Co ca-Cola is the most popular soft drink in the world.
Maybe this is because Coca-Cola, and its rival Pepsi-Cola, are the most advertised products in history.
They are sold in 140 countries. What exactly is Coca-Cola?
Well, 99 per cent of it is water and sugar, with carbon dioxide to make it fizzy.
The other one per cent is a secret formula.

Fewer than ten people know the secret.

The formula was invented by John Stvth Pemberton in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1 885.

Pemberton owned a drugstore in Atlanta, and he invented several patent medicines, for example Indian Queen Hair

Dye, Globe of Flower Cough Syrup, and Triplex Liver Pills.

During the I880s and I890s many people in the United States wanted to forbid alcoholic drinks. Alcohol became illegal in Atlanta in 1885, the year that Coca-Cola was invented. Pemberton called his new non—alcoholic drink brain tonic.

Two of the most important ingredients at that time were coca leaves and kola nuts —and so we get the name Coca—Cola.

Coca leaves were eaten by Indians in Bolivia and Peru, and they are used to make the drug cocaine.
They haven t been used in Coca since 1903.
Kola nuts, or ‘Hell Seeds’, come from West Africa. They were eaten by West Africans, and contain caffeine, which is also found in coffee, tea, and chocolate. A glass of modern Coca-Cola contains as much caffeine as a cup of instant coffee.
Pemherton sold Coca-Cola as a syrup. You had to add water before you could drink it. One day in 1886 a customer in Pemherton’s drugstore added soda water, not tap water. Since then Coca-Cola has been a fizzy drink. Coca-Cola is still made as a syrup today.

It is sent to bottling plants all over the world, where the water is added.

Today Coca-Cola is a huge international business. When Pemherton died on August 16th 1888, he had no money at all.

What is in the secret syrup today? There are certainly fourteen ingredients. There may be more. They include sugar, caramel, caffeine, phosphoric acid, extract ot kola nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, glycerine, lavender, fluid extract of guarana, lime juice, and citrus oils.
The most secret ingredient is called ‘7X’ and is less than one per cent of the syrup. Nobody’ has been able to discover what it is.

Coca—Cola was developed and perfected by Asa Candler, another Atlanta drugstore owner. He was a very

religious man who never drank alcohol. Someone who will not dritik alcohol is called a ‘teetotaller.
By 1907, 80 per cent of the southern states ot America had forbidden alcohol, and Coca—Cola was becoming the most popular drink.

Between 1919 and 1933, alcohol was forbidden all over the United States. There were many imitations of Coca-Cola.
In 1916 alone there were 153 ‘copies’ with names like Sods-Cola, Candy Cola, Cold Cola, Koca-Nola, Köka-Kola, Kos Kola, and Cay-ola. The most successful competitor was Pepsi-Cola, invented by Caleb Bradham of North Carolina. Many people can’t tell the difference between ‘Coke’ and ‘Pepsi’, but regular drinkers can tell which one they are drinking.

During the Second World War, Coca-Cola became the drink of the US Army, and bottling plants were built all over the world. In 1947 there were 64 new plants in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The famous trademark is known everywhere, and many people see Coca-Cola as the symbol of the United States. Over 190 million bottles are bought every day.

Coke takes off!

Coca-Cola syrup sales 1886—1902

(in gallons: 1 US gallon = 4.404 litres.)

previous                                                           main page