The American Beverage Association has a long history of supporting its member companies. In ABA's early days as the American Bottlers of Carbonated Beverages (ABCB), much of the association's focus was on technical guidance and expertise. In fact, in the early 1930s, the association set its sights on improving industry standards by pioneering efforts to improve product quality and achieve greater production efficiencies. An example of this is ABCB's Technical Service Laboratory, which opened at its Washington, D.C., headquarters in 1930. Just six years later, the association decided to take that laboratory on the road. For nearly the next 30 years, the mobile "Field Laboratory" traveled around the country offering top-to-bottom plant inspections, including assessing sanitation and manufacturing procedures.
ABCB's laboratory director, Dr. John M. Sharf, traveled with the laboratory, gathering research on issues the industry faced in technical service. This research would later be provided to the entire industry in an effort to increase standards of efficiency and decrease production costs. While the field laboratory first took the form of an automobile, the last model was a customized Airstream trailer. In 1963, the field laboratory was retired and shortly afterwards, a new in-house laboratory was opened at the ABCB headquarters. Although the laboratory is no more, and the industry and its association have evolved and innovated in many ways, there is no doubt that the laboratory played an important role that impacted the industry and our member companies' ability to provide safe, convenient and refreshing beverages to their consumers, during its decades of service.