The Coca-Cola Bottling Company has lodged a protest with the State of Illinois over the awarding of a drinks deal to PepsiAmericas in the state.

In July, PepsiAmericas was awarded a ten-year state-wide contract with Illinois, which would see Pepsi products stocked in almost 2,400 vending machines in state-owned properties and universities.

But CCBC wrote to the Illinois Department of Revenue last week, complaining that its questions and clarifications during the bid-making process were never addressed. Because of this, the company said, "the award to our competitor is not in the state's best interests, as it did not avail itself of a full competitive process".

CCBC used the letter to detail a timeline of its request for further information, claiming that its emails were not responded to, and that requests for further information were not acted upon by the state.

"Answers to our questions were critical for us to provide a complete response," the company said in the letter. "Based on the information our company provided, it would be impossible to fairly compare our information with that of another company, thus there was not a true competitive bidding process."

CCBC also complained that it found out about the state's decision to go with PepsiAmericas via a journalist in late July. "In addition to learning of a decision from a third party, we were very surprised that the State of Illinois could even make an informed choice because ... we had numerous questions about the 'Request For Proposals' and requested further clarification on at least five occasions.

"We could not provide a final offer due to the requested missing information that we never received."

Local reports have claimed that PepsiAmericas is represented by lobbyist William Filan, a cousin of an aid to the Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich. A spokesperson for the revenue agency told reporters in the state that the lobbyist's relationship had no bearing on the awarding of the contract.