Soda & Soft Drink Saturday – Johnnie Ryan

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Keystone Water Company

Janik brothers Walter, Stephen and John started Keystone Water Company in the basement of their 24th and East Falls Street home in Niagara Falls, NY. They sold bulk water in 5-galloon  containers to nearby plants and offices. The water was prepared by a special ozonization process involving electrical discharges. It was only a matter of time before the Janik brothers saw the had all the ingredients necessary to move into the soft drink field.

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1935 Extra Bottling Company
Cokes’ decision in 1934 to abandon it’s line of multi-flavour soft drinks and concentrate on selling Cola led to the birth of what is now called Johnnie Ryan Soda.  The brothers sensed that Coke’s decision would create a gap in the local soft drink market so they began producing several different flavours of soda pop. Coke at that time had a small split bottle which was 6 1/2 oz. The Janik’s decided to give the public a little more for their money so they went with a 8 oz bottle which was unheard of at the time! Inspired by the “extra pop” they provided in their bottles, the Janik’s chose to call the themselves the “Extra Bottling Company”.

johnnie ryan_031940 Main St Plant
The Extra Bottling company moved to Main St. in Niagara Falls. They relocated again in 1942 to a larger facility to the 1100 block of Main St. Operations continued there until 1947 when the current Niagara St plant was purchased. This facility formerly housed area 7-up Operations.

1942 Johnnie Ryan Company
John Janik sought to change company name to an Irish name to attract more business. After brainstorming several name variations that included both his eldest son’s names: John and Ron, he settled on the name Johnnie Ryan. Soon after red striped signs were painted on the exterior of taverns and restaurants throughout the city.

johnnie ryan_051947 Niagara St Plant
As company operations continued to grow, there was for more space. In 1947 a new plant was built at 9th and Niagara Streets where it operated until the present plant was purchased in 1978.

1965 Bar Dispensing Business Began
The bar dispensing business includes syrups and soft drinks dispensed at bars. To this day 90% of bars and restaurants in the Niagara Falls vicinity have the Johnnie Ryan System.

1978 2nd Generation, Niagara St Plant
2nd generation Janik’s Ron Janik and his brother Paul Janik took over the company in 1978. A brother John was in the business until his death in 1994. It was in 1978 when a former 7-up Bottling Plant  on the corner of 32nd and Niagara Streets in Niagara Falls was purchased. This facility currently is still the sole production facility for Johnnie Ryan Beverage company.

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1981 Introduced Line of Cocktail Mixes
Each year Johnnie Ryan produces about 200,000 5-gallon containers of bulk syrup for dispensing machines. Included in their soft drink dispensing machines, the company also sells, services and supplies cocktail mixes to area hotels, country clubs and restaurants.

johnnie ryan_081990 Ryan Seltzer Water
In the face of the increasing demand for bottled water, Johnnie Ryan augmented their beverage line with Ryan Seltzer Water.

1998 New Capping Machine
Installed an $80,000 bottle capping machine in their 12,000 square foot warehouse and production facility. The new bottling system was designed to expedite daily operations and retain it’s work force into the new millennium. It caps at a faster rate than the former machine using plastic caps and bottles instead of aluminium caps.

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2001 3rd Generation Ownership
Current Owners Paul Janik and his brother John took over in 2001 when they recognized the opportunity to buy the business they were raised around as kids. As the 3rd generation to run Johnnie Ryan Beverage Company, Ron Janik, President co-owns the company with his brother Paul Janik, Vice President. Their sister Kathy Tedesco is the office manager
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If you have any nice childhood memories or other good recollection connected to Red Rock Cola or other sodas from Red Rock or any other of the sodas and soft drinks presented her on Saturdays for that matter, please feel free to share them – Ted