End of an era for North’s own soft drink
CHARTERS Towers soft drink manufacturers Wayne and Kay Lestone and long-term employee Percy Pugh have made their last bottle of ‘‘ sars’’.
The famous Charters Towers soft drink manufacturing plant known as Whitbreads Cordials sent its last bottle of flavoured water around the bottling plant at 4pm on Wednesday. It is the end of era, and with the Bowen soft drink plant closing last year, Whitbreads literally was the last man standing in North Queensland.
The Whitbreads name has become a byword in Charters Towers and around the North Queensland inland, but now with the plant and equipment including a commercial ice works up for sale, it now looks to be over.
The prime parcel of land on the corner of York St and Millchester Rd on which the soft drink plant is located, has been sold to Townsville and Charters Towers car dealer Mike Carney. Mr Lestone said he and his wife had until May 15 to vacate the site.
The closing down of the business also means that Percy Pugh, 67, who started work at the plant nearly 51 years ago as a 16-year-old, will be out of work. Percy worked with his brother Clive who started at the soft drink factory when he was 15. Clive retired last year.
Percy said he was looking forward to retirement and would find plenty of things to do to keep himself busy.
One thing he won’t be doing is sitting around drinking soft drink.
BITTER-SWEET END: Soft drink manufacturers Wayne and Kay Lestone with long-term employee Percy Pugh