Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Maxwell House Coffee – The History

Maxwell House Coffee – The History
Joel Owsley Cheek was born on December 8, 1862, in Burkesville, Kentucky. When he turned 21, he left the family farm and traveled by raft along the Cumberland River to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was hired as a travelling salesman for a wholesale grocery company.

At about the same tome, Colonel John Overton opened an elaborate Nashville hotel that he named The Maxwell House in honor of his wife, whose maiden name was Harriet Maxwell.

The hotel quickly became famous for its fine cuisine and lavish hospitality and the Maxwell House became the place stay whole travelling though Nashville.

Of all the products that Cheek peddled, coffee held most of his interest. As he traveled from village, he developed plans for blending his own brand of coffee.

He was eventually granted a partnership in the grocery firm that he worked for, while he meant that his travel days were over. With his free time in Nashville, he started experimenting with coffee blends.

In 1882, he quit the partnership and established a full time coffee business.

Over the next decade, Cheek built his coffee business while continuing to experimenting with new blends.

In 1892, he developed a particularly fine blend that he considered to be rich that it was suitable for a hotel like The Maxwell House.

He approached the management of the Hotel who agreed to serve it to customer for a trial period. Soon, everyone seemed to be talking about the wonderful Maxwell House coffee.

One satisfied customer was Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States. While visiting Nashville in 1907, a hostess asked him if he would like another cup of the Maxwell House coffee. “Delighted,” responded the president, “It’s good to the last drop!” This response was later adopted by Maxwell House as its long running slogan.

The success of the coffee bend contributed to a rapid growth of Cheek’s partnership, the Cheek Coffee Company that he operated with John W. Neal. Other innovations followed such as Maxwell House tea, which was introduced in 1917.

On August 1, 1928, the Postum Company acquired the Cheek Neal Coffee Company for approximately $40 million, changing its name to the Maxwell House Products Corporation.

One year later, Postum changed its name to General Foods Corporation.

Joel Cheek died on December 13, 1936, at the age of 83. The original Maxwell House hotel was destroyed by a fire on December 25, 1961.
Maxwell House Coffee – The History
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