NEW EXHIBIT—Birmingham Bottling: Soft Drinks in the Magic City, open now

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Vulcan Park & Museum
Coca-Cola fan? (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

You’ve heard of Coca-Cola. But what about Ala-cola, Fan-Tax or Nifty Cola? To learn about the many products that have quenched Birmingham’s thirst for sugar and fizz and made us the nation’s leader in soft drink brands, check out Vulcan Park & Museum’s newest exhibit, Birmingham Bottling: Soft Drinks in the Magic City—now-January 2023. Tickets available at Vulcan Park & Museum.

About the exhibit

Vulcan Park & Museum
Birmingham is the headquarters of Coca-Cola. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Did you know Birmingham is said to have consumed more soft drink brands than any other country? Yep, The Magic City has long been a place where innovation has been strong—especially in carbonated beverages. 

Now-January 2023, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at our city’s lengthy history in creating soda products—some we still love today—during Birmingham Bottling: Soft Drinks in the Magic City. When you visit the exhibit, you’ll discover Vulcan Park and Museum’s collection of memorabilia and vintage soda bottles, plus exciting programming with local experts in the industry. 

Event Details

What: Birmingham Bottling: Soft Drinks in the Magic City
When: Now-January 2023 | Daily, 10AM-6PM
Where: Linn-Henley Gallery at Vulcan Park and Museum, 1701 Valley View Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209
Price: General admission to Vulcan Park and Museum. Adults (13+) – $6 | Seniors (65+) – $5 | Kids (5-12) – $4 | Kids 4 + under – free
Tickets available at Vulcan Park and Museum

Special Programming

Vulcan Park & Museum
You’ll learn more than you can imagine about Birmingham’s bottling history. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

During the Birmingham Bottling: Soft Drinks in the Magic City exhibit’s run, here are some special programs to participate in that are sure to make you bubble over with delight:

Soft Drink Science

Put on your ingenuity hat for this cool program that lets you design your very own soft drink. Industry experts will be there to help you flavor, mix and brand your concoction, along with explain the science and marketing behind launching a new soft drink that’s sure to be a hit.

When: April 24 | 2-4PM
Where: Linn-Henley Gallery at Vulcan Park and Museum, 1701 Valley View Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209
Price: $10 (includes entry to Vulcan Center Museum + Vulcan Tower)
Ticket info will be available soon. Check Vulcan Park & Museum’s website to stay up to date.

Bottles and Bottling Memorabilia Meet-Up

Collectors of bottles and bottling memorabilia—this one’s for you.

During the Bottles and Bottling Memorabilia Meet-Up, you’ll have the chance to display your own collection and even make a few choice trades and purchases.

Experienced appraisers will be onsite to answer all your most burning questions, including just how much that soft drink bottle garage find you’ve been hanging onto is actually worth.

Thanks to a partnership with Southern Museum of Flight and Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, you’ll also have the rare chance to see two mid-century bottling-themed masterpieces on display—a Coca-Cola delivery truck and Graphic airplane.

When: May 14 | 10AM-2PM
Where: Linn-Henley Gallery at Vulcan Park and Museum, 1701 Valley View Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209
Price: Free with ticket to Birmingham Bottling: Soft Drinks in the Magic City exhibit. Tickets available at Vulcan Park and Museum.
Ticket info will be available soon. Check Vulcan Park & Museum’s website to stay up to date.

Birmingham Bottling’s Facebook Live Chats

Vulcan Park & Museum
The classic Coca-Cola bear. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

February: Dennis Smith 

Join author and collector Dennis Smith who has written extensively on the soft drink history of Birmingham and beyond. In this Facebook Live chat, he’ll discuss the strange soft drink brands that popped up in Birmingham’s early history and the sometimes stranger people behind them. 

When: Tuesday, February 8 | 6PM
Watch here

February: Larry Thornton

From high school art teacher to first Black advertising manager at Coca-Cola Bottling UNITED, entrepreneur Larry Thornton shares his story of via this Facebook Live chat on February 22.

When: Tuesday, February 22 | 6PM
Watch here

Vulcan Park & Museum
Do you know about Buffalo Rock? (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

March: Walker Jones

Walker Jones is a fifth generation descendant of the American success story that is Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED. Tune in to this Facebook Live chat as Walker talks about her family’s unique role in building the Coca-Cola market in Alabama, expanding into new territories and shaping the famous hobbleskirt bottle. 

When: March 22 | 6PM
Watch here

August: Jim Phillips

Intrigued by vintage collections? Then you’ll love this chat with former metal detectorist Jim Phillips.

After finding old coins, store tokens, buttons and utensils in local dumps a century old or more, he unveiled old glass objects including soft drink bottles from Birmingham’s early bottling history.

During his Facebook Live chat, he’ll show off select vintage soft drink bottles from his collection and more.

When: August 2 | 2PM
Watch here

Vulcan Park & Museum
Pepsi, anyone? (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

October: Peyton Lee

Peyton Lee, great granddaughter of Buffalo Rock founder Sid Lee, shares her family’s history running the couontry’s largest family-owned Pepsi bottling operation in the country.

When: TBD
Watch here

October: Dr. Jesse J. Lewis Sr.

What do Lewis & Associates, Coca-Cola bottling Company and promotional strategies for Black consumers have to do with each other? Find out in this online chat with Dr. Lewis J. Sr.—groundbreaking advertiser and owner of the city’s African-American weekly, The Birmingham Times.

When: TBD
Watch here

Birmingham Beverage Tour

Vulcan Park & Museum
Old-school Pepsi machine. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Soft drinks aren’t the only industry Birmingham is known for. It’s also a huge success in breweries, distilleries and wineries.

Now, the city’s love of these industries come together for something all-new—the Birmingham Beverage Tour.

Through a partnership with Dining Out with Comedienne Joy, Vulcan Park and Museum has created three beverage tracks to provide a behind-the-scenes look at how their respective products are made of the city’s major breweries and distilleries.

Your ticket to the Birmingham Beverage Tour includes:

  • Transportation
  • Small bites
  • Ample pours of beverages
  • Opportunity to purchase additional items at each tour stop

When: March 3, 6PM | March 5, 1PM | June 2, 6PM | June 4, 1PM

Ticket info will be available soon! Check Vulcan Park & Museum’s website to stay up to date.

Ready to get all the fizz on Birmingham Bottling Soft Drinks in the Magic City? Check it out now-January 2023. Tickets available at Vulcan Park & Museum.

Stay up to date on all the happenings during Vulcan Park & Museum’s Birmingham Bottling: Soft Drinks in the Magic City. Visit Vulcan Park & Museum’s website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram, too.

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