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View Full Version : Working on a map of the United States, but beverage oriented.



thesodacave
05-17-2015, 04:47 AM
Since my side job is selling drinks (never anything new, pretty much only selling Delaware Punch and Pineapple Crush), I have set out with the task of creating a map of my state that shows beverage distribution zones for different companies, and what drinks are available in those areas. It will be free of charge, and will help anyone with a road trip determine which gas station they have to stop at before they miss the chance of buying certain drinks (Pibb Zero for those diet drinkers out there, a 12-pack of Peach Sunkist for mom, or one last bottle of Sierra Mist Cranberry, in July, for the road!), or if a 10-mile detour means tasting Grape Nehi for the first time. To do so, I need your help, Bevnet Community!

You can post in your replies what the cooler of your favorite convenience store looks like, especially one with large varieties of the big three companies (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper-Snapple Group), or private message them to me. I hope to have at least Louisiana and parts of Texas done by Saturday of next week, and I will be taking a trip to Colorado Springs, CO over the first week of June. Hopefully this means you won't have to drive so far to get the drink you want without picking up other drinks as well. I can't always promise which drinks are at certain places, but we can at least get an idea of the distribution areas by certain companies, and who has the rights to what drink brands.

Right now, I have just an Excel spreadsheet with the different drink brands, their flavors, and what areas in what states distribute them. The one company that has the most variations is the one that has to be walked through drink discovery over the phone by ZIP code (Dr Pepper), while Pepsi has an online locator tool, and Coke can be queried through the process through the "Ask Coke" tool. All of these companies have glitches, just like Canada Dry Blackberry has just landed in Alexandria, LA, while DPSG says the product is discontinued. I've also watched Fanta Peach being unloaded with a fresh date on the bottle while Coke told me the day before that the drink was discontinued (along with Grapefruit Fanta).

Even a slight variation in product ownership can make a huge impact. Coke owns Dr Pepper in Alexandria, Shreveport, and Monroe, LA, while in Lafayette, Dr Pepper actually owns the rights to Pepsi. Therefore, Dr Pepper is distributed alongside 7up, Sunkist, and A&W, so while you can get Pepsi and Dew, you can't get Mug, Sierra Mist, or any Crush flavors other than grape and orange. You can, however, get every flavor of Sunkist your heart desires, all in the Pepsi swirl bottle.

If anyone wants to post photos of their local Walmart drink aisles, that would help too! I hope to get a base map of Coca-Cola territories by next week, and usually Pepsi and 7up follow suit in their areas. Thanks for the help, and a future help for feedback!

Android
05-18-2015, 02:09 PM
I wish you luck, but I suspect you've set yourself a difficult task. While the mosaic of various franchise agreements has simplified over the years due to bottler consolidation, it's still pretty complicated. A few years ago this board got quite a bit more visitors than it does now and you might have had a better response then. Have you tried reaching out through social media to find people to assist you with this?

ATownAndrew
05-18-2015, 03:37 PM
Some regional drinks in my area (San Luis Obispo County, CA) include Cactus Cooler distributed by 7up, Fanta Grapefruit distributed by CCE, and Manzanita Sol distributed by Pepsi. CCE, Pepsi, and 7up products here are from the Los Angeles area distributors which their territories go north from the LA/OC area (I'm not sure if San Diego is part of it) to SLO County. Monterey County just north of me, is served by the SF Bay Area bottlers/distributors. The counties east of me have different bottlers/distributors as well. CCE has Dr. Pepper for the LA region, while Pepsi has Dr. Pepper for the SF Bay Area region.

