Senior College chemistry project leads to 75-year-old family business

The Jell-Craft brand was created in 1945 by Walter Oertling, owner of Blue Bonnet Potato Chip Company in San Antonio, Texas. The company produced chips under the label of Carmen’s Chips until the 1970’s in addition to beverage bases and snow cone syrups.

Oertling, developed his first punch concentrate at Louisiana State University where he was a chemistry major. This punch was an instant hit among the college students. His grandchildren often joke about their grandfather developing a “frat punch” or “trashcan punch.” In fact, his granddaughter, Elizabeth Miller, who is the current Marketing Manager for the company, has memories of drinking the punch at college functions.

The company continued operating under the name Blue Bonnet Potato Chip Company until 1997 when Tim and Mary Son purchased it, renaming the business Son Beverage Company, and keeping the Jell-Craft line of products. Mary is the daughter-in-law of the founder, and is currently the president of the company. Mary’s daughter, Elizabeth joined the company in 2015 bringing on the 3rd family generation along with her 7 years of marketing experience. Mary’s son, John Seelye, followed shortly after Elizabeth bringing along his expertise in operations and management. John became co-owner with Tim and Mary Son in 2021.

In addition to manufacturing under the Jell-Craft label, Son Beverage Company pursues private label opportunities. Son Beverage Company has an in-house lab and product development professional who works to bring new concepts to Jell-Craft products and private label customers. Current Private Label Products include Schilo’s Rootbeer and Casa Rio Margarita mixes, which have both been highlighted in Texas Highways magazine, Texas Monthly,  and San Antonio Express News.

oldpic1Our founder, Mr. Walter Oertling, standing at the sales counter of the original production plant location on Cincinnati street in San Antonio, Texas.

For over 75 years, Jell-Craft products have been a large part of San Antonio’s annual Fiesta celebration, providing margarita mix and snow cone syrups to many of the different events.

Many loyal customers have shared their memories of enjoying Jell-Craft products throughout their lives; at weddings, church events, family gathers, birthday parties, and other celebrations. With a desire to bring these same good memories to the new generations, Son Beverage Company continues to strive to update Jell-Craft products according to current trends.

Son Beverage Company remains dedicated to providing customers with the best-tasting, eye-appealing, and innovative products at an economical price.