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Mac's- Mac's Milk-soda pop

JKL

Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2018
240
59
Kitchener Ontario
@embe Oh if you have the Kitchener/Waterloo connection then likely. In those days I was in Waterloo and my Becker's was Weber St N at Frobisher Drive.
 

embe

Well-Known Member
Jul 14, 2019
407
43
Way out there? Mine was Ottawa St. getting closer to Fischer-Hallman. Small World.
 

mctaggart67

Well-Known Member
Apr 18, 2010
632
28
These convenience store in-house brands are fascinating to me, even though they are outside my main collecting interest (meds, poisons). I gather from the metric references, these items are from 1976 and later (1976 being when Canada's federal government made metric measurements mandatory for food items like beverages). Of course, Mac's may have gotten into the metric game earlier than the mandate.

I can't help but link Mac's with Becker's, the latter chain being the first in Canada (Toronto, particularly) to make "jug milk" the focus of its retail operations, in an era when cheaper electrical refrigeration, the dominance of the car, and the "supremacy" of sub-division living saw consumers increasingly turn to the convenience of stores for their dairy. Becker brought the idea from his native America and it threatened the cozy arrangement which Toronto dairies maintained through morning delivery of milk. Indeed, Toronto dairies lobbied the provincial government to deny a dairy licence to Becker, who, in response, teamed up with the already licensed St. Clair Ice Cream Co. to supply milk to his retail operation. Ironically, Silverwoods (technically, Silcorp), then Becker's most formidable political opponent, wound up buying out Becker's.

What does this have to do with Mac's pop? Well, Mac's was an imitator of Becker's, and a successful imitator at that. Becker's was the first to prove jug milk as successful (heck, even I'm old enough to remember how Toronto was plastered with "Becker's Jug Milk Signs"). Mac's followed the recipe, and also found fortune, initially in those outer areas of a growing metro Toronto that Becker's had yet to cover. By the mid-1970s, both firms were slugging it out for supremacy in the Ontario convenience store sector. In-house branded pop was part of that battle. Becker's contracted with an old, esteemed firm for its pop, Charles Wilson Ltd. Mac's followed with its own line. Not sure with whom Mac's sourced its pop. Any note on the bottles and cans suggesting some sort of contractual supply arrangement between Mac's and a pop supplier?

By the mid-1980s, I think Mac's branded pop had disappeared, but Becker's still used Wilson's (in 1986 I dated a girl who worked at Becker's). I know from some who worked for Silcorp around the same time, that Pepsico and Coca-Cola put great pressure on both chains to drop their in-house pop lines. Perhaps Silcorp (which eventually owned both Mac's and Becker's) gave in to these beverage giants?

Here's the kicker, because Mac's and Becker's pop are fairly recent and because both stores were woven into the fabric of daily life, such that they were never viewed as sources of historical collectibles, their in-house pop brand artifacts aren't widely collected. I think it's important historically to save these items. To boot, I'll bet once collectors realize how these fellows have been neglected as collectable, the desire to have them and their value will increase.

P.S. I once had a minor disagreement with a Mac's manager over a pricing issue. I ended my side of the debate by sarcastically noting that the truth of Mac's business model is found in the company named spelled backwards.
 
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Canadacan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2014
1,617
63
Canada
@mctaggart67 Thank you for that information, it really opens up the subject of theses eastern convenience stores histories. Mac's was very dynamic!...had to be the way they grew as a company.
So if you go back to the first page I've posted some ads. My 17 cent grape can I figure is about 1976 the Mac's with the cat up to 60's?-1975....all the cans just state 'packed for'.
The ACL bottle is dated 1974 with a possible second stamping for 1977.

20201205_234543.jpg
 
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JKL

Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2018
240
59
Kitchener Ontario
@mctaggart67 @Canadacan I was looking through some of my bottles this morning, Truth is that I am responsible for dusting them if I display them in the basement mancave!
I came across this one and it follows the posts you guys made. Here is a bottle that was packaged for Kwikie Minit Mart, a Kitchener based convenient store chain. The product was bottled by Moran Beverages in St Catharines On. I can't read the year but the volume is both imperial and metric.
I find the private label bottles from grocery chains great too.
IMG_0607.JPGIMG_0608.JPGIMG_0609.JPG
 

RCO

Well-Known Member
May 17, 2012
4,079
113
Ontario , Canada
never seen that kwikie mini market bottle , don't imagine its that common being its from a smaller chain

forgot to mention I do have 1 beckers can its for root beer and found earlier this spring , only beckers can I've found so far despite the fact there were some beckers here .

but as mentioned beckers pop doesn't seem to have surivied the 80's and not a lot of stuff was saved by people back then , who would of though cans from a convenience store chain ever become collectable years later

beckers seems to have had a large variety of flavours , which included Cola , Ginger Ale , Grape , lemon Lime , Root Beer , orange and Cream soda . those are at least the ones I know about

gravenhurstdump19.jpg
 
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Canadacan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2014
1,617
63
Canada
So here is an early Mac's ad from their first location! Note they were tied in with Silverwoods. the second thing to note is they advertise Canada Dry and Coca-Cola and not an in house brand, which leaves me to believe that the Mac's branded soda pop came latter...I just don't know when.

1607377635793.png
 

mctaggart67

Well-Known Member
Apr 18, 2010
632
28
Should have mentioned early, the Becker's pop bottle I remember from the mid-1980s were all paper-labelled screw-cappers, with the labels bearning reference to Charles Wilson Ltd. as the actual bottler. Nothing special, so they were largely ignored. I'll bet it's hard to find a complete flavour set with all labels in great condition.
 

RCO

Well-Known Member
May 17, 2012
4,079
113
Ontario , Canada
Should have mentioned early, the Becker's pop bottle I remember from the mid-1980s were all paper-labelled screw-cappers, with the labels bearning reference to Charles Wilson Ltd. as the actual bottler. Nothing special, so they were largely ignored. I'll bet it's hard to find a complete flavour set with all labels in great condition.
I don't recall even seeing one before , doubt many would of been saved , those labels usually don't hold up well in the outdoors and fade colour badly
 

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