North Carolina People, Places, and Things-February 21
I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.
In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.
On Thursday evening at UNC Pembroke I had the privilege to attend a dinner with members of our Board of Trustees. At that dinner we got to sit with students that had unbelievable musical talents. They were accompanied to the dinner by two member of the UNC Pembroke faculty-Tracy Thomas and her husband Nathan Thomas. The students included Caleb Sasser, Hunter Rigsby, and Leisha Jones.
(l-r) UNC Pembroke students Hunter, Leisha, and Caleb.
Sitting at my table was a junior at UNC Pembroke named Hunter Rigsby who hails from Lenoir County, NC and she was quite knowledgeable about Eastern North Carolina. Besides being a great conversationalist Hunter was a dynamic singer.
Hunter singing to the Board of Trustees.
Our conversations focused on Kinston, NC. Hunter and I talked about two places in particular Mother Earth Brewing and the Chef and the Farmer a restaurant owned by Vivian Howard and her husband Ben.
At one point our conversations focused on the dominance of Pepsi products in Eastern NC. We discussed a particular family-the Minges who had a connection to Lumberton NC and the Mountain Dew soft drink.
On April 2nd 1923, Mr. Miles Otho Minges and brother Mr. Luther Lester Minges both from Statesville, N.C. migrated to Greenville, N.C. and opened the Orange Crush Bottling Company. There fortunes would change some years later when they took a gamble.
For 12 years the Minges became bottlers for NuGrape and Ski Hi in 1926, Cocoa Crush in 1927 and Jumbo Cola in 1934.
In 1935 the Minges were presented the opportunity to purchase the Pepsi-Cola brand after the parent company was rebounding from bankruptcy in 1923. Never realizing the potential of the brand, M.O. and L.L. gambled on purchasing the franchise rights for their respective territories in Eastern NC. That purchase also included New Bern, NC, where Pepsi was invented in 1898 by Caleb Bradham. That was when the real legacy began for the Minges family in the Pepsi-Cola business.
In the pursuing years M.O. and his sons Forrest, Hoyt Sr. and John F. Minges who managed their respective bottling operations in New Bern, Kinston and Greenville, became leaders in bottling and selling of Pepsi-Cola in their 13 counties.
As the business environment changed and Pepsi–Cola was expanding the parent company was looking for different brands. Hoyt A. Minges Sr.took a giant idea on how Pepsi could mega brand a small regional drink called Mountain Dew.
Herman and Richard Minges from Lumberton NC, children of L.L. Minges purchased the Tip Corporation of Marion, VA along with three other partners in 1957. That purchase also included the Mountain Dew brand from Alley Hartman of Tri City Beverages.
Hoyt Minges, Sr., who was cousin to Richard and Herman, became the first franchise bottler for Mountain Dew in 1962. Through his close relationship with Pepsi-Cola Company President Don Kendall, he persuaded Mr. Kendall to look at the brand as an extension to the Pepsi portfolio. The rest is history as Mountain Dew is a dominant brand in the soft drink industry.