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Nehi Soda

hi Royal Crown Soda Bottlecap“Drink Genuine Nehi”

According to company legend, the name for Nehi was conceptualized in 1924 in Columbus, Georgia. One day the owner of the Chero-Cola Co., Claud Hatcher, overheard a route salesman describing a competitor’s bottle size as being “knee-high”. He liked the sound of it, and it was the beginning of a line of fruit-flavored soft drinks called Nehi. These soft drinks became so successful that the company name was changed to the Nehi Corporation in 1928.

Some of the many Nehi flavors that were available included luau, chocolate, root beer, grape, orange, peach, watermelon, blue cream and ginger ale. By 1940, Nehi soda was sold in 47 states.

Many celebrities were featured in Nehi soda ads. Some of them were Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth and Hedy Lamarr.

In the late 1950s the Nehi Corp. changed its name to Royal Crown Cola Co., after its popular soda brand: Royal Crown Cola. Both Nehi and Royal Crown Cola (or RC Cola) are still bottled today.

Nehi sodas have been so successful as to make their way into popular culture. In the movie, The Christmas Story, Nehi sponsors the contest in which the leg lamp is won. In Paper Moon, Tatum O’Neal drinks a Grape Nehi in the diner scene. Grape Nehi is also the favorite soft drink of Radar O’Reilly in M*A*S*H and also of the She-Hulk in The Incredible Hulk.

Nehi-Royal Crown Bottling Co. / 
1000 10th Avenue
Columbus, Georgia

Are you a Nehi soda fan or do you have memories you’d like to share? Blog-in and let us know.

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Last updated: October 22, 2012
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About Ann

Ann is a web assistant and project manager with Retro Planet. After prior stints in the advertising and publishing worlds, she has found her place with the company. She is a serious anglophile and history buff, with a passion for anything from the past, especially retro inspired decor.

  • Van Bryant

    I have tried to find a picture of the RC cola plant in the 50′s in Columbus, Georgia. I was in service in Columbus 1958~1959 and there was a large water tank at the plant shaped like a RC cola. It seemed that RC was all that everyone drank in Columbus. They were so good. I would like to see a picture of that water tank again. I didn’t have enough sense to appreciate that kind of art back when I was 19. Wish I had taken a picture of it. Van

  • Ross

    I collect vintage soda bottle caps and I have the Nehi Luau bottle cap pictured above. Unfortunately I don’t know what flavor Luau is. Does anyone know? Seems like the name would suggest a pineapple flavor, but nothing on the web turns up.

  • Randy Cameron

    Ross i have an unopened sunrise grape soda can you tell me if there is any value to a retro soda like this. is it worth holding on to. it is also one of the first ones off the line you can tell by the shape of the bottle would you let me know.send response to ULTRALOVER96@YAHOO.COM thank you

  • Thomas Hall

    Tom Hall
    Nehi had a soft drink around 1946 that was pink in color. Do you have any idea what it was called and anything about it. Thank you

  • http://www.airgunsmith.com Ken

    Nehi soda brings it all back,
    I first found Nehi in the summer of 1973 as a few of the boys and I were riding our bikes (Stingrays) to Stevens Creek Dam defunct at the time due to earth quakes, but from there we would ride up to the fire trail by Stevens Creek lodge then to the summit, once on the top we would coast our bikes down the mountain going far too fast, then back down the fire trail past the lodge then to the Steven Creek Store where they kept our Nehi’s cold as ice, we would sit on the parking block and watch the Harleys ride by on there way to the Lodge we passed on the way to the summit, Great hot days in the summer when the bay was a far better place.

    6 years later I found myself riding the same trails but on a Harley not unlike the ones I used to admire.

    Now in my 50s still riding the same Harley with the Stingray hanging on the Garage wall and still enjoying the best drink in the box Grape Nehi,

  • laura

    Gina’s Junk Thrift & Antique Store at 6020 Buena Vista Rd. in Columbus Ga. ,has a large vintage NEHI tin can, think it was for syrup?

  • Lore Dorris

    I have 2 gorgeous art deco Nehi calendar tops, 1932 & 1933, need some help finding the calendar pads, please help!

  • Dan

    Big Nehi fan.I miss that soda,well I use to call it pop when I lived in western Pa. Now I live in Fla and I miss not having a Nehi especially the wild red or cherry flavor one was my favorite when I was a kid. Do they still make it? If so were can I order a case?

  • RICHARD EMBRY-NIMMER

    I CAN REMEMBER THE GOOD OLE SUMMER DAYS IN STAMPS, ARKANSAS WHERE A NEHI BOTTLING COMPANY WAS LOCATED. I WAS FORTUNATE BECAUSE MY GRANDFATHER WOULD PURCHASE NEHI SODA BY THE CASE. I BELIEVE WE CALLED IT SODA WATER NOT POP.

  • Gene Kreutzman , USAF Ret.

    I am 77 years old and I miss the good refreshing NEHI drinks . I live in Acworth Ga., just north of Atlanta . Where can I find my NEHI ?

  • Ann

    Gene,
    Nehi soda can be purchased online through crossroads-market.com. Here’s a link:
    http://www.crossroads-market.com/hard-to-find-grocer/Soft-Drinks/products/1018/
    Or you can find Nehi at David’s Produce and Country Store in Decatur, Georgia (404-325-0709). My brother is retired USAF also. Thank-you for your service and good luck finding the Nehi!

  • monte

    what ever happen to nehi lime that was the best nehi ever to me and my father sure drank alot of back in day and i sure would like to be able to drink some again with my father before he passes on if does anyone
    know how to get nehi lime ? please email me @monteray19@yahoo.com thank you…………..

  • Bill perkins

    Use to drink nehi strawberry and grape growing up in wva. It was the best soda pop made and still is.

  • Boboman46

    i dated a lady about 25 years ago and met her mom whome told me she was the owner of the leg that was used in the photo’s on the label of nehi drinks…i think she was greek both mom and daughter were living in coos bay oregon at the time ,her daughter told me she would love me forever and never forget me which is why i’m trying to locate her daughter i don’t remember her name can anyone give me any information on finding this lady and her daughter  ?
        kirk t jinks
                   boboman46@yahoo.com

  • Crystal Spaulding

    does anybody now what you can get for an nehi soda pop bottle today / what will it bring if sold.thanks se nd to crystal.spaulding@aol.com

  • Lianakolohe

    Walgreens sells it again in FL fyi