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Soda Pop of the Week: Sun-Rise Soda

“Pure as Sunshine”

Sun-Rise started as a beverage line created by a soft drink manufacturer and bottler called the Tazewell Manufacturing Company. The company was started in 1910 by W. A. Scott and was located in North Tazewell, Virginia. The Sun-Rise line was developed as a group of fruit-flavored soft drinks in addition to a root beer flavor. Some of the other flavors available in the Sun-Rise line were Strawberry, Orange, Black Cherry and Lemon Sour flavors.

In 1922 the company name was changed to The Was-Cott Corporation, after their most famous soft drink, Was-Cott Ginger-Ale. The name changed again in 1931 to the Sun Rise Bottling Company, when the company was sold to James G. Buston. They started three new drink brands: Chro-Mo, Tazewell Orange and 2 To 1. They also continued to make the Sun Rise Beverages line.

In 1956 Sun Rise Beverages was sold and relocated. The new Sun-Rise Incorporated was now located in Marshall, Minnesota. The brand went national with the help of the Coca-Cola Company that took over the bottling and distribution of the Sun-Rise line.

I have been able to determine that Sun-Rise soda was around into the 1970s. If you have additional information to add, please blog-in and share it.

Sun-Rise, Inc.
North Tazewell, Virginia

Last updated: July 3, 2009
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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.

  • mike

    It is still produced by the Coca-Cola bottler in Winona,MN

  • Ann

    Thank-you for the info! It’s great to hear that some of the old soda brands are still being made today. Although, as you have stated, a lot of them are now owned by the giants of soda manufacturing.

  • Jo Ann

    I found a sun-rise beverage bottle while replacing pasture fence. It says bottled under authority of sun-rise inc. It may be a 1976 bottle. I can’t find any information on identifying the age of the bottle. There is a 76 on the bottom of the bottle.
    Oh yes I live in Mississippi.

  • http://aclmatt.tripod.com/ Matt

    I have a couple of Sun Rise soda bottles that are dated 1954 and are from Minnesota. Although these dates do not match up with yours an easy explanation would be that Sunrise acquired some bottles that were already a few years old in Minnesota to bottle their drink.

    Thanks for the good article. I did not know that the Tazwell sunrise was connected to the Minnesota bottles.

  • Terry traxler

    I have a six-pack carton with 6 bottles. I might sell if the price is right. I don’t do Ebay so anyone interested contact me at tnt2250@gmail.com I would take photo and email it to you.

  • Jerry

    I have an unopened 10 OZ. bottle of Orange in mint condition. The bottom of the bottle may be dated 1977, the numbers are, dot dot 7 306 826 77. The ingredients are listed on the bottle cap and the front of the bottle has the Sun Rise Beverages logo with, bottled under authority of sun-rise inc., the rear of the bottle has two circles reading, buy with confidence and drink with pleasure. The neck has the sun rise logo on both sides.

    Where and when was this bottle distributed? Thanks

  • Jim

    I found a Sunrise bottle while snorkling in Lake Geneva, WI. Bottle says ‘ bottled by Coca-Cola Co.” with no location. When I went on Coke’s website there was no reference to this being a Coca-Cola bottled product? Is it still bottled by Coke? Anything else anyone can offer?

  • http://GlassBottleSoda.Org GlassBottleSoda.Org

    It is still bottled by the Winona, MN Coke plant and only in returnable bottles. I seems like Winona is the only place is still bottling Sun-Rise.

  • http://tazewell-orange.com Joseph Lee

    Matt, I had been wondering if there were any pre-transfer Sun-Rise bottles from Minnesota. Sun Rise Bottling Company of Tazewell, VA had been bottling the brand since 1931; however, they didn’t register for the trademark until 1956. I theorize that this was in preparation of selling it to the Sun-Rise, Inc. as that was who they transferred the trademark to. By this point the man who had created the brand had died in 1950, and the current partners in the company were dropping and had sold nearly every unique brand the company had created, including Was-Cott Ginger Ale which dated back to the very beginning of the company itself. This was done in favor of the more popular Canada Dry. To learn more about the Tazewell Sun Rise Bottling Company history and see the early Sun Rise bottles, you can find it on my site tazewell-orange.com.

