Royal Crown Soda
“Royal Crown Is Tops In Taste”
The Royal Crown Company Inc. was started in Columbus, Georgia in 1905 by Claude A. Hatcher. He was a recent graduate with a degree in pharmacy and first got into the soft drink business by buying bottled drinks from a bottler and reselling them to customers at his family’s wholesale grocery store, the Hatcher Grocery Company. When the deal with the bottler went sour he started mixing his own soft drinks in the basement of the grocery store and bottling them himself. He called his soft drink line Royal Crown. The first cola he developed in 1906 was called Chero-Cola.
The Hatcher Grocery Company started the Union Bottling Works to produce and bottle Royal Crown soda. In 1912 the company was renamed the Chero-Cola Company and they added several new soft drinks to their line. These included Royal Crown Ginger Ale, Royal Crown Strawberry and Royal Crown Root Beer. Also in 1912, Hatcher decided to incorporate the company and license franchised bottlers to distribute their syrups and flavor concentrates under the Chero-Cola Co. trademark.
With the beginning of WWI came sugar shortages and the government considered closing down all soft drink factories as they were considered non-essential during wartime. As a result, the Chero-Cola Co. opened its own sugar refinery. In 1920 the price of sugar, including that of the sugar the Chero-Cola Co. had stockpiled, fell drastically. This caused the company to incur tremendous debt that took years to pay off. Because of the sugar shortage, they decided to ship concentrated syrups rather than finished soft drinks. As a result, the bottlers were required to add their own sugar and water to complete the soft drink. It generated savings for the Chero-Cola Co., but also resulted in a fresher drink. The policy of shipping concentrated syrups to bottlers continues to this day.
In 1925 the Chero-Cola Co. began selling the fruit-flavored drinks in their beverage product line under the brand name of Nehi. In 1927 the Cher-Cola Co. name was changed to the Nehi Corporation. In 1934, the new company president, H. R. Mott, decided they needed to improve their cola and had the company chemist formulate a new cola syrup, which they named Royal Crown. The new cola was very well received and given the nickname “RC” by their customers.
In 1940 the Nehi Corporation began using newspapers to advertise their cola featuring numerous celebrities in their ads. The advertising campaign featured the likes of Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball and Shirley Temple proclaiming RC Cola to be “Best by Taste Test”.
In 1954 Nehi was the first company to sell soft drinks in cans nationwide. The company name changed again in 1958, from the Nehi Corporation to the Royal Crown Cola Company. That same year they introduced their first diet cola, Diet Rite Cola.
In 2000 Royal Crown Cola Co. was purchased by Cadbury Schweppes, a British company who continue to oversee operations in the US. The Canadian Cott Corporation currently manages the international operations of Royal Crown Cola International.
Royal Crown Company Inc.