Coca-Cola may have
gotten its start at the soda fountain, but the bottling system has given the
brand its global reach while maintaining a local focus.
produce and distribute Coca-Cola products, are the true “face” of the brand. Aside
from polishing the world’s most recognized trademark and ensuring the company’s
brands are always within an arm’s reach of desire, they serve local businesses,
fuel local economies and make a positive difference in local communities.
Bottlers’ Association – which represents the 69 independent Coca-Cola bottling
companies in the U.S., plus associate members
in Bermuda and Puerto Rico – is one of the country’s longest-standing trade
associations. The organization known as the CCBA celebrated its centennial
anniversary this week during a special ceremony at the World of Coca-Cola in
the earliest days of Coca-Cola, our bottling partners have been integral to the
Coca-Cola system’s growth and success,” said Steve Cahillane, president of Coca-Cola Americas. “With the help of the
Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association, our Coca-Cola products are refreshing the
world, inspiring moments of optimism and happiness, more than 1.8 billion times
In 1913, the year the CCBA was formed, the size of a
Coca-Cola bottler’s territory was determined by the delivery capacity of a
mule. Today, the global fleet of Coca-Cola delivery trucks is larger than UPS
and FedEx combined.
As the beverage industry and bottling business have evolved over the years, the CCBA has connected independent U.S. bottlers and helped
them thrive every step of the way. Shortly after it was formed, the
association pioneered the field of product liability protection in the U.S.,
writing the first policy in 1914. Two years later, the group championed the
development and roll-out of the iconic Coca-Cola glass contour bottle.
More recent achievements include launching The
Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation in 1986 in
partnership with The Coca-Cola Company. During the first decade of the new
millennium, The Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Foundation donated more than $30 million to
a variety of local charities, including educational institutions and youth
organizations that encourage active, healthy lifestyles.
“The Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Association
helps empower us as members to leave a positive mark everywhere we do
business,” said Claude Nielsen, chairman and CEO, Coca-Cola United, a CCBA
member. “As a local face of Coca-Cola, our company is privileged to play an
important role in the communities in which we operate and contribute to the
success of the world’s most recognized brand.”
The Aug. 19 celebration at the World
of Coca-Cola recognized the pivotal role independent bottlers play in the
Coca-Cola system. Bart Gobeil, chief operating officer of the State of Georgia,
presented a commendation to the association on behalf of Georgia Governor
Nathan Deal recognizing CCBA’s legacy of support for local communities.
Legends” from the CCBA community – Wes Elmer, retired president of the
Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England; Edwin C. “Cookie” Rice, chairman and CEO,
Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company; and Sandy Williams, chairman,
Corinth Coca-Cola Bottling Works – also
were recognized for their contributions to the association’s mission, to the
industry as a whole, and to their communities.
The evening also looked to the
future. As product and packaging development accelerates, the collaborative
ingenuity of Coca-Cola’s independent bottlers is more crucial than ever.
“Over the past century, The Coca-Cola
Bottlers’ Association has continually developed and redefined the beverage
business,” said John Gould, CCBA’s executive director. “Now, we eagerly renew
our promise for the next century: to enhance the business of our members, to
unite the system through new opportunities and challenges and to leave
communities better and happier than we found them.”
He concluded, “We are proud of the
unique and special role we play in the success of the world’s most recognized
trademark and a business system that has meant so much to so many.”