Hey Y’all! I’m back with another installation of a Hellacious Belle’s Guide to Sips and Vittles of the Modern South. May I take a moment to introduce you to a sippin’ stable of the South, the Royal Crown Cola?
Royal Crown Cola or RC, is the Moon Pie’s Bubbly Buddy and the Most Famous Cola-drink you may never have met. It’s the fizz that saw the first aluminum cans and paved the way for the diet sodas we know today.
Just like Coca Cola, RC was founded in the state of Georgia – in the town of Columbus, to be exact, way back in 1905. The Founder of RC, Claude Hatcher, was a grocery store owner, who felt he deserved a discounted deal due to his large monthly orders of Coca-Cola syrup sold in the store and pharmacy’s soda fountain. When his salesman wouldn’t oblige, Claude became determined to make his own carbinated beverages, starting with a Ginger Ale and moving on to a cherry-flavored drink called Chero-Cola. As the company grew and sales took off in the 1920s, its moniker changed to Nehi.
1934 saw the official introduction of their flagship product, Royal Crown Cola, which became the new company name and a grocery-store staple after a nation-wide series of taste-tests and and the launch of a print and TV ad campaign featuring such celebrities as Bing Crosby, Joan Crawford, Shirley Temple and Lucille Ball.
But how did RC match up with the Moon Pie, to become the stuff of Southern Legend? Interestingly, the marriage of these iconic treats was perhaps one more of convenience than passion: During the Depression, both RC Cola and Moon Pies (based out of Chattanooga), were cheaper than their competitors (five cents each!) making them ideal for working-class people, miners, farmers and kids all over the South.
I had no idea that Nehi and RC were connected! Personally, I found that RC tasted better than Coke. Also, I was never much of a Coke fan, lol, I was a Pepsi girl. I hope you’ll forgive me!
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I am one of those weird people (or so I am told) who think that all colas pretty much taste alike. My parents (back in the day when it wasn’t considered child abuse to give your kids a soda!) bought all different kinds of soda (Whatever was on sale, likely, being not that well off), and sometimes it was RC! Tasted just as good to me as Pepsi or Coke or Shasta or the local brand (Vess) or the store brand knockoffs. It’s still going strong today under the Dr. Pepper (ick) family umbrella…
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Yes, I remember the “discount” sodas – I think we had “Check,” (which surprisingly, did not come from Eastern Europe). I don’t really drink sodas any more – they are a once-a-year treat, if that, but when I do have one, I prefer Coke Classic to any of them, including (oops) RC. Although I do admit the supremacy of RC Cola + Moon Pie. :0 I love hearing about the cult status of some of them though, like Cheerwine, which I experienced at U of GA (limited distribution). Cheerwine has its own unique and devoted following, and such random appearances as Cheerwine Krispy Kreme donuts!
Well! So now we know where we get that craving! Guess Moon Pies are easier to catch in the Mardi Gras parade. But I miss that RC combo.
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