Admiral Beverage and affiliated companies have been quenching the thirst of the Pepsi generation for over 50 years. Thanks to a chance meeting with a Denver Pepsi-Cola bottler in 1945, Newell Sargent decided to leave his employment at George W. Clayton College for Boys and venture into the soft drink business. A two year search for a small bottling plant led Mr. Sargent and his wife, Mabel, to Worland, Wyoming. The Sergeants’ sold their home and borrowed money from both of their parents and an aunt and purchased the Worland Bottling Plant. They opened for business as Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company in June of 1947. The one-production line operation bottled two flavors, Pepsi-Cola and Nesbitt Orange. In the early days in Worland, Mr. Sargent batched and Mrs. Sargent ran the twelve spout Diamond filler. Two full time employees completed the work force that produced, sold and distributed 1100 cases a week. It was a modest beginning to a group of affiliated companies that now employ over 1600 employees with 35 facilities operating in an eight state region, and producing 48 flavors and brands in bottles and cans.
Among the many flavors produced and/or distributed by Admiral Beverage and affiliated companies are: Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Diet Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, 7UP, A&W Root Beer, leading Energy Brands, Coors Miller brands and many more.
The soft drink industry weathered difficult times brought on by sugar rationing during the Korean conflict. According to Mr. Sargent, the Schlitz Beer franchise acquired in 1948, kept him in business. In spite of adversities, the business edged ahead and branched out into the Riverton market. Once again a name change was in order. Fremont Beverages was chosen in recognition of pioneer scout, John Fremont. Years of hard work, growth and reward were not without heartache. Tragedy struck on December 30, 1960, when Mabel Sargent was killed in a vehicle accident while returning home from deliveries in Cody.
Continued growth and increased sales during the decade of the 50’s had already made evident the need for an associate. January 1, 1961, Forrest L. Clay joined the company as a partner and secretary- treasurer. Working together Forrest and Newell built the business into a thriving enterprise with greatly expanded services. Both men worked inexhaustibly alongside a growing workforce in every phase of the operation.
In 1962 Newell married Vera Hansen of Worland. They lived in an apartment adjoining the production facility for many years, before expanding the production facility and building a home in the country.
During the 1960’s the corporation purchased the 7up Bottling Company in Thermopolis and, Pepsi-Cola and 7Up in Casper, widening its service area.
Until 1970, only bottled soft drinks were produced at the Worland plant. In January of 1970, thirteen independent bottlers pooled their resources to build a beverage canning line in Worland, forming the company known as Admiral Beverage Corporation. Fremont Beverages was authorized to operate Admiral’s canning line, necessitating construction of additional buildings and installation of sophisticated canning equipment. Admiral affiliated companies expanded the Pepsi-Cola franchise in 1972 into the areas of Worland, Riverton, Powell, Casper, Cheyenne and Laramie.
Since 1972, Admiral Beverage has expanded to include beverage franchises in, South Dakota, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Alaska, Northern Colorado and New Mexico.
Additional production facilities have been added as well. In Worland, besides two can lines and the original bottle line, and an industry leading plastic blow molding operation has been added. Admiral’s Ogden, Utah production facility produces can and bottle beverages and has a plastic blow molding operation in addition to a state of the art injection mold facility.
Fremont Beverages, Inc. , along with Admiral Beverage and affiliated companies have helped provide prosperity and growth to Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain Region through the leadership of two fine men, who believed in keeping the Wyoming dream alive.