Crass Delicious Beverage

Submitted by Mark Blackwell December 10th, 2009
Certifikitsch Winner

This particular example of these “delicious beverages” was manufactured by Washington Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Inc. of Capitol Heights, Maryland. I always wondered why someone would produce a drink under a moniker that by definition implies “lacking sensitivity, refinement, or intelligence,” but it turns out that Crass soda was a namesake of James E. Crass, one of the earliest franchisers of the Central Coca-Cola Company, Inc, who acquired his first Coca-Cola bottling plant in my home state of South Carolina back in 1899 and then very successfully spread his cola crassness throughout the east coast in the early 1900s. This bottle is stamped ’68 on the bottom. I wish I knew how it tasted – did anyone out there ever have a swig of Crass back in the day?

13 Responses to “Crass Delicious Beverage”

  1. Allee Willis

    Beautiful bottle design and great story to go along with it. Although I guess it’s quite unfortunate that the Coca-Cola entrepreneur’s last name was Crass. At least when someone else who’s last name began with ‘C’ made their invention it had an integral tie in with their product. That would be Thomas Crapper, who enhanced toilet design by inventing the ballcock and other things that made the crap flow easier.

  2. kookykitsch

    It this weren’t a vintage bottle I would have assumed that the person or persons in charge of naming it were not native English speakers but, it makes a lot more sense that the soda was named after its inventor. In any case, cool bottle.

  3. jack

    No matter what his last name was I can’t believe they called the soda that and expected it to be successful. Some last names don’t translate well into product names. I knew a man with the last name Crash, and if he started a car company I’m pretty sure that would not be a good name for a car.

  4. Jonas L Crass II

    Greeting all, My name is Jonas Crass and James E. Crass, founder of the Central Coca Cola Company, inc is my great great grandfather. My great great grandfather was a very hard working successful man and deserved to have the bottle named after him. The drink was popular for a while and no offense to you Mr. Jack but you have no right to say it was not. If you have any questions or would let to contact me feel free to at my recreational email address : [email protected]

  5. Mark Blackwell

    that’s great, jonas! kudos to your great great grandfather – what an amazing achievement to be one of the earliest founders and franchisers of such a long-lasting and ubiquitous company! i’m sure jack didn’t mean any harm, he was just musing about such an unusual name for a soda…

    did you ever actually taste crass soda – and if so what was it like? is anyone in your family still in the beverage business?

  6. Mark Blackwell

    p.s. jonas: that bottle above is displayed on a shelf in my dining room – long live your great great grandfather’s crass soda!

  7. Lynn

    Good ole Crass soda, I wish it was still around….I grew up on it and loved it. The last time I had one was on Skyline Drive down in Virginia…..It was a little more carbonated then most sodas and the flavor was more intense, but it was one of the best sodas around (to me) next time on Skyline Drive, I’m going to take a good look around for it

  8. herostoryrory

    I just purchased one of these bottles at a local vintage shop today,and came upon this when I was looking up more info on it.It is a very interesting bottle and thank you for the story you researched on it.

  9. Linda Crass

    We have several of these bottles that we purchased at an antique shop in the Lancaster, PA, area many years ago. We bought them, of course, because they have our name on them. Ours are green glass bottles, not clear glass, but otherwise look the same as the one you’ve shown here. The one that I keep on our home bar says on the back: Property of Washington Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc. Alexandria, VA.