Successful test marketing in the northeast has prompted the Whitestone NY beverage company to roll out the carbonated soft drink nationwide early in '97 says Larry Bodkin White Rock's senior vp of marketing. For more than two decades Therimage decoration has been used with plastic bottles. Metal cans present a challenge because they lack the rigidity necessary to withstand the heat and pressure of application. To offset that difficulty Avery-Dennison modified its venerable TD-1000 Therimage decorating machines by replacing a standard turret with a specialized mandrel system that provides the necessary support during label application. The label consists of a laminated paper carrier with four process color gravure inks that are transferred onto the can. A final heat treatment "cures" the inks to the can. The machines are customized for the Ball Metal Beverage Container Group (Broomfield CO). Ball's Williamsburg VA plant uses 10 of the machines. Each machine decorates 50 cans/min. "Sioux City has been sold in embossed brown glass bottles in a 12-ounce size" says Bodkin. "This is the first time we've sold it in a can. It's about 20 percent more expensive than traditional can decoration. We wouldn't use this for a standard ginger ale but when you have a unique image like our Sioux City man it lends itself to this process." White Rock plans to sell six-packs with a suggested retail price between $2.79 and $2.99. Contract packers in OH PA TX and CA are slated to fill and seam cans for distribution throughout much of the U.S. "We're not going to blanket the country but we figure that next year we'll produce as many as 250 24-pack cases" Bodkin forecasts.