Cactus Cooler is in pretty much every grocery and convenience store in my area, while Fanta Grapefruit is in some grocery stores like Food 4 Less (Paso Robles, Atascadero, and San Luis Obispo) and some Albertsons, and Manzanita Sol is in select grocery stores like Albertsons (Paso Robles, CA) and Ralphs (San Luis Obispo, CA) along with 20 oz bottles at Panda Express (Paso Robles). I just spotted Fanta Mango, Mtn Dew Sangrita Blast, and Mtn Dew Baja Blast 12 packs at Walmart (Paso Robles) and its the only store in my area where I've seen it so far.

lordmadone
05-18-2015, 07:20 PM
I really like this idea and wish you luck. Definitely will have to send out an invite when I start up a reddit page for soda fans like you.

thesodacave
05-19-2015, 03:28 AM
I wish you luck, but I suspect you've set yourself a difficult task. While the mosaic of various franchise agreements has simplified over the years due to bottler consolidation, it's still pretty complicated. A few years ago this board got quite a bit more visitors than it does now and you might have had a better response then. Have you tried reaching out through social media to find people to assist you with this?

I have not as of yet. I figured people here might have access to a face-to-face interaction with their local beverage people in the supermarkets, or know where a certain area quits selling a drink in one bottle and changes to another. I know that once you cross the Evangeline-Rapides parish (county) lines, Sunkist reverts from a Pepsi swirl bottle to a 7up Legacy bottle, while Dr Pepper sheds the swirl and gains the regular Coke bottle. However, Mtn Dew switches at the Allen-Rapides line from a 16-ounce grip bottle to the older swirl style bottle that Pepsi had standard.

Inkscape will be my best friend for a while, but I would love to set something up online where changes in distribution areas will be shown in real time. While the actual areas never really change, you could make the point that drinks shift around in the same areas, with Nestea being the biggest changer.

It's a task, but this could eventually be a soda finder app, similar to PepsiCo's Drink Locator, where you can pick any Pepsi product, enter your ZIP code, and it shows where to buy the drinks in a 50-mile radius. The only problem is that the map is so small on a mobile device, so when you're driving around, you have to pan the map or scroll the list, and enter your ZIP code, which most people don't know if they're traveling.

Maybe a variant of OpenStreetMap? USPS has some OSM where you can see direct ZIP code maps, so maybe by shading a region, you can show who has the rights to a certain drink in an area. The only problem with OSM, though, is in the case of Walmart in Eunice, LA, where Coca-Cola of Lafayette, Acadiana Bottling (Dr Pepper, 7up, Pepsi, Mtn Dew, A&W, Sunkist), and PepsiCo of Lake Charles (Pepsi, Mtn Dew, Sierra Mist, Mug) team up to put products on the shelf. The town of Eunice itself sits within two areas of distribution, so it makes for an interesting trip. The only place I know of where Crush and Sunkist are Pepsi products, as well as 7up and Sierra Mist, all next to each other in coolers.

fusion
05-19-2015, 09:51 AM
I can tell you it's going to be a lot of work, and with the ever changing landscape of brands, you will spend a lot of time updating your lists and maps. And I really don't see a lot of demand for maps like you are proposing. This board is pretty dead compared to what it used to be a few years ago. The product location sub-board was a place where people would go to find things. And people used to post on here a lot with their road trips and what they would find in certain areas.

Canada Dry blackberry was a limited time only thing. I think it was only intended to be sold around the holidays, though I still see it in the backrooms of stores (I work for Coca-Cola Refreshments, which is part of Coca-Cola). Here in Delaware/Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia we have other Canada Dry flavors, but they are flavors, not flavored ginger ales. Lime, peach, pineapple, black cherry, wild cherry, and vanilla cream. Mostly in 20 ounce.

If you have the money, Beverage Digest (www.beverage-digest.com) sells a fact book that includes territory maps for Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper and I think 7Up.

Acadiana is a Pepsi bottler, though they distribute DPS products like Dr Pepper and 7Up. A lot of the old legacy Pepsi bottlers have chosen to keep the DPS flavors over transitioning to the Pepsi flavors (Sierra Mist, Mug, Crush (which is actually DPS), etc). This is especially true in North Carolina. Also in parts of North Carolina and Virginia, Mountain Dew is distributed by Dr Pepper bottlers. They've had the franchises since before Pepsi bought Mountain Dew. Buffalo Rock is also another Pepsi bottler that still distributes DPS flavors like Sunkist. They finally did drop 7Up and go with Sierra Mist. They also own a few of their own brands, like Grapico, Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale, and Dr Wham. www.buffalorock.com.

