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Carbonated 'soda waters' come to Statesboro, Bulloch
Bulloch History
soda water

Note: The following is first of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.

In 1767, Englishman Dr. Joseph Priestley developed the process by which one could flavor water beverages (including sarsaparilla, birch bark and dandelion). Swedish chemist Torben Bergman first carbonated water, and then American John Waters developed the means to produce large quantities of carbonated soda water. The new soda waters took America by storm. 

In 1876, Philadelphia's Charles Elmer Hires created Herbal Roots and Berries Beverage (now Hires Root Beer). This was followed in 1885 Charles Alderton created Dr. Pepper’s Phos-Ferrates Beverage (now Dr. Pepper). 

Our nation's (and the world's) best-selling soda brand, "Coca-Cola," was actually created in 1885 by Columbus, Georgia pharmacist Dr. Pemberton. His first version of this beverage, "French Wine Coca," was outlawed in 1885 because it contained Bordeaux wine.

In 1893, North Carolinian Caleb Bradham created “Brad’s Drink” from vanilla, pepsin, cola nuts and rare oils. He changed the name of his beverage to “Pepsi Cola” after he bought the rights to “Pep Cola” from a New Jersey bottler.

In 1894, Statesboro merchant J. Fields began selling soda waters in his New York Bargain Store in Statesboro. Fields and Dempse Barnes shortly thereafter opened Fields and Barnes Bottling Works plant in Statesboro. These two bottlers were joined by Cone and Parker's Ice and Bottling Company in Brooklet. After Fields sold his interest in the Statesboro plant to Barnes, he began working with Cone and Parker to sell his newest beverage: Sea Island Ginger Ale.

Another Columbus pharmacist, Claude Adkins Hatcher, created a soda water drink he called "Chero-Cola" at the Hatcher Grocery Company in 1905. He then formed the Union Bottling Works to sell his soda.

Mr. Hughes of Stillmore opened Statesboro’s own Cher’o Cola plant shortly thereafter. Managed by J.S. Rouse, it was located by the Statesboro, Augusta and Northern Railway tracks near Ollie Brannen’s General Store. 

Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at

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