“Drink Genuine Nehi”
According to company legend, the name for Nehi was conceptualized in 1924 in Columbus, Georgia. One day the owner of the Chero-Cola Co., Claud Hatcher, overheard a route salesman describing a competitor’s bottle size as being “knee-high”. He liked the sound of it, and it was the beginning of a line of fruit-flavored soft drinks called Nehi. These soft drinks became so successful that the company name was changed to the Nehi Corporation in 1928.
Some of the many Nehi flavors that were available included luau, chocolate, root beer, grape, orange, peach, watermelon, blue cream and ginger ale. By 1940, Nehi soda was sold in 47 states.
Many celebrities were featured in Nehi soda ads. Some of them were Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth and Hedy Lamarr.
In the late 1950s the Nehi Corp. changed its name to Royal Crown Cola Co., after its popular soda brand: Royal Crown Cola. Both Nehi and Royal Crown Cola (or RC Cola) are still bottled today.
Nehi sodas have been so successful as to make their way into popular culture. In the movie, The Christmas Story, Nehi sponsors the contest in which the leg lamp is won. In Paper Moon, Tatum O’Neal drinks a Grape Nehi in the diner scene. Grape Nehi is also the favorite soft drink of Radar O’Reilly in M*A*S*H and also of the She-Hulk in The Incredible Hulk.
Nehi-Royal Crown Bottling Co. / 1000 10th Avenue Columbus, Georgia
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