street was a little diner with this vintage Barq’s sign.

Jackson MS is home to Brown Bottling and also Coca-Cola of Jackson (CCE). I was more interested in the 3rd tier distributor, Royal Crown of Mississippi, located just south in Richland. RC of Mississippi until recently was owned by Mellow Moon; they’ve sold the business to Seven Up Southeast. Similar situation to Hattiesburg – local grocery stores are selling off the remaining stocks of Mellow Moon product and gradually replacing with product from Dr Pepper of Texas.

At the Kroger in Richland, I saw 6-packs of Nehi orange, grape, strawberry and peach. The IGA store in Florence had A&W and RC longnecks produced by Mellow Moon.

I stopped at the Seven Up Southeast office and picked up a copy of their new product list– mostly standard DPSUBG brands. Gone are Nehi grape, strawberry and orange, replaced by Welch’s and Crush. Also on the new list: Sundrop, Big Red, RC, Diet RC, Nehi peach, Diet Rite, A&W, 7Up/Cherry 7Up, Vernor’s. The list shows 12oz. longnecks: RC, Crush, Nehi peach, A&W, Big Red, 7Up. I would imagine these are bottled by Dr Pepper Texas but I saw none in the stores.

Cheer-wined
02-25-2007, 06:16 PM
Next stop after Jackson was Vicksburg. There I visited the Museum of Coca-Cola History and Memorabilia (thumbnail #1). It’s located in the old Biedenharn Candy Co. building, where Coke was first bottled in 1894. This museum is a bit different from the Coke exhibits in Elizabethtown KY, Tullahoma TN or Atlanta – their focus is more towards the early bottling process, the history of Coke in Mississippi and the operation of early soda fountains.

The Big Three are the same in Vicksburg as in Jackson, but there is also a small distributor, Bluff City, handling National Bev. brands including Big Shot. Country Market store near downtown had many flavors in 24oz.

From Vicksburg, I passed north on the Blues Hwy (US 61), through Greenville and Indianola on the way to Cleveland. Sharkey Co. (north of Vicksburg) switches to Pepsi Americas and I saw Slice grape, orange, peach and strawberry there.

Spotted another Frostop in Greenville, a bit run down but still with the giant mug out front. (thumbnail #2). The Kroger in Greenville had Nugrape, MD Livewire, Trop Twister orange, Mug cream and other regular Pepsi brands. Third tier was with All-American/CSAB, pretty much standard stuff.

Bolivar County (Cleveland) is anything but usual. The Nehi Bottling Company of Cleveland (thumbnail #3) has the 3rd tier and they carry Nehi grape, strawberry, peach, Regular & Cherry RC, Sunkist orange & cherry limeade, Dr Pepper, 7Up, A&W, Diet Rite. Unusual to find an independant 3rd tier bottler that still has Dr Pepper. They buy a lot of product from RC Evansville (including the Nehi cans and 20oz) but I saw very little Nehi from Mellow Moon, mostly 2L's and some 4x3 packs. No glass at all from this distributor.

Their territory is small, only a few counties - Bolivar and Coahoma for sure, but they're hemmed in by All-American to the south.

Headed back to Memphis for a few days with some kin, then flew back to NC. Nice trip, beautiful weather down south ... highly recommend this route!

drpep
02-25-2007, 09:26 PM
In the first post , the picture of the Big Shot cans, what is the can to the left of the Welchs Punch and behind the little Barqs?
Cans of Mr Pig should be just over the NC/SC border in the SC Piggly Wigglys. Somewhat hard to find but they have been spotted by me in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

fusion
02-25-2007, 11:08 PM
Thanks for the detailed report! I had planned on visiting southern MS on a previous trip, but the hurricane damage prevented that. I never made it south of Sardis/Tupelo.

It's sad to see all the old products being phased out in favor of the same old boring stuff after the franchises change hands.

What exactly does delaware punch taste like? Funny how it's sold nowhere near Delaware - wonder how it got its' name, anyway.

Ram0n C0keah0lic
02-25-2007, 11:59 PM
I love the 100 years sign with the logos on them... thanks for posting!

Mr Zabe
02-26-2007, 12:14 AM
So cool to read in detail about your soda pop quest of the Big Easy.
Say is that Diet RC sweetened with aspartame? In it's day Diet RC with aspartame was a nice alternative to Diet Coke/Diet Pepsi. I use to buy it on sale when I was penny poor.

Tom Servo
02-27-2007, 08:47 AM
Cheer-wined:

Great write-up on your trip. Looks like I may not be heading down to the Hattiesburg area after all for my Cherry RC fix.

I'm not too far from Cleveland so I'll head that way to look for it there. Do you recall anywhere specific in Bolivar County that carried all the Nehi Bottling Company's stuff? I've been to the Kroger several times and never noticed Cherry RC there.

fusion:

Delaware Punch is a fruit-flavored non-carbonated drink.

It's heavy on the grape, but with other fruit elements that kind of set it apart from carbonated grape drinks. I'm not an expert on grape-flavored drinks but you get the idea. :)

I was told it's being sold in many parts of Mississippi because of all the Katrina refugees; it's sold around Jackson and at C-Stores here in Grenada.

Cheer-wined
02-27-2007, 10:53 PM
In the first post , the picture of the Big Shot cans, what is the can to the left of the Welchs Punch and behind the little Barqs?
Cans of Mr Pig should be just over the NC/SC border in the SC Piggly Wigglys. Somewhat hard to find but they have been spotted by me in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

That's a can of Community Iced Tea. Community Coffee is a big brand down there, they also have canned tea in a regular and diet version. The regular was a red can and the diet was white.
I have looked all over the Piggly Wiggly's in bordering states but never found Mr. Pig except in 2L's. But I haven't been downstate in SC in quite a while, I'll have a look next time I'm there.

