Beverage World Magazine: 100 Year History (1982)

When Beverage World magazine (successor to the National Bottlers’ Gazette) published their 100 Year History 1882-1982 and Future Probe in 1982, they leaned heavily on the information in Organization in the Soft Drink Industry for the “A Century of Industry History in Review” chapter.  Their centennial overview offered these thoughts on late nineteenth and early twentieth century soft drink consumption and production:

People congregated at the local soda fountain in the late 1880s, sat at ornate fountains and ordered a fizz-bubbling beverage in a glass…Later on part of the fun of drinking a bottled carbonated beverage was the excitement of opening the bottle.  Whether you pushed the stopper in, or snapped loose the clamp, you didn’t know whether the contents would open with a 'pop' and then foam, spurt, gush, fizzle or lay limp within…

Although many were entering the bottling trade, soft drink production was still considered a seasonal business, with activity centered during the warmer months.  Many plants simply locked their doors after Labor Day.

Soft drink sales expansion was also limited in the early 1900s by the limited number of available outlets and the consumer’s restricted mobility.  Bottlers own mobility was also limited by the slow, uncertain horse and wagon hookup.  Bottlers could only make their products available where people congregated, and that often meant delivering beverages by wagon to the general store, town picnic or church social.

Obviously, the development of the motor car and truck had a profound impact on the pattern of beverage consumption.  The automobile made a trip to the corner grocery a more frequent event and also created the 'roadside stand' as a place to stop for a cold bottle of sodas.  Furthermore, the replacement of the delivery wagon by the motor truck during 1913-1918 and the subsequent building of roads greatly expanded the area in which the bottler was able to deliver his drinks.