Bludwine, later Budwine, was a brand of cherry-flavored soft drink and flavored syrups that was originally produced in the United States by the Bludwine Company and Bludwine Bottling Company. The Bludwine Company was founded by Henry C. Anderson in spring, 1906. Bludwine Company produced the master elixir in Athens, Georgia, and various Bludwine Bottling Company locations processed the elixir into syrup and bottled soft drinks prepared from the syrup. The syrups were also shipped to and used at soda fountains as an ingredient to add flavor to various beverages. In 1911 Bludwine was marketed as having health benefits, such as aiding in digestion, and some physicians in Athens, Georgia and other areas of the state prescribed it to their patients. The brand’s name was changed from Bludwine to Budwine in 1921. Production of Budwine stopped in the mid 1990s.
Henry C. Anderson founded the Bludwine Company in Athens, Georgia in Spring, 1906 with $60 capital, and in 1910 the company was incorporated. Bludwine’s master elixir was manufactured solely in Athens (as of 1917), and then shipped to various Bludwine Company factory locations where it was used in the preparation of syrups. The syrup was also produced from the elixir at the company’s location in Athens. By 1917, the Bludwine Company operated in 26 U.S. states and had over 100 syrup bottling plants, and the Athens location was producing quantities of elixir that allowed for the production of 16,000 gallons of syrup daily. The company used a distillery to purify water used in producing the elixir.
In the 1920s, Joseph Costa, an owner of an ice cream parlor in Athens, ran the company, and the Costa family owned the franchising rights for Budwine. Production of Budwine stopped in the mid 1990s.
Bludwine Bottling Company
Bludwine Bottling Company locations processed the master elixir produced and received from Athens, Georgia into syrup and bottled soft drinks prepared from the syrup. Bottling plant locations included New York City (New York Bludwine Co.), Dallas, Texas (Dallas Bludwine Company) and Jacksonville, Florida, among others, and the product was distributed throughout the United States.
In 1919, the Bludwine Bottling Company had Georgia-state locations in Athens, Augusta, Elberton, Gainesville, Macon and Rome.
A 1914 Bludwine advertisement stated that the bottles containing the product were in a hobble skirt shape and were sealed with a crown seal.
The soft drink product has been described as “cherry-flavored”. Bludwine’s primary ingredients included wheat and oats, lemon, orange, grape, ginger and peppermint. Refined sugar, created from imported raw sugar, was also used. as “a real invigorating, life-giving drink with a pungency and flavor that are unsurpassed”.
In 1912, the U.S. Bureau of Chemistry analyzed a sample of Bludwine syrup as part of U.S. v. Bludwine Co., and published results stating the syrup contained 0.142% citric acid, 0.066% phosphoric acid, 62.5% total solids, 0.11% alcohol, 0.11% ash, 1.2% sucrose, 63.7% total sugar as invert, 0.37% total acid as citric, flavor: capsicum and color: amaranth.
Federal food regulators required elimination of the name Bludwine so in 1921, the company changed the name of the soft drink product from Bludwine to Budwine. At this time, the company announced that while the quality of the drink could not be further improved, the name was able to be improved.
Budwine was bottled over a wide area for many years but eventually declined until recent years when the only bottler was Athens, GA. The company closed around 1995.