Right since its beginning till date, "delicious and refreshing" is how Coca-Cola is known as. More commonly known as Coke today, it is believed to be world's best-selling soft drink. This sweetened, carbonated drink has maintained its popularity for over a century in spite of having many other rivals. Pepsi is the main rival of Coke. History of Coca-Cola is quite an intriguing one! Although excessive consumption of carbonated drinks is considered to pose health risks, ironically the person who invented the beverage was in fact a pharmacist!
It was Dr. John Stith Pemberton, a local pharmacist of Atlanta who invented the Coca-Cola. He made the first syrup for the drink in a three legged brass kettle in his backyard. He carried a jug of it to the Jacob's pharmacy, down the street. Here the drink was sampled and declared of 'excellent' taste. The drink was first sold to public at the same drugstore at a soda fountain on May 8, 1886. About nine servings of the drink were sold daily at the rate of 5 cents for each serving.
It isn't that one fine day, John S. Pemberton came out with formula for the drink. In fact the pharmacist was obsessed about the idea of finding the ultimate medicine and an excellent drink all rolled into one. During those times reports about the health benefits of the coca plant had gripped the world. It was known to be a stimulant, aphrodisiac and also have digestive properties. With so many uses, coca was naturally the plant that Pemberton had been looking for. Angelo Mariani, a Corsican had already made a coca wine, called Vin Mariani. This drink was a huge success in Europe. Many celebrities, including Thomas Edison, Queen Victoria and even three Popes are believed to have been proponents of the drink. Encouraged by the success of the Vin Mariani, Pemberton launched his own brand - Pemberton's French Wine Coca which he advertised as the 'intellectual beverage'. In addition to coca leaves extract, Dr. Pemberton also used kola nuts in this drink. However, with the rise of the 'temperance movement' in the US, Pemberton soon realized that it would not be possible for him to sell a drink that was based on alcohol. Hence he started working on the formula of a drink that would have extract of coca leaves and kola nuts but would not have alcohol. Finally in 1886 he landed on the formula of a syrup, the taste of which was acknowledged at Jacob's pharmacy.
It was Frank Robinson, the book keeper of Dr. Pemberton who coined the brand name. Do the ingredients of the drink give you any clue as to why is it called Coca-Cola? Robinson retained the names of the two ingredients of the drink coca leaves and kola nuts, to name it Coca-Cola. The only change that he made was that he replaced the 'K' of kola with a 'C'. Frank Robinson further convinced Pemberton of the virtues of advertising. Robinson is known to have good penmanship. He used his talent to design the famous logo of Coca-Cola. He thought that the two C's of the now famous logo would be appealing both as an alliteration as well as from the point of design.
However, the first year of the business ran at a loss. Despite its potential, the drink failed to sustain its place in the market. Some attribute its failure in part to the poor business skills of Pemberton, while others also cite his failing health. In 1887 he sold his rights to the formula of Coca-Cola to another Atlanta pharmacist and businessman, Asa Candler for $2,300. In 1892 Mr. Candler formed a Georgia corporation named 'The Coca-Cola Company'. It was due to Candler's aggressive marketing and good business acumen that by late 1890s Coca-Cola had established itself as one of the most popular fountain drinks in the US. The beginning of the 20th century witnessed the drink crossing the country's borders to be sold in Canada as well. Around the same time, the company started the practice of selling syrup of the drink to independent bottling companies, a model that is still followed by the soft drink industry of the US.
That was the story about Coca-Cola and its invention and how it spread from a fledgling business to being established as a multimillion company that produces a number of other Coca-Cola products. It is ironic that the inventor of Coca-Cola, Dr. Pemberton died within two years of inventing the drink and was not able to witness the success of his invention that is now synonymous with the essence of America!