Johnston Mill brings back the peanut butter heydays

Brundidge, Alabama is peanut butter proud and has every right to be.

The small South Alabama town takes pride in that it played an important part in pioneering the peanut butter industry in the Southeast.

In 1929, Brundidge native J.D. Johnston realized that peanut butter was gaining popularity as a tasty, inexpensive source of protein so he set up a crude machine in the small upstairs area of a wood-frame building just off Main Street and started one of the first commercial peanut butter mills in the Southeastern United States.

Peanut butter’s popularity spread and the Johnston Peanut Butter Mill flourished. Before long the mill was shipping out more than two million jars of the popular foodstuff each year.

In the early 1930s, brothers, Grady and Oscar Johnson, opened another peanut butter mill on the south end of town and named their company the Louis-Anne Peanut Butter Company after Grady’s children. The two peanut butter mills provided a giant economic boost to the Brundidge economy and sustained the town during the Great Depression.

The original Johnston Peanut Butter Mill building is now a museum of local history, owned and operated by the Brundidge Historical Society.

The building was donated to the historical group in 1994 by Anderson Peanut Company. The Pike County Chamber of Commerce has a satellite office at the museum.