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Randy Walters, center, the chairman of the Pitt County Development Commission, presents the Pitt County Industry of the Year award to Minges Bottling Group president Jeff Minges, second from left, on Tuesday at the plant in Ayden, along with (L-R) office manager Dee Wooten, vice president of sales and marketing Miles Minges (second from left), full service division manager Michelle Minges, vice president of operations Landon Minges (second from right) and business development manager Chris Craft.

AYDEN — Lauded for both its business success and the ways it gives back to the community, Minges Bottling Group of Ayden was honored on Tuesday as the recipient of the 2019-20 Pitt County Industry of the Year award.

Each year, the Pitt County Development Commission recognizes a manufacturer or distributor that best represents the community as a model corporate citizen.

“Minges’ impact spans the regional level and is well known for more than the brands it represents. This is a family that is not only good for our community, but has a heart you would not believe,” said Randy Walters, the chairman of the Pitt County Development Commission.

“I cannot overemphasize the importance this family has had on the county and eastern North Carolina. I don’t think we appreciate this family enough,” Walters said.

M.O. Minges began the business in 1923 as a bottling operation for Orange Crush and other flavored beverages. In 1935, Minges purchased the franchise rights for the distribution of Pepsi-Cola.

The Minges family expanded their business and operations in the 1950s with the creation of two additional independent companies. The three companies merged in 2001 to form Minges Bottling Group and a new facility was built in 2003.

Minges Bottling Group occupies 20 acres in Minges Corporate Park in Ayden. Today, the company distributes 200 brands, employees 225 full-time workers and spans 13 counties in eastern North Carolina.

“As far as our existing industries, this is one of about 100 and they are all growing our community and county,” said Kelly Andrews, the associate director for marking and recruitment for the Pitt County Development Commission.

“Their incremental growth is instrumental to the county and community,” Andrews said.

“I’m proud to be here with the recognition of Minges Bottling Company,” said Kim Bell, secretary of the Pitt County Development Commission. “They are a great corporate citizen.”

But the fourth-generation company is know for more than its business success. Minges Bottling Group takes great pride in being a good corporate citizen and giving back to the communities that have supported it, Andrews said.

The company has contributed to East Carolina University’s Educational Foundation, the Children’s Miracle Network, Vidant’s cancer center and children’s hospital, the East Carolina Heart Institute, the Museum of the Marine, Pitt Community College, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain and the Thomas E. Minges Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The Pitt County Industry of the Year is just one of the many awards the Minges Bottling Group has received.

In 2018, Minges received national recognition when it was nominated alongside two other finalists for the Donald N. Kendall Bottler of the Year award, which is given by PepsiCo.

In 2019, the Minges family garnered the Chancellor’s Amethyst award from East Carolina University for their philanthropic endeavors and service to the industry, Andrews said.

Members of the Minges family said they were thankful for their employees’ dedication and commitment to Minges Bottling Group.

“We’re honored. We’re always proud to reflect our family,” said Jeff Minges, the president of Minges Bottling Group. “We want to continue in the tradition of philanthropy and doing what ever we can to create growth.

“We want to thank our employees who continue to make our business thrive. We’re very proud,” Minges said.

Landon Minges, vice president of operations, said he didn’t take receiving the award lightly.

“I know there are probably many deserving industries,” he said. “I’m most happy for our employees. They are the most deserving of this award and recognition.”

Minges Bottling Group was presented the award at the annual Existing Industries Reception on Tuesday evening at Rock Springs Center. The reception is sponsored by the Pitt County Development Commission and Greenville Utilities Commission.

Contact jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.