Dr. pepper Bottling Co.


Jim McClain, founder and president of Huntington’s Dr Pepper Bottling Co., at right,
 and Dennis Frazier, the company’s controller, inspect a new high-speed
 bottling line installed at the company’s plant in 1979.


HUNTNGTON — In the late 1940s, Jim McClain, a Missouri native, was a traveling
sales representative for Dr Pepper, the popular soft drink created
 in the 1880s by pharmacist Charles Alderton in Waco, Texas.

On the road, McClain kept dreaming of someday putting down roots and
opening his own Dr Pepper bottling plant. The question was where?
He found the answer to that question when he attended a
 convention of the West Virginia Soft Drink bottles
Association at Huntington’s old Prichard Hotel.

At that time Dr Pepper wasn’t being sold in Huntington, and McClain
immediately knew Huntington was where he wanted to settle. He
 purchased a Dr Pepper franchise, found a building at 20th
Street and Artisan Avenue, acquired some secondhand
equipment and in November 1946 opened the
Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Huntington.

Over the years, the business thrived. “I started out with one truck, and now
we have 17 of them,” McClain said in a 1979 interview with the Herald-
Dispatch. In addition to Dr Pepper, the plant produced a number of
other soft drinks, including Vernors Ginger Ale,
 Double Cola and Canada Dry products.

Active in the community, McClain was a past president of the Huntington
Lions Club, served on the boards of the Huntington Chamber of
 Commerce and the Huntington Council of Campfire Girls and
was an elder at Huntington’s First Presbyterian Church.

McClain retired in 1987, selling his company to a
Charleston operation. He died in 1997.

Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on June 30, 2020.


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