Collection (ca. 1899-2011, undated) documenting the history of Pepsi-Cola in New Bern, N.C.; the involvement of the Minges family in the soft drink business, 1923-1992, in Greenville, Tarboro, and Rocky Mount, N.C.; and the Minges Bottling Group, Inc., of Ayden, N.C., including clippings, correspondence, contracts & financial records, advertising materials, photographic prints and compact discs, printing plates & printed materials, trademark registration certificates & video recordings, ephemera,etc.
Miles Otho (M.O.) Minges was born in Catawba County, N.C., in 1894. In 1916, Minges married Myrtle Mae Morrow from Iredell County, N.C. The couple had five sons and one daughter: Maxel Eugene, Forrest Edwin, Ray Donald, Martha Virginia, Hoyt Alvin, and John Franklin II. In 1923, the Minges family moved from Catawba County to Pitt County, N.C. to join his brother, Luther Lester Minges, and his family in starting the soft drink company called the Orange Crush Bottling Company. At the time in Greenville, there were five other soft drink companies in business. Some of the products produced and distributed included Orange Crush, Nu Grape, Pilot-Pale Ginger Ale as well as Silver Nip, Spirit of 76, Cherry Blossoms as well as some beer interests (i.e. Pabst and Krueger Beer.) Also involved as a silent partner was a third brother (and dentist), Dr. Clyde Estes Minges in Rocky Mount, N.C. The brothers' business expanded into other nearby towns, but by the late 1920s, the brothers dissolved their partnership and focused on their own territories.
Minges' distribution business flourished up until the effects of World War I. Most of the postwar downturn was related to rationed supplies and the resulting high price of sugar. So while Pepsi and the Minges franchise continued on, it can be said that the parent company and Minges came out of the Great Depression together, which was basically how long it took to recover to a higher level of profitability. Around this time Pepsi introduced their twelve ounce bottle along with the slogan "Twice as Much for a Nickel, too."
Pepsi was invented circa 1898 by Caleb Bradham, Sr., in nearby New Bern, N.C., when one of Bradham's formulations, known as "Brad's Drink," a combination of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, rare oils and kola nuts, was renamed "Pepsi-Cola." By 1902, Bradham applied for a trademark and the first Pepsi-Cola Company was formed. In the next few years, Bradham begins to advertise vigorously, and in 1903 (his first official year of operation) alone, he sold nearly 8,000 gallons of syrup.
By the early 1930s, Pepsi-Cola was offering multiple county franchises. M. O. Minges purchased a thirteen-county franchise for $1300. The franchise was based in Greenville, N.C., with a bottling plant. The warehouse was located in Washington, N.C. In 1936, Mr. Minges gave all of his children one-twelfth interest in the company. By 1955, the company was divided into three individual franchises, all managed by second generation family members. These included one in Greenville (John F. Minges II), Kinston (Hoyt A. Minges) and New Bern (Forrest E. Minges). Many other additions and changes in management would come in the next decades, but ownership remained in the Minges family. At the same time, the Minges family gave back greatly to their community through many avenues, as well as supported East Carolina University in Greenville. In their honor, the campus basketball arena was named Minges Coliseum in 1968. M.O. Minges died in 1970, and his wife Myrtle died in 1971.
In 2001, the three companies were merged into one and were headed by two third generation family members, Jeff Minges, President / CEO and Tom Minges, CFO / Chairman. A year later, Minges Bottling Group moved to their current location on Hwy 11 South in Ayden, N.C. In 2004, Miles Minges, fourth generation family member, joined as full time employee, serving in the Business Development. A few years later Miles Minges brother, Landon Minges, joined the family operation. Likewise, Tom Minges daughter Michelle Minges joined the family business along with Chris Craft, who is the son of Ann Bass Smith. The company has diversified by selling Minges Select Coffee and Tea. Also, between 2006 and 2008, Minges Bottling Group formed their own transport company as a subsidiary of the company, as well as Select Vending, LLC. In 2010, Thomas E. Minges, former Chairman and CFO of Minges Bottling Group passed away.
For more on the history of the Minges Bottling Group, Inc., see the following link. http://www.mbgpepsi.com/about-us/history/
Sources: Chronicles of Pitt County North Carolina, 1982
PepsiCo, Inc. http://www.pepsico.com/
Minges Bottling Group, Inc. http://www.mbgpepsi.com/about-us/history/
Collection materials consist of eight series. These are correspondence, printed materials, financial documents, legal documents, advertising ephemera, audio-visual materials, photographic materials and oversized materials.
