A History of Coca-Cola in Baton Rouge, 1971


The new plant, under the leadership of George Connor and Crawford Johnson III, was designed and opened on 10170 Airline Highway containing more than three acres of floor space, or 135,000 square feet.  W. J. Hughes Jr. was the Architect and Crump Construction Company was the general contractor of the plant.  The plant was situated on a 10 acre site and cost $1,500,000 to build.  A new high-speed bottling line was added capable of producing 650 bottles per minute and the former line located at the old plant was moved in as a second line, capable of producing 350 bottles per minute.  The two lines have a combined capacity of 20,000 cases per day, or a total of 480,000 bottles.  The new plant’s production was now delivered by a fleet of 40 trucks.  The public was invited to an Open House at the plant where hundreds of prizes were given away.


In addition to the popular 6 ½-oz. returnable size, Coke was sold locally in 10-oz. returnable bottles and 12-oz. cans.


December 10,1985

Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Company becomes the first plant in the country to produce Diet Sprite with 100% NutraSweet.  Sprite and Diet Sprite had already seen huge increases in sales over the previous year, and Diet Sprite with NutraSweet was launched as the new lymon soft drink Diet 7-Up could not even compete with.



Mr. George Connor retires from Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and in 1988, Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. out of Birmingham, AL buys the Baton Rouge franchise renaming it the Gulf Coast Region of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United.



Mr. Gary Sligar, a Texas native, is appointed President of the Gulf Coast Region of Coca-Cola United.  Mr. Sligar came from the Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company and the Dallas-Fort Worth Dr Pepper Bottling Company with an impressive knowledge and passion for the soft drink industry.



Under the direction of Mr. Gary Sligar, The Coca-Cola Way was developed in Baton Rouge.  The Coca-Cola Way is a company program all employees in the Gulf Coast Region of Coca-Cola United are taught to embrace and example in their every day lives. 


January 31, 2006

Mr. Gary Sligar retires from the system after 33 years of service.  Mr. Sligar’s leadership and vision contributed to significant market share growth in Baton Rouge as measured by A.C. Nielsen.  Because of Mr. Sligar’s business success and innovation, he was elected to the Board of Directors for Coca-Cola United.


February 1, 2006

Following the retirement of Gary Sligar, Livonia native Darian Chustz was promoted to President of the Gulf Coast Region of Coca-Cola Bottling Company United.  Besides Mr. Daigre who founded the company in 1906, Darian is the youngest person elected to the President’s position in Baton Rouge Coca-Cola’s history.