~ Dr. Enuf ~
| Charles O. Gordon and his brother-in-law,
Sam Y. Harding, were army buddies from Virginia. When the
two were processed out of the army, they were looking for
a good project to put their military stake against.
Charlie, who was originally from Marion, said, "When
I came back to Marion, Virginia, discharged from the Army
in September of '45, I met Clay Church who owned the Dr.
Pepper Bottling Company there. He was telling me about a
new product he had, called TIP. Tip was a copy of
Grapette. It was an excellent drink made with a concord
base flavor, concord grape, and it was every bit as good
as Grapette. Between Clay Church talking to me and Bill
Jones, who I met, got me interested in building a plant
and getting into the bottling business, which I
In 1946 Charlie and Sam started Tri-City Beverage Bottling Company in Johnson City, Tennessee, a rather risky adventure for two novices to the drink industry. Charlie was serving as president of Tri-City and when they opened the doors, they were bottling only one drink--The Tip Corporation's TIP Grape. Charlie and Sam built a quonset hut shaped building, styled after their army barracks, to house the operation. The first building on West Market Street, took only 300 hours to build and cost less than equivalent structures. It was completed in 1946 and for years it had the big TIP GRAPE sign, signifying the one and only drink that was bottled at Tri-City in those early years.
The second hut was built two years later when Tri-City picked up their second drink, HIRES ROOT BEER. The second building also sported a big sign denoting the drink. In the summer of 1954, Sam decided his investment might best be spent elsewhere, and sold his stock in Tri-City to a young newspaper advertising salesman, Bill Kibler. In addition to the stock sold to Sam, Charlie sold another $5,000 worth of stock to Jim Archer. When Bill Kibler joined the company, he negotiated a buy-back clause that would allow him to get his money back within one year if he decided to leave. Kibler had found out about Tri-City while working in advertising for the local paper. He had no bottling experience. While Charlie maintained his position as President, Kibler took over as vice-president and sales manager, and Jim became vice-president and general manager.
In 1951, Gordon worked with Charlie Lazier in St. Louis, Missouri, to develop SUN DROP, GOLDEN COLA. Most people did not realize that the golden colas are mostly orange juice, mostly citrus and they get their color from artificial coloring.
1954-55 was a busy time for Tri-City. Besides introducing Mountain Dew in December of 1954, they were also introducing Sun Drop Cola, FROSTIE ROOT BEER (to replace HIRES) and two paper label products, Gordon's Club Soda and Gordon's Ginger Ale. They were so busy that often they had to scrounge for enough empty bottles to be able to send the trucks out.
By 1955, Bill Kibler had had enough of the bottling business and exercised his buy-back clause to sell his stock back to Bill Gordon. 1958 was a turning point for Tri-City, Jim Archer also left Tri-City and was replaced by Bill Bridgeforth. Charlie Gordon was now the sole owner and Bridgeforth took care of the day-to-day running of the operations. Tri-City added 7-UP. Bridgeforth was aggressive in pushing the flavored drinks, such as punch, orange, grape and lemonade. He also was the driving force behind Mountain Dew.
Another flavor exclusive to Tri-City's was Dr. Enuf (since 1949). It was a "local" drink until in the mid-90's, when Tri-City went national with the Dr. Enuf flavor. A bottle of today's Dr Enuf has 240% of the daily requirement of B1, 80% of vitamin B3, and 120% of potassium. The original vitamin based formula came from a Chicago chemist, Bill Schwartz, who thirsted for a drink that would combat aches, fatigue and the occasional hangover. His secret was the B vitamins and potassium. Schwartz placed an ad in National Bottler's Gazette seeking someone to bottle and distribute the beverage. Seeing the ad, Tri-City's Gordon met with Schwartz and a partnership was quickly agreed upon.
Bridgeforth had decided to consolidate flavors. One of these consolidations centered around Mountain Dew. He was convinced that combining the Mountain Dew name with the Tri-City Lemonade flavor would be a hit. Bridgeforth approached Bill Jones to change the current Mountain Dew (7up taste) to the Tri-City Lemonade flavor that these two men had formulated. Jones agreed, but just for Tri-City's area in East Tennessee. For a short time in the '60s Bridgeforth was bottling three citrus lemonade flavors, The New Mountain Dew, Golden Cola and Tri-City Lemonade. As soon as the New Mountain Dew took off, Tri-City Lemonade was dropped from production, and one year later Golden Cola was also dropped (because Charles Lazier felt Gordon was giving more attention to Mountain Dew and pulled Tri-City's franchise to Sun Drop). The original Tri-City Lemonade flavor is still the base for Mountain Dew as we know it today. (See also MOUNTAIN DEW for more Tri-City information)
They also bottled CHEERWINE.
Above Left: Some of the crowncaps from Tri-City brands.
Above Right: Mr. Charles Gordon in his office, 1998.
Click HERE to see a full page ad for Dr. Enuf when it went national in USA.
Tri-Cities Web Site for Dr. Enuf and other current Tri-Cities flavors <CLICK HERE>
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