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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

COTTON CLUB BOTTLING AND CANNING CO.

COTTON CLUB BOTTLING AND CANNING CO.

COTTON CLUB BOTTLING AND CANNING CO., a soft drink processing firm, began in 1902 as Miller and Becker, bottlers, at 272 Forest (now E. 37th St.). Founders of the company were Isaac Miller and Eli Becker. By 1906 the company had moved to 5908 Woodland and had been renamed the Miller-Becker Co. The company relocated to 6411 Central Ave. by 1928 and remained there for over 20 years.

Both Isaac Miller and Eli Becker remained associated with the company for many years. Miller was president from the 1910s until his death in 1939. By that date the firm was one of the largest bottling establishments in Ohio. Becker then served as president until his death in 1954.

In 1954 a new bottling plant was built at 4922 E. 49th St. in Cuyahoga Hts. That same year the company put its products into cans (instead of only bottles) for the first time. In 1962 the company opened its first warehouse in the Lorain area, as well as in Akron. A year later the company name was changed to Cotton Club Beverages and the Royal Crown Bottling Co. of Mansfield was purchased. By the early 1960s Martin E. Becker had become president and Rudolph R. Miller vice-president.

In the 1990s the company processed or distributed beverages including such brands as Cotton Club, RC Cola, Vernors, Squirt, Hires, Schwepps, Evian, Motts, and Diet Rite In 1998, the American Bottling Co. acquired Cotton Club Bottling Co. In 2000, American Bottling Co. announced that it would shut down its Cleveland-area plant and move production to Columbus.