Susan
05-19-2015, 12:18 PM
Some regional drinks in my area (San Luis Obispo County, CA) include Cactus Cooler distributed by 7up, Fanta Grapefruit distributed by CCE, and Manzanita Sol distributed by Pepsi. CCE, Pepsi, and 7up products here are from the Los Angeles area distributors which their territories go north from the LA/OC area (I'm not sure if San Diego is part of it) to SLO County. Monterey County just north of me, is served by the SF Bay Area bottlers/distributors. The counties east of me have different bottlers/distributors as well. CCE has Dr. Pepper for the LA region, while Pepsi has Dr. Pepper for the SF Bay Area region.

Cactus Cooler is in pretty much every grocery and convenience store in my area, while Fanta Grapefruit is in some grocery stores like Food 4 Less (Paso Robles, Atascadero, and San Luis Obispo) and some Albertsons, and Manzanita Sol is in select grocery stores like Albertsons (Paso Robles, CA) and Ralphs (San Luis Obispo, CA) along with 20 oz bottles at Panda Express (Paso Robles). I just spotted Fanta Mango, Mtn Dew Sangrita Blast, and Mtn Dew Baja Blast 12 packs at Walmart (Paso Robles) and its the only store in my area where I've seen it so far.

Any Fanta Cherry over in SLO? If so, I'll drive there this weekend!

thesodacave
05-19-2015, 11:34 PM
Acadiana is a Pepsi bottler, though they distribute DPS products like Dr Pepper and 7Up. A lot of the old legacy Pepsi bottlers have chosen to keep the DPS flavors over transitioning to the Pepsi flavors (Sierra Mist, Mug, Crush (which is actually DPS), etc). This is especially true in North Carolina. Also in parts of North Carolina and Virginia, Mountain Dew is distributed by Dr Pepper bottlers. They've had the franchises since before Pepsi bought Mountain Dew. Buffalo Rock is also another Pepsi bottler that still distributes DPS flavors like Sunkist. They finally did drop 7Up and go with Sierra Mist. They also own a few of their own brands, like Grapico, Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale, and Dr Wham. www.buffalorock.com.

Well the lady at the facility told me that Acadiana is a Dr Pepper plant that owns the rights to Pepsi products. It's how they can carry Imperial Pure Cane Sugar Dr Pepper in bottles, and why any signs you see advertising their drinks are always Dr Pepper signs, not Pepsi. It's weird to have Crush kicked to the side as a third-party beverage, but apparently Acadiana Bottling is a full blown Dr Pepper facility, with some Pepsi products (Pepsi, 7up, and 20-ounce Tampico being the only Pepsi-related beverages distribute). She could be mistaken, but who knows?

In Texas, I know that the Maid-Rite Company does Dr Pepper, 7up, RC, Sunkist, and Canada Dry as their brands, leaving Coke with Pibb and Pepsi with nothing. They're also one of the few places that will sell you beverages directly from the facility. Dr Wham is something distributed by my local Pepsi group, but Pepsi has Schweppes Ginger Ale instead of Buffalo Rock. Coke has Seagrams, and 7up has Canada Dry.

EDIT: Found this after some research, from the obituary of the founder. It seems that the place "technically" is a 7up plant, with Dr Pepper and Pepsi acquisitions.
"In 1950, Mr. Smith and his young family moved to Lafayette, where he became manager of the 7-Up Plant. Within three short years, in 1953, he purchased the Lafayette 7-Up facility. Being the visionary he was, he began to groom the company for a robust growth period leading to further acquisitions of the 7-Up Bottling Company of New Iberia, the Pepsi Plant in Franklin in 1969, and subsequently the Dr. Pepper Plant in Lafayette in 1975. That same year, because his company handled such a diverse range of soft drink products, he decided to "re-brand" his company by forming a new corporate name, Acadiana Bottling Company, under which Dr. Pepper, Pepsi and 7-Up products, along with a myriad of others would be marketed throughout Acadiana."

