Coke releasing collectible bottles for Natchez Tricentennial

Published 12:03 am Monday, March 21, 2016

NATCHEZ — Locals will soon be able to have a Coke and a smile with a collectible bottle honoring Natchez.

Coca-Cola soon will debut 8-ounce collectible glass bottles with the Natchez Tricentennial logo in honor of the 2016 celebration of the city’s 300th birthday.

The City of Natchez and Coke partnered for the project to make a collectible item that would outlast the tricentennial, Mayor Butch Brown said.

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Coke created a commemorative bottle, Brown said, when the Spanish bicentennial was celebrated in Natchez in the 1990s. The city even had an exclusive contract with Coke that designated the beverage as the official cola of Natchez, Brown said.

That agreement expired in 2015, Brown said, and another contract to make Coke the official cola of the tricentennial may be in the works.

When plans were under way for the Natchez Tricentennial, Brown said he contacted Coke to see if the company would like to sponsor the celebration.

The commemorative bottles are an outgrowth of Coke’s tricentennial sponsorship, Brown said.

Coke is tentatively scheduled to deliver 3,000 bottles to Natchez April 9. The bottles will be available for purchase at tricentennial events.

Tricentennial Director Jennifer Ogden Combs said the bottles will not be available for retail sales, but could possibly be sold at the gift shop in the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

A portion of the bottles are being donated to the city and some are being purchased at wholesale price by the city, Combs said.

Proceeds from the sales of the bottles will go toward the tricentennial celebration.

Given the popularity of the collection of Coke memorabilia worldwide, Brown said he thinks the collectible bottles are a special way to commemorate the tricentennial.

“Thousands of people collect Coke memorabilia, and this is just another good way to celebrate Natchez and to bring attention to the city,” he said.

Having the tricentennial associated with Coca-Cola can only mean good things for the city, Combs said.

“Coke is a classic that is known around the world,” she said. “The fact that they are doing this for us, it’s just an incredibly awesome thing to have happen for Natchez.”