Bottling since 1904
It was in 1904 when Ed Welsh founded Natrona Bottling Works just outside of Pittsburgh, in a river bank community named Natrona. Taking the name of the thriving mill town, his goal was to make the best locally crafted beverages made with the finest ingredients. Laying the roots down in a small building on Walnut Street, Natrona Bottling Works rolled off the first bottles of what is still made today, Red Ribbon Cherry Supreme. For Ed, his time as the operator and owner of Natrona Bottling Works would last roughly 30 years until the company was briefly sold to another family in the area.
In the year 1939, the mantle was acquired by the Bowser family and the true essence of what we are today began. Restructuring the business to put the focus back on track, the motto "Quality Never Quantity" was adopted and the bottling company began to hit its stride. Moving the business to its current location, Ducky and Paul Bowser were able to produce more pop and distribute to a wider audience. It was at this time that Natrona Bottling Company began to make a name for itself as one of the premier local bottlers in the Allegheny Valley and beyond, making the classic Red Ribbon Chocolate which was, at one time, distributed by 25 other local bottlers.
When Ducky Bowser passed away in the 70's, his brother Paul, with a passion and love for pop, made it his mission to protect Natrona Bottling Company, especially; its values and its methods. Acquiring the help of the famous Sidney Harris, they together placed more of a focus on specialty sodas, which big companies were not making. Because of these specialty sodas, they didn't have to compete directly with Coke and Pepsi, companies that were beginning to take over the landscape. Creating flavors such as Plantation Style Mint Julep, Jamaica's Finest Ginger Beer and Bowser's Champayno (a highly carbonated Champagne-like, non-alcoholic beverage due for a resurrection) the duo carved out a niche that is still the focus of the company today.
Paul Bowser died in late 2008 and the company became a dinosaur. Unable to source the materials to make its fine beverages, lifetime bottler Steve Vokish, and longtime friend of the Bowsers, Mary Jane Zdilla, scratched together whatever they could to make a run of the fine cherry pop that was loved by so many for so long. Shutting the doors in the winter time to conserve funds, the two devotees were able to keep the mission of Paul Bowser alive.
Now, over a century after Ed Welsh opened the doors, Vito Gerasole "The Sultan of Soda" runs Natrona Bottling. Possessing the same love and care for the brand and its methods as Paul did, Vito gave new life to the once thriving company. Vito has kept the core values of Natrona Bottling alive while placing an emphasis on current trends.
Today: Vito Gerasole, Steve Vokish and Mary Jane Zdilla endure to operate Natrona Bottling Company just as it did 70 years ago. Using the same vintage machinery and our signature "pinpoint carbonation" we continue to mix every batch by hand giving you a genuine American soda pop. We strive to make sure each bottle receives the same level of attention as it did back in 1904, using 100% pure cane sugar just as we always did, way before it was trendy.
We produce authentic, true, American Soda Pop.