In New Iberia, an old, tattered brick building still stands on the corner of Robertson Street and St. Jude Street that played a role in the city’s economy and food industry.
The Grapette Bottling Company is still remembered by family members of former employees.
Grapette is a grape-flavored soft drink that was first produced and marketed in 1939 by Benjamin “Tyndle” Fooks. Grapette is now produced by Grapette International, and is marketed in the United States by Walmart as part of its Sam’s Choice line of soft drinks.
The Grapette building in New Iberia was owned by the Gachassin family, according to Barry Bouillion.
But the building itself and the grape soda that was bottled there were well known in the community, and remembered by the families of the people who worked there.
Inside its halls once stood a flow of working bells and whistles, conveyor belts and machines. Ann Eldridge’s grandfather worked there, she recalls.
“My grandfather worked there a couple of years fixing and rebuilding the wooden crates that the bottles were sold and shipped,” she said. “I would walk to the plant and have a Pop Rouge with him.”
Tony Tauzin’s youth was spent watching the soda bottling there, in what became a daily pastime for her.
“I used to pass on my way home from school to watch the machine capping the bottles in that front window,” Tauzin siad. I loved that Grapette soda.”
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