Mention Mission Orange soda to someone old enough to remember its “Naturally Good” taste and you’re almost certain to draw nostalgic memories of another time. Since the first sodas appeared in the 1800s, soft drinks have flavored American life and captured the spirit of each passing era. But times and tastes change. And keeping up with or, better still, staying ahead of America’s fickle taste buds is not easy. Just ask the Deary family.
Roy “Grant” and Margaret Deary started the Hires® Bottling Company of Sacramento in 1937, producing about 25,000 cases of root beer that first year. Today the Deary’s family-owned company produces more than 25,000 cases each day—but not a single root beer or cola. The company sold off its traditional soft-drink franchises in 2007 and invested the proceeds into retooling several production lines for drinks that today’s consumers enjoy—ready-to-drink teas, ades and juices, fortified and sparking waters, and energy drinks. That gutsy move is a perfect example of how the Dearys have stayed ahead of the fast-moving industry.
Like many decisions that came before it, this one paid off. The company currently bottles more than 80 million cases annually, co-packing for an impressive client list and bottling its own expanding Go Girl® line of energy drinks.
How the company grew from a small soft-drink bottler into the largest independent beverage co-packager west of the Mississippi, and highly respected equipment solutions provider is a tale of hard work, horse sense, quick action, and plain good luck. More than that, it’s a story of decency and commitment from the Deary family and the employees they think of as members of a large, extended family. This unique combination of old-fashioned values and innovative and forward-thinking business practices continues to place Nor-Cal Beverage in a class of its own.