Former employees of Bireley’s Orange hail an era
June 3, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
Former employees of American Bottling Company Inc., which has been selling Bireley’s Orange since before the United States returned Okinawa to Japan, held a reunion party at a hotel in Kitanakagusuku on May 30. American Bottling is the predecessor company of Bireley’s Okinawa Co., based in Nanjo
Former employees took part in the party. Some of them reunited with former colleagues they had not seen for about 42 years. They enjoyed reminiscing over glasses of the company’s flagship orange juice.
About 60 employees from the American Bottling Company established jointly Bireley’s Okinawa in 1972 when the U.S. government returned Okinawa to Japan. While most beverage manufacturers in Okinawa have been reorganized as subsidiary companies of major enterprise in Mainland Japan, Bireley’s Okinawa is one of the few remaining Okinawa-owned companies. The company’s product has been popular with Okinawan consumers. The company announced in April that it would transfer its operations to Asahi Soft Drinks in Tokyo by the end of this year.
Shotoku Asato, 84, the organizer of the reunion said in his speech, “Our company and its products were able to survive after Okinawa’s reversion to Japan. I would like to say thanks to all of you.”
Choko Uema, the president of Bireley’s Okinawa Co., who attended as a guest said, “We will inherit the tradition that you have built up. Would you please continue cherishing the company’s products with pride and confidence.”
(English translation by T&CT)
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