Cola Contract

Zak McLamb, left, and Jeff Ferber haul a Coke machine up the stairs at the Whichard Building Annex Dec. 20 on East Carolina University's campus. McLamb said he and Ferber, both Coca-Cola Bottling Company employees, were placing an average of 10 machines a day on campus. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

GREENVILLE   (Dec. 22, 2010) —  East Carolina University officials have awarded exclusive pouring rights to Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, after reviewing request for proposal responses submitted to the university.

The contract gives Coke the exclusive right to sell its products on campus for a period of 10 years beginning January 1, 2011. This replaces the previous contract with Minges Bottling Group, a Pepsi-Cola company, which had been in place since 1998. The East Carolina University Board of Trustees was advised of the award at their November meeting.

ECU Associate Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance–Business Services Scott Buck said the bidding process was more complex due to state requirements to separately request proposals for soft drinks, juice, and bottled water. Coca-Cola’s combined bids totaled $10.5 million for the 10-year period.

“We have enjoyed a positive working relationship with Pepsi and the Minges Bottling Group and have a tremendous respect for the Minges family and their ties to East Carolina and the region,” said Buck. “This new contract represents the beginning of a new relationship, and we are extremely pleased with the generous commitment that Coke has made to ECU.”

ECU followed the trend of most other universities in the 1990s of awarding an exclusive contract to a beverage provider in order to generate revenue for the school. Canned, bottled, and fountain drinks sold or distributed on campus, in university dining halls, cafes and convenience shops, as well as at all athletic concessions, special events, and vending machines are covered under the contract.

The university will allocate the revenue from the new contract to academic merit scholarships, athletic scholarships, and leadership and educational projects. The Athletics Department will receive funding for capital projects. A percentage will go to an endowment fund for academic scholarships, an endowment fund for grants-in-aid to student-athletes. And a portion will go to continue funding a staff/faculty textbook loan program and faculty/student leadership programs.

A request for proposals was distributed in September and bids were opened October 18. Auxiliary Services Director Willie Lee coordinated the bid process and is the contract administrator.

“We expect a smooth transition as campus facilities and equipment are changed from one provider to the other,” said Lee.  “Students, staff, and faculty will see the changes when they return for the spring semester after the holidays.”

One thing that will not immediately change is the price. Under the new contract, vending prices will remain the same for most products for at least three years. After that time, pricing will be evaluated, and any decisions to adjust prices will be made jointly.

Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated carries a number of different popular brands in almost every category. Coke’s lineup includes traditional soft drinks such as Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Cherry Coke, Sprite, Sprite Zero, Mello Yello, Dr. Pepper, Diet Dr. Pepper, Fanta Orange and Grape, Seagram’s Ginger Ale, Nestea, Hi-C, and Sundrop. Additionally, Coke will be offering juice products, such as Minute Maid, Fuze, V8 Splash and V8 Fusion blends, as well as bottled water products that include Dasani, Vitaminwater, and Smartwater. Coke will also carry Powerade, Full Throttle and NOS in the isotonic and energy drink categories. While not all types of beverages will be offered at every venue, the product assortment will be adjusted based on product sales and customer preference in specific areas.

Representatives of the local Coca-Cola bottler said they are excited to be back on ECU’s campus. Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated has their corporate offices in Charlotte and is very familiar with having exclusive rights on college campuses, including similar relationships with universities including N.C. State, West Virginia, Clemson, and the University of South Carolina.

For more information about the transition, visit


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