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Drink Nehi Beverages

Updated on June 12, 2014

Nehi Is A True American Classic

Nehi is a classic fruit flavored American soda that has been around since 1924. Most people that remember Nehi tend to be very surprised to see that it is still available. Even though I'm just a little bit too young to have enjoyed it as a kid, I love Nehi because so many people associate it with really fond memories.

History Of Nehi

In 1905 a Georgia pharmacist named Claude Hatcher founded Union Bottling Works. He created a successful line of beverages that included Chero-Cola and Royal Crown Ginger Ale in the basement of his family's grocery business. When Hatcher registered Chero-Cola as a trademark in 1914 Coca-Cola immediately sued, successfully claiming to own the rights to the word "cola" which forced Chero to remove it from all advertisements. Nehi (pronounced knee high) flavored sodas were introduced in 1924 as a result. Nehi was originally called Melo but legend has it the name was changed because Hatcher heard a salesman describe a competitors bottles as being "knee high." Nehi was so successful that the company changed it's name to The Nehi Corporation in 1928 and it was listed on the New York Curb Exchange.

Nehi sold very well until 1930 when The Great Depression caused a significant drop in sales. The Nehi Corporation incurred a substantial amount of debt during this time. In 1933 as sales began to stabilize the company's founder and president Claude Hatcher passed away unexpectedly. Hilary Richard Mott the company's vice president took over as president in 1934 and manged to eliminate the debt within one year. He also had the company's chemist Rufus Camm reformulate Chero-Cola to better compete with Coke and Pepsi. The reformulated cola became Royal Crown Cola but many people called it RC Cola.

By 1941 Nehi was available in 47 of the 48 US states that existed at that time. Nehi was endorsed by many celebrities over the years including Robert Ripley from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Nehi is probably best remembered from the TV show Mash where Radar O'Reilly drank Grape Nehi frequently. In 1959 the Nehi Corporation's name was changed again to the Royal Crown Company after the company ultimately won the legal right to use the word "cola" from Coca-Cola. Today Nehi is still a part of the Royal Crown Company which is owned by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. There are a still handful of independent bottlers who retain the rights to produce Nehi in certain geographical areas.

My Favorite Nehi Story

A Personal Nehi Experience

Back in 2001, I was stocking Nehi on a shelf in a convenience store when a woman walked by holding a 20 ounce bottle of Coca-Cola. She was so excited about Nehi and told me that she had not seen it since she was a kid. She put the Coke away and asked me how much the Nehi was. I told her that it was $1.39 for a 12 ounce bottle(the Coke was $1.49). She immediately became very irate and suggested that I was ripping everybody off because the price of Nehi was only 40 cents when she was a kid. I tried to explain that everything was more expensive since that time but she could not accept the fact that the price of Nehi had changed. She went back to get the Coke and continued to mumble under her breath about the price of Nehi until she left the store.

Nehi Flavors Poll

What is your favorite classsic Nehi flavor?

See results

Classic Nehi Longnecks With Real Sugar

Nehi And RC Cola In Cans

Nehi Peach Soda, 12 Ounce (24 Cans)
Nehi Peach Soda, 12 Ounce (24 Cans)

Just plain old cans but they are cheaper and easier to ship.

 
RC Cola Soda, 12 Ounce (24 Cans)
RC Cola Soda, 12 Ounce (24 Cans)

Just plain old cans but they are cheaper and easier to ship.

 

What's Your favorite Nehi memory?

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    • profile image

      seahawk12 3 years ago

      Taking my kids to Cannon Beach Mercantile in the 70s for fresh barrelled dill pickles and Nehi blue soda pop (it was cream soda). Wish I could find a couple of the long necked bottles for nostalgias sake as a reminder of those great visits to the Oregon beaches.

    • Sodaguy profile image
      Author

      Sodaguy 5 years ago

      @JodiFromFlorida: I sold RC with cane sugar for years, I think it is still available in bottles if you look hard enough. I usually got it from North Carolina.

    • JodiFromFlorida profile image

      JodiFromFlorida 5 years ago

      I love RC but I can't drink it because it has high fructose corn syrup in it.

    • Sodaguy profile image
      Author

      Sodaguy 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Have you tried Facebook? That is usually how I reconnect with people I have not seen for awhile.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i once dated the daughter of the lady that was photographed to use her legs on the labels of nehi soda, i would love to reunite with her it was at least 25 years ago in coos bay oregon. can anyone help me find her ? she told me she would love me forever and would never forget me. my name is kirk boboman46@yahoo.com

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      I've actually never had it, but I suppose RC Cola is the successor which I've seen at several supermarkets near me. Funny story about the lady, she'd buy Coke at 1.49 but not Nehi which she seemed to really want for 10 cents less!

    • homphreybugart profile image

      homphreybugart 6 years ago

      sliding the bottle thru the rack to pull it from the soda cooler at the tire shop my dad worked at, circa 1960 or so

    • KokoTravel profile image

      KokoTravel 6 years ago

      I wasn't familiar with some of the flavors... Thanks

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 6 years ago

      I do not know. Thanks for the info.

    • ILoveLegosToo profile image

      Tom Fattes 6 years ago from Naperville, IL

      I love Grape Nehi. Probably a fascination with Radar.

    • I-sparkle profile image

      I-sparkle 6 years ago

      Remembering my dad drinking the orange and grape flavors. Very nice lens. Your research is done very thoroughly, and your presentation and stories are good.