fusion
05-21-2015, 10:27 AM
I see where you are coming from, and I can certainly appreciate that there are exceptions to the rule, but generally there are Coke bottlers/distributors, Pepsi bottlers/distributors, and then distributors/bottlers who carry mostly DPS brands. Usually their flagship brand is Canada Dry since RC isn't that strong in most of the US. Unless they have Dr Pepper, then that is their main brand, or they are in parts of NC or TN where Sundrop is their #1. But there are still plenty of independent Pepsi bottlers who carry what they want and don't line up with the standard corporate Pepsi brands. There are very few independent Coke bottlers left out there. The smaller ones have mostly all given up bottling and just buy from Coca-Cola. Dr Pepper does complicate things, because after Coke and Pepsi both bought out their largest bottling partners, they renegotiated their contracts with DPS. Coke kept Dr Pepper where they had it, and Canada Dry in NY. Everywhere else they went with Seagram's. I know independent CCNNE and some parts of ABARTA Coke still have Canada Dry as well (and some even have Sunkist or Welch's or Tahitian Treat). But Coke gave up Squirt, Schweppes, Cactus Cooler where they had it. And when Pepsi resigned their contract, they kept Schweppes, Crush and Dr Pepper (where they had it). They gave up brands like Vernor's. Heck, there were even Pepsi bottlers with Seagram's and Coke bottlers with Schweppes (and there may still be some out there). And in some areas you even have a fourth tier of distribution, where the companies carry brands not carried by the other three. the third and fourth tiers that are independent (and DPS to some extent) are willing to carry smaller brands. I actually just read that No Fear (which was once owned by Pepsi through their Sobe subsidiary) is going to be distributed in New Hampshire. Right now I think it is mostly independent Pepsi distributors in the midwest that have it.

The old Brown Bottling which was HQed in Oklahoma City was basically a Dr Pepper bottler who also happened to carry Coke products. Their Dr Pepper numbers were always really strong and they could use that to leverage sales and displays of their other brands. But now it's part of CCR/Coca-Cola.

I know I am missing some, because I haven't travelled all over the US. I know that Big Red is a strong brand in some areas, and then you've got Cheerwine being strong as well in some areas. It would all be really complicated to develop maps because a distributor may not carry a brand in all of their territory. Someone else may come in to part and carry a brand based on an old franchise.

A funny story - here in Delaware, there was a three town area where you couldn't get Dr Pepper. Pepsi distributes to these three towns from the north, and they don't have Dr Pepper in any of their territory in this part of the company (DE, southeastern PA, NJ). Coke in Philadelphia (which was previously independent and then the first Coke bottler that Coke bought out in the US) has Dr Pepper, but they don't distribute that far down. The Coke distributor for these three towns (and most of central Delaware) is based in eastern MD. And Coke doesn't have Dr Pepper in Maryland. Canada Dry around is just Canada Dry with A&W, Sunkist, RC, Diet Rite, Snapple, etc with no Dr Pepper distribution in their network (they are owned by a conglomerate who owns a lot of DPS distribution in the Mid-Atlantic as well as some Pepsi distribution). Pepsi in eastern Maryland (who serviced most of central/southern Delaware) was a family company who carried Dr Pepper, but they sold out to the now largest independent Pepsi distributor in the US. I think for the longest time, they were bringing Dr Pepper unofficially to these three towns, but at some point (not sure if it was when they were family owned, or got bought out or when), they stopped bringing Dr Pepper up. So you couldn't get the stuff anywhere! Finally after a few years Coke in eastern MD decided to sign the contract to distribute Dr Pepper in these three towns, but I guess they have to be really careful with their inventory because they are delivering to so few stores. Only one of the three towns has large stores including a Walmart supercenter. I still don't think they carry the full variety of packages. You think it would make sense to reconfigure the Coke distribution boundaries so they would bring the stuff out of Philadelphia down to this area (all Coke products, not just the Dr Pepper) so they wouldn't have to carry Dr Pepper in that other warehouse. Who knows. Coke just announced they are transferring ownership of all this area to their #1 independent bottler/distributor, so it is possible that changes may occur. But nothing before this fall.

