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Coco-Cola plant building still in use
Liberty lore
Liblore coke1
The old Coke plant is on South Main Street. - photo by Photo provided.
When I was little, I remember seeing boys or men dig in a large drink machine filled with ice and many glass bottles of soft drinks.
They usually selected a Coca-Cola and bet on whose bottle was bottled the farthest away. The one bottle farthest away won and the loser had to pay for the nickel drink.
It was fun just to see where the drinks were bottled. And my first association with Hinesville was when I saw the name on the bottom of the green Coke bottle.
There was a Coke bottling plant in Darien down in McIntosh County in 1915. It stayed there four years and then moved to Hinesville in 1919 and became the Hinesville Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
The folks around here used to say that the reason the plant moved here was because of the excellent spring water that flowed near the plant. Some even claimed that you could taste the difference between a coke bottled here and one bottled in another area.
Mr. Jones was the plant manager from 1935-1944 and Jack Waller was manager from 1944-1956.
Barney Rocker, former chairman of the Liberty County School Board, worked in the Savannah bottling plant in 1942.  He took a break and served in the U.S. Navy for two and a half years during World War II.  Upon his return he resumed his position with the plant. He was transferred to the Hinesville plant in 1956 and served as plant manager until he retired in 1989.
Barney served many years on the board of education. He and his wife are still enjoying retirement in Hinesville.
Most of the employees were hired either from Liberty or surrounding counties.  The plant served Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties and parts of Bryan. The plant was in operation until 1991 when it was closed.
Shortly thereafter, The Hinesville Bank (now Heritage Bank) purchased the building and land for use as an operations center.  They have preserved the outside of the building.  This is one of the historic architectures in the city that is still standing beautifully and in use.
The beginning of the world's most well-known drink we know as Coca-Cola, was in Georgia. John S. Pemberton, born in Knoxville, Ga., was a commander in the Confederate Army under Gen. Joe Wheeler.  Later, in 1866, as a pharmacist in Atlanta, he created the first batch of Coke syrup by boiling a batch of herbs, coca leaves and kola nuts in a three-legged pot in his back yard.  He mixed the syrup with tap water and sold it in his drugstore as a non-alcoholic "nerve medicine."
One day a customer with an upset stomach specifically asked him to mix the syrup with fizzy water. Pemberton then realized Coke's potential as a soft drink.  He didn't live to see Coca-Cola become a success. His health began to fail shortly after he created the drink.  He sold the rights to Coke to some druggists for about $350. Pemberton died in 1888 from morphine addiction.
Asa Candler, one of the druggists, came from Villa Rica with $1.75 and later became mayor and millionaire.  Candler bought complete control of the company by 1891 for $2,300. He registered Coca-Cola as a trademark a few years later.
Candler gave most of his interest in the company to his family and in 1919 they sold it for $25 million.  The first Coke sold in a bottle was on March 12, 1894.  The first cans of Coke were sold in 1955.
Coca-Cola had a secret ingredient known to only three people at a time, all Ph.D. engineers.  The secret ingredient is known as "7X" because there are six familiar ingredients.  The three people never fly together.  The secret formula is kept in SunTrust Bank's main vault in Atlanta.
Coca-Cola is now worth billions.  It is said that Atlanta owes its prosperity to Gen. Sherman and Coca-Cola.
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