Cheer-wined
02-27-2007, 11:04 PM
Cheer-wined:

I'm not too far from Cleveland so I'll head that way to look for it there. Do you recall anywhere specific in Bolivar County that carried all the Nehi Bottling Company's stuff? I've been to the Kroger several times and never noticed Cherry RC there.

fusion:

Delaware Punch is a fruit-flavored non-carbonated drink.

It's heavy on the grape, but with other fruit elements that kind of set it apart from carbonated grape drinks. I'm not an expert on grape-flavored drinks but you get the idea. :)

I was told it's being sold in many parts of Mississippi because of all the Katrina refugees; it's sold around Jackson and at C-Stores here in Grenada.

In Cleveland - stopped at the Wal-Mart and they had all the Nehi flavors and I believe RC Cherry. Give 'em a call, maybe they can confirm. I definitely remember seeing the 20oz cherry at c-stores.

That is a good description of Delaware punch, "heavy on the grape" - kinda tart and not really like other fruit punches. Last year I saw it in Memphis and eastern Arkansas - I really don't know over how far an area it's distributed. It was being canned by CCE in Nacogdoches, TX.

Cheer-wined
02-27-2007, 11:34 PM
It's sad to see all the old products being phased out in favor of the same old boring stuff after the franchises change hands.

I agree. In recent years I haven't seen any state where the Nehi brand had such wide distribution as in Mississippi. The brand gets no corporate support whatsoever so it's just dying a slow painful death - except for Nehi peach, which I think will remain in the 3rd tier sets throughout the south.

Cheer-wined
02-27-2007, 11:45 PM
So cool to read in detail about your soda pop quest of the Big Easy.
Say is that Diet RC sweetened with aspartame? In it's day Diet RC with aspartame was a nice alternative to Diet Coke/Diet Pepsi. I use to buy it on sale when I was penny poor.

Diet RC is now sweetened with splenda. I don't like the taste of diet sodas but I think Diet RC is pretty good (better than Diet Rite cola IMO). Unfortunately the stuff is so hard to find in most markets.

fusion
02-28-2007, 12:14 AM
Coke United’s local bottling plant (code GB) was in Hattiesburg, my next overnight stop. Thumbnail #1 is a shot of the plant entrance.



Are you sure that Hattiesburg is GB? I always thought that Baton Rouge was GB, and Hattiesburg was HE.

Tom Servo
02-28-2007, 04:10 AM
Thanks for the info. Actually I got antsy (I've had terrible insomnia for the past few days for some reason) and drove out there before you replied.

I got some 20 oz. at a c-store and picked up 3 12-packs at Vonell's Marketplace, a little independent grocer at the crossroads in Cleveland. 3 for $8, not bad. Outside, no less than four RC machines stocked full of RC and Nehi, for 25¢ a can!

The clerks at the c-store and supermarket both said they loved Cherry RC, and that it and Nehi both sell fairly well in the area.

I'll be heading back out there soon; I mentioned casually to my father how much Nehi I saw and he about deficated a brick -- now he wants me to go pick some up. Said a Nehi Grape was about his favorite non-cola drink as a kid in Alabama.

Tom Servo
02-28-2007, 04:11 AM
Oh! I almost forgot. Did you happen to see any Cheerwine on your trip? A friend of mine from Birmingham has got me craving some, and they don't sell it around here.

The BigTymer
02-28-2007, 09:40 AM
Oh! I almost forgot. Did you happen to see any Cheerwine on your trip? A friend of mine from Birmingham has got me craving some, and they don't sell it around here.

Cheerwine is actually available from the 7UP distributors in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Hattiesburg.

The problem is that no stores have picked it up, despite my calls to 7UP and the stores in my area.

And I'm desperate, since my Mobile Cheerwine stash from Halloween has just run out.

drpep
02-28-2007, 07:53 PM
I have looked all over the Piggly Wiggly's in bordering states but never found Mr. Pig except in 2L's. But I haven't been downstate in SC in quite a while, I'll have a look next time I'm there.

Chesterfield, on Rt 9 about 15 miles west of Cheraw was where I have seen for the last 2 years. I've seen it , in cans, only in Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. stores (www.thepig.net). Never saw it in North Carolina, I don't even recall PW brand soda in NC stores.

Cheer-wined
03-03-2007, 10:12 AM
Are you sure that Hattiesburg is GB? I always thought that Baton Rouge was GB, and Hattiesburg was HE.
Yes Baton Rouge must be GB - Hattiesburg only produces 1/2 liter, 13.2oz, 20oz, 2-liter but the canned Coke products I found in town came from GB (Baton Rouge does have a can line). In fact, most of the product I recall seeing in Hattiesburg came from GB.

Cheer-wined
03-03-2007, 10:15 AM
Oh! I almost forgot. Did you happen to see any Cheerwine on your trip? A friend of mine from Birmingham has got me craving some, and they don't sell it around here.

I only saw Cheerwine once, at a Big Star grocery on the North side of Hattiesburg (N. Main Street).

Cheer-wined
03-03-2007, 10:19 AM
Never saw it in North Carolina, I don't even recall PW brand soda in NC stores. Yep, the stores in SC are under different ownership. NC stores (and the one in VA) use Nash Finch's "Our Family" brand.

The BigTymer
03-05-2007, 05:14 PM
I only saw Cheerwine once, at a Big Star grocery on the North side of Hattiesburg (N. Main Street).

Seems I need to make a trip to Hub City real soon.

Cheer-wined
03-09-2007, 11:33 PM
Hattiesburg is really an ideal market for Cheerwine since Big Red is with Coke. I've seen very few distributors willing to push more than one indy "red" soda. Cheerwine usually struggles in areas where Big Red has a foothold.