Editor’s Note: This is the 391st in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — Long interested in soft drinks, George Rackensperger in 1939 created a company to brew and bottle a new brand of soft drink, Frostie Old Fashion Root Beer.
Rackensperger located his new venture in an unusual location — an abandoned jailhouse in Catonsville, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. He utilized the garage that formerly housed the police wagon to set up his bottling equipment and used the various jail cells to store sugar, bottles and the other supplies needed.
The new root beer was an immediate hit and soon Rackensperger left the jailhouse behind to construct a new modern bottling plant. Over the next decade, numerous companies elsewhere requested and were given the authorization to sell his tasty creation.
Frostie Old Fashion Root Beer came to Huntington in 1949 when the Frostie Bottling Co. of Huntington was established at 1924 3rd Ave. The 1951 Huntington City Directory listed W.R. Muddy as manager of the Huntington company. The 1952-54 Directory identified Muddy as president of the company and L.F. Dobbs as secretary-treasurer. It also indicated that the company had moved to a new address — 1638 7th Ave.
The Frostie Bottling Co. of Huntington proved to be short-lived. According to records in the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, the company went out of business in 1959. Later the local Seven-Up Bottling Co. added Frostie to its lineup of beverages.
In 1979, the Frostie brand was sold to the Monarch Beverage Co. of Atlanta. In 2000, Monarch sold the brand to Leading Edge Brands of Temple, Texas. In 2009, Leading Edge sold it to Intrastate Distributors of Detroit.
Today, Frostie has come a long way from the former Maryland jailhouse where it was born. Intrastate Distributors continues to bottle and sell it, and the tasty soft drink can be found in some Cracker Barrel Country Stores and Walmart Supercenters.