On July 7, 1926 the Department of Agriculture issued to Bruce B. Gregorowicz at age 25 and his wife Suzzane Wegronovich Gregorowicz at age 23, a license to bottle soda. They moved from Wilburton, Pa to Catawissa, Pa and purchased what was a creamery, which also became their residence. They had five sons: Bruce B. Jr, Paul P., Jerome J., Joseph D., and Thomas M. Jerome and and Thomas sought other careers. Catawissa was producing 21 flavors which were: orange soda, lemon soda, birch beer, root beer, lime cloud, lemon sour, cream soda, strawberry, ginger ale, grape, cherry, sarsaparilla, white birch beer, orangeade, raspberry, teaberry, lemonade, uffri cola, celery cola, pop and still grape. Through the years other flavors added were orange pineapple, fruit punch, ginger beer, hot ginger ale, and a chocolate cream soda. This is still the same location where Big Ben's and Moxie are made today, only a lot has been added like buildings, equipment and machinery for soda manufacturing.|
In the 30's and 40's added was a two hand feed Burns filler which went to two flavor's at one time. They filled the Catawissa Sparkling Beverages bottles with hand glued labels and a single hand capper. Production was done in 7 oz, 12 oz and 32 oz all returnable glass bottles. It was 1940's and a warehouse was purchased in Catawissa about 3 1/2 blocks away. We use it now and then for storing bottles, machinery and servicing the fleet vehicles.
1945-1946 we first started producing Moxie until 1967. And in 1978 the Monarch Company and Catawissa contracted again to produce Moxie. We already had everything needed like bottles, cases, labels and crowns in stock, all we needed was the extract to produce that great taste of Moxie.
In the 40's we also started kegging our own Dark Birch Beer in 1/4 and 1/2 barrels. Around 1962 we included golden birch beer, root beer, cream soda, sarsaparilla, cola and blue birch beer, and are flacvors still available today. During the 1955-1956 we converted to the pre-mix, 5 gallon and 10 gallon stainless steel tanks, they increased sales by taking out the bottle drinks in taverns and restaurants and replacing it with the fountain drink. These stainless steel tanks also permitted to tank more pre-mix flavors than just birch beer which tainted the kegs, and could only be used for that flavor. Today with the washing and coating of kegs it is not a problem. The tanks and kegs allow us to cater to large parties of consumers at one time and have consistent flavor. The purchase of coil box units which dispense up to 4 beverages at one time and include malt beverages that require a CO2 cylinder are widely used. The tank production increased, the capacity grew, the changes in the pre-mix line has changed many times throughout the years.
1954 a brand new Cem Filler was purchased to triple the capacity of manufacturing. Other machines on the line include the bottle washer, rinser, labelers, mixers, filtering system, conveyors, carbonators, case packer tables, cappers are ever changing machinery used today.
In earlier years Catawissa Bottling Works had various contracts with Hall's Root Beer, Spiffy Cola, Squirt and Ma's Soft Drinks. We have also packaged for several local and out-of-state companies. In 1966 we started a 10 oz and 28 oz no return glass bottles, due to changing market and storage of returnable bottles. In 1967 we started production for Dad's Root Beer until 1969 when they became more centrally located.
After prohibition was over, the Catawissa Bottling Works acquired a Beer License and carried brands that included Bartels, Yuengling, F & S, Balantine, Kubler's, Metzer and Nuwierler. Present day, we are licensed as a ID distributor for the Utica Club and Pabst Blue Ribbon assorted packages. We stock over 100 different beer brand and packages.
In the late 60's Ginger Beer was brought back, and today we produce it in a 12 oz glass recyclable bottle labeled as Catawissa Private Stock Ginger Beer.
Kegs were restarted in 1974 and phased out when the 5 & 10 gallon stainless steel tanks appeared on the scene. Today they are widely used by our customers for graduation parties, reunions, outings, get togethers, because they are economical and only require a single tap.
One flavor is our golden birch beer has only exclusively been kegged. It has never been packaged in a bottle since introduced. To mark our 75th Anniversary we packaged the Golden Birch Beer in a 20 oz plastic bottle for the first time in 2001.
For manufacturing purposes we expanded our syrup room to twice the capacity. In 1978 we added a 300 gallon stainless steel tank for mixing pure sugar cane water in all our soft drinks as opposed to other companies now uisng a liquid sweetener. Also in 1978-1979 added a warehouse attached to the main plant with 123,984 cubic feet.
A 16 oz plastic 2 piece recyclable bottle was added to the many flavors, but to keep with major soft drinl companies we moved up to a 20 oz bottle and changed to a 1 peice bottle.
During the 1980's we obtained a Double Cola contract with manufacturing rights for the 16 oz glass returnables in regular, diet, and satinless steel canisters. A popular cola still running today.
1990's moving with the giants we introduced a second production area for 2-Liter plastics. Ten of our most wanted flavors are now produced in the 67.6 oz bottles.
Then there is labeling ... Catawissa Bottling Works started with Catawissa Sparkling Beverage being silk screen painted on the bottle, along with Big Ben;s name. Before 1954 Catawissa Bottling Company was no longer Works, but to this day some people still call it Works. 1966 with the throw away glass bottles a paper label was used, marking each bottle now with the Catawissa Sparkling Beverages. 1974 brought us our Big Ben's name on paper labels. Both names are still used.
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1995 Catawissa Bottling Company, All rights Reserved. |
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