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The Nelson Photo News



Catering For A Thirst

Summer, winter, autumn or spring, it makes little difference, When there's a thirst, it has to be assuaged. And here in Nelson catering for the thirsts of thousands of young and old is a business which can trace its beginnings in Nelson back to 1853, and its origins back hundreds of years. The soft drink industry is said to have been started by the great British chemist, Joseph Priestley, in 1767. While conducting experiments with carbon dioxide he found the gas gave a pleasant acidulated taste to the water in which it was dissolved.

Times have changed, but the liking for soft drinks, with their pleasant fruity flavours, certainly has not. Every year, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of bottles of soft drink manufactured in the premises of the Nelson Breweries soft drink factory find a ready sale among young and old alike. In a year, nearly 2,500,000 bottles of these delightful beverages are consumed throughout the province by people as thirsty as our young Rugby warrior (left). The manufacture of soft drinks, however, is a skilled and specialised art. This is no hit and miss operation, we found, when we took our cameras into the factory recently. Outside the plant, in storage bays, we found hundreds of thousands of bottles awaiting processing and filling (below). And that's where our story starts.


The most important equipment in the factory is the water filtration plant, at top left. Through this, all water used in the factory must pass. Impurities are eliminated and the water quality controlled. Top right: A section of the syrup room vats in which the syrup, for the drinks is made. At left, syrup maker Don Harley adds the essence to the syrup. This is chosen from a huge range being checked (above) by manager "Pat" Harley. While this work is proceeding, the bottles returned are put through a very thorough sterilising process (done centre right by Bruce Tunnicliff). At right the bottles can 6e seen through a window of the washing machine.



A view of the washing machine as the bottles leave it, completely sterilised.


Laurie Rudman checks to see any cracked bottles.


The production machine. The cordial is first squirted into each bottle, the water added and the whole mixture carbonated to give the "fizzy" effect. Here, the foreman, Reg Akehurst, makes sure all is going well and at left checks the carbonation plant which is carefully regulated.


Bottles are labelled and Dave Feary removes them for packing. Crates of drinks are given a quick whirl in the tumbler operated here by Trevor Brickland to mix the drink, and it's ready for consumption.