SMACK, 1925, Los Angeles - ?info, ?connection to Fruit-Smack / Grape-Smack

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5 gallon collector

Well-Known Member
May 29, 2018
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SMACK experts wanted - but please, leave no welts, no bruises.
Going through some 5-gallon bottles I acquired 30+ years ago I came across SMACK, made in the Los Angeles area in 1925 by M-in-a-shield-mark (?Marble/Monarch/Midway -- I think Midway?). A crown top, unusually early (though there is a crown top from 1923 (LA Ice and Cold Storage/Puritas made by F-in-a-shield (?Federal?)). I found no info about SMACK initially, but 2 days ago I came across a LA City Directory entry, 1925, the "Smack Company of California", beverage manufacturers, Benjamin C. Rich pres-mgr. Very excited -- I had thought the bottle was some kind of joke. The company was listed in 1926 too, bottlers of "cereal and fruit beverages. No entries before 1925, and no entries after 1926. But there are newspaper references to several Smack companies elsewhere in the state, the first in Sacramento in 1924; "SMACK The New Wonder Drink, It Won the East Overnight, Earned 26% in Chicago During 5 Months of 1923"; and after 1926, mentioning Sacramento, Santa Rosa, Fresno, San Carlos, the Anderson Valley and San Diego -- petering out in about 1931.
And Mr. Rich, interestingly, was president of the "California Fruit Beverage Co." in 1914, for just that year, a company listed in LA directories 1914-1917 -- so he had had prior experience with fruit juice. (Are there bottles from that company?)
(There may be bottles dating from 1920 and later. The company may have lost its license in 1917 for non-payment of taxes; but subsequently there was a notice of incorporation, same name, California Fruit Beverage Company, new principals, in April 1920, and the company reappears in the 1921 LA City Directory -- later directories not yet searched.)

I am wondering if any of you have information about SMACK in Los Angeles or anywhere in California, perhaps bottles of theirs? Was fruit juice sold in 5-gallon ?bottles -- or perhaps water to thin a concentrate? I found no reference to their selling water. Was there a connection to Smack of Nebraska (===> Kool-Aid?)/ Chicago, Grape-Smack, Fruit-Smack; about which I have read a little.

Attached are images of the bottle, the company name standing alone smack bang in the middle of the slug plate; of the base and neck, and of a Smack company (Fresno) stock certificate, signed by Harry G. Ames and H. H. Wittenwyler, 1927 -- they with Astley-or-Estley Cooper incorporated the "Smack Beverage Company of Fresno", 23 March 1926. I hope that the megabytes are not excessive - if so I can retake and try again.


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