The Maquoketa Bottling Works is shown in February, 1980. At that time, the small plant was the second oldest building in the Jackson County community in Eastern Iowa.
The bottling works traced its history back to the early 1860’s. The company was originally known as Berkman & Petersen Bottlers. John Dostal, a native of Czechoslovakia, bought it in 1865 and added a brewery.
Fritz Stemie later purchased the business from Dostal’s son Joseph, who had operated it for 20 years. Stemie ran the brewery until the “dry” era began in Iowa and then he began to manufacture a “near beer.” The business fizzled and in 1916 he sold it to Michael Regenwether, who began bottling various flavors of soda pop for the grocery stores in Maquoketa.
In 1946, Regenwether sold the business to his son Leo and Leo’s wife, Viola. The Regenwethers moved into an apartment above the rambling two-story wood frame factory. Leo died in April, 1979. Viola, who gave serious thought to capping her career in the bottling business, and son James (shown inspecting bottles of Goody for cleanliness in the inset photo), who had worked at the factory with his dad since 1958, decided to keep the factory going.
The Maquoketa Bottling Works operated under franchise held by the Hurty-Peck Company, but the works’ 8,000 cases of pop bottles bore the Goody label. The soda pop base arrived to the company in powder form from Indianapolis and was mixed with water and sugar in a room above the bottling area. Besides flavored soda pop, the plant bottled a pale ginger ale and two mixers, sweet (Sparkle Up) and sour (a grapefruit-lime drink).
Cola, grape and creme soda were always popular, but in the winter there was a big demand for creme strawberry and creme root beer. Other flavors manufactured included cherry cola and orange, and pre-mixed syrups and punches for weddings, parties and social affairs.
In 1980, the broken foundations of the old brewery could still be seen from the bottling work’s loading dock.