Included in the correspondence is a photocopy of a letter (1911) from Caleb Bradham, Sr. to Honorable R. A. Nunn in Raleigh, describing a formed naval militia for the local area. Also of particular significance is an original, signed letter (1917) from Bradham to Dr. Jos. J. Watson in South Carolina promoting Pepsi-Cola as a safe drink, and includes a general mention of ingredients. Also included is a letter (1922) with an investment firm regarding the state of the business, selling of stock and stock prices. Other correspondence includes letters regarding selling of Pepsi syrup, as well as a bottler claiming in 1926 that it was not him who sold Pepsi as Coca-Cola. A large percentage of the correspondence consists of blanket letters to various Pepsi bottlers. Also of interest is a letter (1939) from Walter S. Mack, Jr. to a person in Peru, indicating that the Canadian Supreme Court upheld the Pepsi-Cola trademark, reversing the decision made by the lower court in favor of Coca-Cola. Other correspondence discusses promotion through advertising (1951), news and reports from and to other regional bottlers regarding price increases and promotional opportunities (1946-47) and a letter (1969) to Caleb D. Bradham, Jr. from the Dean of UNC, Chapel Hill answering Bradham's request for specific information on how his father (Bradham, Sr.) earned his license as a pharmacist. Also included is a copy of a letter from Bradham, Sr.'s files from the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy indicating that many of their records were destroyed by fire in 1924. This letter also lists Bradham Sr.'s examination grades and other related details. Other correspondence includes a signed Christmas greeting note (1970) from actress Joan Crawford and a photocopy of a letter from Crawford to Thorburn and John (Jack) Minges regarding festivities in Raleigh and asking when they would be in New York. (Crawford was a major promoter of Pepsi, and was married to Alfred Steele, Pepsi CEO from 1949 until his death from a heart attack in 1959.) A small portion of the letters is represented by photocopies obtained from the North Carolina State Archives.
Printed materials consist mostly of photocopied newspaper clippings documenting the founding and growth of Pepsi, in addition to some clippings documenting early, pre-Pepsi history and other business endeavors of Caleb Bradham, Sr., as well as early U.S. patent office copies related to Pepsi-Cola. Of particular interest is a manual entitled One Hundred Fountain Formulas (1897) discussing the soda water industry and recipes for operating soda fountains. Also included is an original Pepsi-Cola 38th anniversary color pictorial booklet (1938). Other materials of note are various publications, some published by Pepsi, as well as magazines containing advertisements of Pepsi and the soda industry in general. A portion of these commemorate anniversaries of the company, among them a group of 100th Anniversary newsletters published by Pepsi. Another publication of note is a very detailed manual entitled A.B.C.B. Plant Operation Manual: A Guide to Proper Operation of Bottled Carbonated Beverage Plants (1940). Remaining materials include local and national clippings featuring vintage Pepsi advertisements of Pepsi and stories related to Pepsi history, typed transcripts of Greenville, North Carolina's Daily Reflector newspapers articles and advertisements (1919-1966), a national roster of Pepsi-Cola bottlers (1952) and Pepsi World's View of North Carolina Bottlers 1957-1983, a large publication (1992) compiled by John F. Minges, III.
Financial documents consist of receipts, shipping bills, account statements and checks. All Bradham Drug Company materials are photocopies, but some original Pepsi materials from the early 20th Century are included. Legal documents consist mainly of materials related to trademarks and certificate of incorporations. As with the financial documents, most are copies and range from the early to mid-20th Century.
Advertising ephemera includes brochures featuring advertising aids available to Pepsi franchises, a cardboard Pepsi-Cola fan (1940), a Pepsi-themed cardboard menu from the Eiffel Tower restaurant in Paris, France (undated) and an original Pepsi bottle cap redemption for merchandise catalog (1910). The bulk of the audio-visual recordings consist of VHS tapes featuring mostly local Pepsi-related promotional events and history. In addition are a few Pepsi "jingles" on 45 rpm record discs, as well as a few audio cassette tapes of more Pepsi songs and commercials.
Photographic images primarily document regional Pepsi business and promotional activities, most dating to the mid-20th Century. Included are photographs of Miss North Carolina promoting Pepsi, various floats in parades, Pepsi delivery trucks and their drivers (many of which are African American), outdoor advertising, including signs, storefront displays and billboards. Also included are a few late 20th Century images promoting Mountain Dew, Pepsi plants and office buildings. Of particular interest are a few photos of very early 20th Century Greenville, North Carolina baseball teams, some of which "Mr. M. O. Minges" is listed as being a member (i.e. "Greenville Greenies",) as well as another featuring three baseball players and owner of the New York Yankees, which lists on back: "Left to Right: T. Lazzeri, Col. Rupert, J. DiMaggio, F. Crosetti."
Also of note are a portrait of Caleb Bradham and other Bradham-related images copies. Other images included copies and the original of a horse-drawn Pepsi-Cola cart #934 with a driver and two other men (marked "Winston Salem 1914".) Also of particular interest is an original photograph (1940) of a drill tower under construction that was donated by the Minges Family to the City of Greenville, North Carolina's Fire Department. On the back is inscribed the dimensions and many other details of the tower. Additional photographs include a few photographs documenting the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Pepsi-Cola held in New Bern, NC in 1998.
Also present are numerous sets of photographs of Pepsi collectible artifacts, most of which have accompanying negatives. These items (known as The Avery Collection) were purchased by Minges Bottling Group, Inc. from the widow of Tom Avery circa 1997 in order to display them for the 100th Anniversary celebration of Pepsi-Cola held in New Bern, NC in 1998. Some of the items include bottles, signs, promotional materials and other types of advertising ephemera. The collection was held in storage for several years before being split and sold at auction. These images do offer the researcher a wide range of what was produced over the years to promote Pepsi-Cola. In addition, there are electronic versions of these images on floppy discs, as well as on the department internal hard drive.
Oversized materials include mainly photocopies of printed materials of Pepsi promotional articles and images. Also among the oversized items is an honor award to Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Greenville, North Carolina (1940), a photocopy of a pencil sketch of the Minges family (undated), as well as two original, circa mid-20th Century Pepsi advertisement posters.
Gift of Minges Bottling Group; Jeffrey M. Minges, CEO; and John F. Minges III, Family Historian
Processed by Saxon T. Bisbee, 2012; Dale Sauter, 2012
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.