thesodacave
05-22-2015, 01:49 AM
In some areas near me, Schweppes is a Coke product, while Canada Dry is a Pepsi product. Usually, you can tell by the individual bottles. Coke products that aren't Coca-Cola brands usually have that pyramid shaped bottle (see Dr Pepper where Dr Pepper is a Coke product), while Pepsi products are really hard to determine if they're Pepsi-owned or a third party under contract. I've seen Big Peach and Big Red as Coke in one city, go 20 miles north and Big Red is independent, then 25 miles west and Big Pineapple is a Pepsi product. I forgot where it was, but I could have sworn that Big Red was a Pepsi product, Crush flavors were Coke along with Fanta (Crush had Cherry, Grapefruit, and Peach, while Fanta was Orange, Grape, Strawberry, and Pineapple), and Sunkist was mixed in as an independent with Canada Dry flavors. It was very confusing.

CitrusCola
05-25-2015, 09:25 AM
As others have pointed out, making a detailed map of soft drink distribution is a tough thing to do. The soft drink distribution networks are so convoluted. What really irks me about this system is that many distributors have rights to certain drinks yet refuse to provide them. Here in the NC Piedmont area, for example, Dr Pepper is really strong and it is distributed by the Pepsi distributor. Coca-Cola Consolidated provides Pibb Xtra as a competitor, yet they refuse to sell Pibb Zero and in many stores do not even provide Pibb Xtra. When contacted, a CCCBC representative told me that Pibb "isn't in demand like Dr Pepper." He added, "if it were up to me, we wouldn't sell Pibb at all." It's almost the same way with Mello Yello. Arrangements like this end up hurting customers because their choices are limited.

thesodacave
05-27-2015, 12:38 AM
What would you guys suggest doing then? I want to create some sort of national list, with aggregate data so that people can all chime in and say what drinks are offered where. The side objective would be that people can arrange soda swaps with others knowing what's available. I wouldn't want to pack up some Fanta Peach, Delaware Punch, Pibb Zero, and Mug Cream and ship it to someone for some weird stuff, when they can get most of the things I send 30 minutes away, and I can get what they send 45 minutes away.

CitrusCola, it seems like your Coca-Cola Consolidated distributor doesn't want to try anything that would require effort. It's almost like saying "why advertise Pibb if Dr Pepper wins most people over?" when the CC-United region directly south of me pushes Pibb by offering it at a cheaper price. "Pick a Pibb" was on a sign at the Piggly Wiggly, where Coca-Cola had a sale for Pibb and Pibb Zero, 2 12-packs for $4. Dirt cheap, but you're attracting the people who want Dr Pepper taste without spending the $4.99 that Pepsi wants to charge. You can essentially get 2 12-packs and a 20-ounce bottle of Pibb for less than Dr Pepper.

Anyone have a true idea on what we can create as far as a list? I'll do the hard work of finding out which drinks are offered in what areas, which would solve the biggest hurdle. Figure out what drinks are available where, what sizes, and if it's a C-store or grocery store. I think that it could be organized by drink first, then counties, then what serving size. Instead of a true map, the list could be searchable if done as an Excel or Google Docs file. Gotta figure out what is the most mobile-friendly as well, but if it can be easily searched, it might work out.

ATownAndrew
05-28-2015, 03:23 PM
Any Fanta Cherry over in SLO? If so, I'll drive there this weekend!

Not since last fall I think, except for a couple of cans I have left at my house. I'll let you know if I see any around though.

CitrusCola
05-31-2015, 12:40 PM
What would you guys suggest doing then? ...

CitrusCola, it seems like your Coca-Cola Consolidated distributor doesn't want to try anything that would require effort. ....

Perhaps a better approach would be to start with a list of hard-to-find soft drinks (Pibb Zero, Double Cola, Ski, Cactus Cooler, etc.) and then build maps or spreadsheets of where those drinks are available.

Yes, CCBCC only wants to deal with the drinks that sell well. From what they've told me, they'd probably be content to just sell the Coke and Sprite varieties. They never promote Pibb or Mello Yello in this area; they say that those drinks are in a "niche market" that isn't worth the cost.