    Actually here is the link to the actual page dedicated to this company.


  • Timothy

    I am stationed at Ft Riley, Kansas about 2hrs from the Missouri border. Ft Riley is a very old post and while hunting i’ve seen rotten wood bridges and a lot of rock walls just in the woods miles from any clearing or any people for that matter. while scouting some deer I recently found a bottle that is in good condition except for the label. I can read sunrise beverages, bottled under authority of sun-rise, INC. not sure of the date, on the bottom “LG, 348-1, 64″….. if there is some expert in bottles out there or someone that knows a bit about it i’d be glad to get some information about it. thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Lee/100000072073247 Joseph Lee

    It may be that the Minnesota Sun Rise was it’s own brand earlier in the 1950′s, but they purchased the trademark for Sun Rise Beverages from Sun Rise Bottling of Tazewell, VA around 1956, most likely just before they tried to go national with their brand. The last listed owners of the brand is of course Sun Rise Inc. of Minnesota. The connection may only be the acquisition of the former’s trademark, in reality.

    These earlier bottles may be the ones that say Sun Rise Sour, or Sun Rise Orangeade, or Sun Rise Root Beer, does your 1954 say Sun Rise Beverages? Well that wouldn’t make much sense since the registration is for the name Sun Rise and not Sun Rise Beverages. This is certainly one that I would love to see some records from the period just to see exactly when and how the trademark was transferred.

  • Jody

    Sun Rise soda is still bottled by the Coca Cola bottling company in Winona Minnesota, but they only sell to some restaurants in the area, due to the lack of availability of bottles. If you want to try a Sun Rise, stop at Beno’s Deli in Winona or Harborview in Pepin, Wisconsin.

  • qj

    My family bottled Sun-Rise Soda as a Coca Cola bottler in the State of Montana into the 1970′s.   In the early 70′s, the price of cane sugar went way up, and my Father ended up not bottling Sun-Rise because the remaining sugar was devoted to Coke bottling.  Then, the Coca Cola bottlers and territories began to consolidate rapidly in the late 1970′s as cans became dominant over returnable bottles–the throwaway society became of age.  The canning operators simply could not make money in the absence of large volume operations, so the small-time operators who had been in the industry for decades were bought out.  Now, the Coke (and Pepsi) operations have been taken over by the largest of canners and there are few if any small bottlers left.  Likely, Sun Rise was taken out as this consolidation process unfolded.  If I’m not mistaken, Coke had other fruity drinks to replace Sun Rise sodas such as Fanta.  In my opinion, the Sun Rise sodas were fabulous.  BTW, high sugar prices in the 1970′s led the soda drink folks to put high fructose corn syrup in the soda drinks instead of good old cane sugar.  Frankly, our family bottled excellent Coke and Sun-Rise soda drinks.  We even had our own treatment plant to ensure the water was just so.  Nowadays, the can and plastic soda folks put out dog doo doo in contrast, just to chase higher profits.  I drink very little soda these days.  Finally, I know of an operator who has his COMPLETE small town bottling operation on mothballs, ready-to-go, when the time is right.  Meanwhile, I drink Mexican coke in the bottle which still has cane sugar.

  • Daytondigger

    A faded and damaged Sun Rise Beverages 7 oz bottle was recently dug near Dayton, OH. A label I don’t think I’ve seen around here before. Could not see any city info on the bottle but I wonder if it was bottled locally or came from out of the area to here. This bottle would be very attractive if in good shape.

  • coke kid

    I’ve worked for Coca-Cola since 79. In our area of Rockford IL we sold Sun-Rise till the mid 80′s. At that time it was replaced by Barq’s Sunkist & Welch’s brands. Sunkist & Welch’s later replaced with Minute maid then Fanta brands

  • time capsule

    We were changing out a drinking fountian in the Rolfs Aquatic Center (built 1985) and found a 12 ounce can of Sun-Rise orange soda. It is a tin can and has some rust on the sides and bottom. The top has directions on how to open the tab. Can read Plymouth, Indiana.