Dexter Bottling Works, Dexter, Maine
The Dexter Bottling Works had its roots in a small operation begun by Leslie Curtis circa 1900. In July of 1921, 24-year-old Perley Pynes, along with partner Albert Bentley, purchased the concern. A year and a half later, Perley bought out Bentley and became sole proprietor. In 1943, the name changed to Dexter Bottling Company.
Dexter Bottling enjoyed a number of different locations. Home until 1945 was 111 Free Street. Perley then constructed a larger plant on Lincoln Street, but before it was fully operational, it was destroyed by fire in 1947. The company then moved back to Free Street until 1960, when Perley again moved to larger quarters, this time on Water Street, where he remained until the business closed in 1972.
Why "Mount Kineo"? Perley Pyle was an avid hunter and fisherman all of his life, and was especially fond of fishing near Rockwood Lake, in the shadow of Mount Kineo. "Why not name my soda after the mountain?" he thought. Indeed, why not? And so he did.
By all accounts, Perley Pynes was proudest of his ginger ale. His son, and later partner, Phil recalls Mount Kineo Ginger Ale as being sweeter and having more flavor, "made to be more palatable." That was because it was created to be enjoyed for its own taste, not as a mixer. Phil added, "It cost a little more to make, but we made it back in volume."
Long-time employee Bert Beatie recalls that the bottling company hit its peak in a decade-and-a-half period that stretched from the late 1940s through the early 1960s. Those were the years when Dexter Bottling had four delivery trucks on the road during the summer. Bert states, "We had the majority of the (non-cola) flavor business in the area - Waterville to Jackman to Carmel to Greenville - that we covered.
|Perley Pynes standing in front of Dexter Bottling's truck fleet circa 1938.|
Also, through the years, Dexter Bottling held the area's franchises for a number of nationally distributed brands. Included were: Orange Crush, Moxie, Bubble Up, Dr. Pepper, Uptown, Frostie Root Beer and Dr. Swett's Root Beer.
|From L - R: Pynes, the Dr. Sweet salesman and plant foreman, Stillman Hatch, with bottles of Dr. Swett's Root Beer in front, circa 1955.|
The end for Dexter Bottling came in 1972, when cut-throat pricing from Coke
and Pepsi and the expense of installing screw-cap bottling equipment caused the
Pynes' to pack it in.
Perley Pynes was also quite a musician as well as quite a bottler. He played violin as first violinist in the Bangor Symphony Orchestra for eight years. He also played the saxophone for both the local Shrine and the Fay and Scott bands. Perley died in February, 1983. His original plant at 111 Free Street still stands, intact, although empty and unutilized.
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