Coca Cola – The Real Thing!

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Coca Cola

10 things you may not know about Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola is a flavored carbonated soft drink that was conceived in the late 1800s by Dr. John Pemberton as a medicinal tonic. However, in the last 130 years Coca-Cola has risen to dominate the soft drink industry with 1.8 billion servings of Coke enjoyed daily in over 200 countries spanning the globe. According to Interbrand’s “Best Global Brand” study of 2011, Coca-Cola was considered to be the world’s most valuable brand at that time.

1. Coke’s Roots Date Back to the Civil War

Coca Cola

Confederate Colonel John Pemberton was wounded in the Civil War and as a result of his lingering illness became addicted to morphine.

Pemberton soon began a quest to find a substitute for the dangerous opiate. The prototype for the Coca-Cola recipe was formulated at Pemberton’s Eagle Drug and Chemical House, a drugstore located in Columbus, Georgia around1885.

2. What’s Wine Got To Do With It?

Coca-Cola was originally marketed in his drug store as a coca wine, most likely due to the formidable success of Vin Mariani, a European coca wine. In 1885, Pemberton registered his French Wine Coca nerve tonic, which he claimed could cure a number of illnesses including morphine addition.

3. Prohibition Changed Everything

In 1886, when Atlanta and Fulton County passed prohibition legislation, Pemberton responded by developing Coca-Cola, which was essentially a nonalcoholic version of his French Wine Coca. The first sales were at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886 for 5 cents a glass.

4. Just Add Carbonation

Sometime in 1886 Pemberton introduced Coca-Cola as a soda fountain drink, which were popular at that time in the United States. He added carbonation to his syrupy recipe because there was a strong belief that carbonated water was good for your health.

5. Coupons Paved the Way Forward

coca-cola-revives-sustains-adJohn Pemberton ran his first advertisement for Coca-Cola on May 29, 1886 in the Atlanta Journal. But it was the distribution of coupons in 1889 for a FREE glass of Coca-Cola that generated the most traction for the new brand. It was determined that in the nearly 25 year run of the Free glass coupon campaign the company redeemed 8.5 million coupons.

6. A Humble Corporate Beginning

A co-partnership was formed in January 1888 between Pemberton and four Atlanta businessmen. However, in April 1888 a young druggist named Asa Candler purchased a 1/3 interest in Coca-Cola for $50 and $300 more at a later date. In that same month of April Mr. Candler bought out the other partners for $1,750 in cash and a series of bank notes that could be paid off later. A strange turn of events that included the death of John Pemberton in late 1888 and the addiction of his son Charley, who released the rights to the name Coca-Cola to Candler for $300. Mr. Candler poured $2,400 into a largely unknown elixir called Coca-Cola and quickly established a corporation called “The Coca-Cola Company” which is to this day the official name of the corporation.

7. An Ownership Change Was Golden

Asa Griggs was a shrewd marketer and with a combination of free giveaways and advertising built the soft drink company from its humble beginnings to a multimillion dollar corporation by 1919, when it was sold to a group of investors for $25 million dollars, an astronomical amount at the time. It has undergone additional shifts including mergers in 1986 and 1991 that strengthened the corporate structure and global strategies.

8. It’s All in the Shares

In 1988, corporate giant Berkshire Hathaway led by Warren Buffet purchased 14,172,500 shares of The Coca Cola Company at a cost of $592,540,000 which made it the largest investment for Berkshire Hathaway at the time. How has that investment gone? The 14 million shares have been increased to over 400 million shares at a value of $16.5 billion and a 9% stake in the corporation.

9. A Bottle of Trouble

The first bottling of Coca-Cola occurred in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1891. The original bottles were very different from the much later Coke bottleshobble-skirt design of 1915 that is now so familiar.
A few years later two entrepreneurs from Tennessee proposed their ideas for bottling Coke and were so persuasive that Asa Candler signed a contract giving them control of the procedure for one dollar. In 1899 Chattanooga, TN, became the site of the first Coca-Cola bottling company. The loosely termed contract, however, proved to be problematic and costly for Candler for decades to come.

10. New Coke turned out to be a Joke

On April 23, 1985, Coca-Cola, amid much publicity, introduced a change to the formula with “New Coke“. Follow-up taste tests revealed that most consumers preferred the taste of New Coke to both Coke and Pepsi. But Coca-Cola management was unprepared for the public’s nostalgia for the old drink, leading to a huge backlash. The company quickly gave in to protests and returned to a variation of the old formula using high fructose corn syrup instead of cane sugar as the main sweetener, under the name Coca-Cola Classic, on July 10, 1985

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