The Costa Residence
This is the final business location of the Athens originated soft drink company Budwine (“BUDWINE SOFT DRINK, INC. - GeorgiaCorporates – Company Profiles of Georgia.”). This company began with the name Bludwine and was originated in 1906 by an Athens teetotaler named H. C. Henderson (King, 2016). The goal of his soda was to help people have an enjoyable drink that could replace the alcoholic beverages that people had become so accustomed to. At its peak the original company, Bludwine, grew to a size that rivaled both Coke and Pepsi with a hundred bottling plants across the United States as far flung as California (King, 1978). In 1921 the FDA sued Bludwine to force them to change their company name as doctors began prescribing it as a blood tonic (King, 2016).
Backstory and Context
The teetotaler movement led many people to try and replace alcoholic beverages with sodas as a way of protecting the health of the common man who spent much of his free time drinking. Keeping in mind that at this point the detrimental effects of sugary drinks had yet to be discovered, this seemed like a great option and hundreds of soft drink brands were formed (King, 2016). Bludwine was thus seen as an invigorating drink to restore the energy of people who had become tired after work and wanted to conform to the growing pressure for refraining from consuming alcohol ("Display Ad 7 -- no Title,” 1913). This idea of a healthy energy drink was a great thing for many people who found themselves buying Bludwine at five cents a bottle (King, 2016). However this idea of a health drink got Bludwine into trouble with the FDA after the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act because people had construed it as a medicine and doctors began prescribing it as a way to improve blood health. Thus the name was quickly changed to Budwine to circumvent this issue in 1921 (King, 2016). The company also found itself in hot water for using wine in the name quickly after the Pure food and Drug act was passed; however, this was quickly resolved with no repercussions to the company ("JUDGE GEORGE L. BELL WILL HEAR CASES TODAY,” 1912)
After its peak near World War One Budwine had begun to decline Anderson ended up selling the company to an Athens ice cream shop owner Joe Costa in 1930. At this point the hundred former bottlers had been reduced to only 25 spread across the Southeast (King, 2016). The Great Depression was not kind to the struggling Budwine brand and they decided to create a cheap soda that was called the three centa as it only cost three cents (King, 1978). This however did not save the company because at this point Coke had a very strong grip on the Atlanta area and made it difficult for Budwine to sell their drink to any large population centers (King, 1978). After World War Two the once world renown company only had two bottlers left in Athens and Augusta (King, 2016).This decline continued throughout the rest of the mid-20th century. By 1969 the Pepsi plant that had been bottling for Budwine changed hands and was forced to sign an exclusivity contract with Pepsi and thus stopped bottling Budwine (King, 2016). Still the company held on for dear life with Costa producing the syrup for the Athens Dairy Queen (his last customer) in his residence (King, 2016).
Joe Costa’s son Bill took the reins of his father’s failing business after graduating from the University of Georgia in 1974. He began ramping up production of syrup and searching for new customers (King, 1978). The drink made a resurgence and got its first exclusive bottler in decades. The drink began selling well across northeast Georgia but it was near impossible for any sizeable market to be obtained due to Coke’s stranglehold on Atlanta’s soft drink market (King, 1978). So Costa spent much of the rest of his time finding places that would be willing to sell Budwine. This continued until Bill sold the rights to Budwine to recoup the losses of his failed business (King, 1978). The Budwine name and line of soda was ended in the mid-1990s when the man who purchased the rights sold them to Anheuser Busch. The beer company sought to take every other product named “Bud” off of the market and Budwine was finally relegated to the history books (King, 1978).
“BUDWINE SOFT DRINK, INC. - GeorgiaCorporates – Company Profiles of Georgia.” GeorgiaCorporates Company Profiles of Georgia RSS. Accessed October 20, 2019. http://www.georgiacorporates.com/corp/637027.html.
"Display Ad 7 -- no Title." 1909.The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Oct 07, 3. http://proxy-remote.galib.uga.edu:80/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy-remote.galib.uga.edu/docview/496263679?accountid=14537.
"JUDGE GEORGE L. BELL WILL HEAR CASES TODAY." 1912. The Atlanta Constitution (1881-1945), Nov 11, 1912. http://proxy-remote.galib.uga.edu:80/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy-remote.galib.uga.edu/docview/496517567?accountid=14537.
King, Bill. 2016. “ADVENTURES IN FOOD: Legend of Athens’ Budwine Lives on: Cheerwine? It Doesn’t Compare to Bygone Cherry Soft Drink.” The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, GA). http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgin&AN=edsgcl.461206025&site=eds-live.
King, Bill. 1978. "Athens' Own Soft Drink may make A Comeback." The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Feb 24, 2. http://proxy-remote.galib.uga.edu:80/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy-remote.galib.uga.edu/docview/1619723811?accountid=14537.