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History of Coca-Cola ( Coke)

Biography | Inventions

Coca-Cola or Coke is a  non-alcoholic and carbonated soft drink. . This  product Coca-Cola, was invented by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in 1886.


Pemberton was born in 1831 to James Clifford Pemberton  and Martha L. Gant . Though born in nearby Knoxville, Georgia, Pemberton, as a young child, moved with his family to Columbus, Georgia.

In April 1865, Pemberton was wounded in the Battle of Columbus, Georgia, and like many wounded veterans he became addicted to morphine. After the war Pemberton became a pharmacist at the Eagle Drug & Chemical Company in Columbus. Searching for a cure for this addiction, he began experimenting with coca, eventually creating his own version namely  coca wine called Pemberton's French Wine.The first sales were at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886.It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass at soda fountains, which were popular in the United States

Pemberton also made many health claims for his product and marketed it as 'delicious, refreshing, exhilarating, invigorating' and touted it as a 'valuable brain tonic' that would cure headaches, relieve exhaustion and calm nerves. Pemberton also claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases, including morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia  and impotence. 

Coca-cola Its new name, suggested by an employee, Frank Robinson, derived from its two principal drug ingredients, the Peruvian coca leaf (cocaine) and the West African kola nut (caffeine). Coca-Cola was originally sold as a "nerve tonic" to cure the then-popular supposed disease of neurasthenia, and its promoters claimed it treated headaches and hangovers as well.

Pemberton died  in 1888, but a fellow Atlanta pharmacist, As a G. Candler, with the assistance of Frank Robinson, made Coca-Cola a national soda fountain success by the end of the century. Coca-Cola was sold in bottles for the first time on March 12, 1894. The first outdoor wall advertisement was painted in the same year as well in Cartersville, Georgia. Cans of Coke first appeared in 1955

The Coca-Cola formula and brand was bought in 1889 by Asa Candler who incorporated The Coca-Cola Company in 1892. Besides its namesake Coca-Cola beverage, Coca-Cola currently offers more than 400 brands in over 200 countries or territories and serves 1.6 billion servings each day.

The Coca-Cola Company  in Atlanta, Georgia,  only produce syrup concentrate which is then sold to various bottlers throughout the world who hold a Coca-Cola franchise. They produce finished product in cans and bottles from the concentrate in combination with filtered water and sweeteners

Later Candler saw no future in bottling the drink and gave the bottling rights to Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead, two Chattanooga lawyers, in 1899. Thomas and Whitehead parlayed the contract into a successful bottling franchise system that truly democratized the drink. In 1903, under considerable social pressure, Candler removed the cocaine from Coca-Cola.

After 1904, instead of using fresh leaves, Coca-Cola started using "spent" leaves ó the leftovers of the cocaine-extraction process with cocaine trace levels left over at a molecular level. Kola nuts act as a flavoring and the source of caffeine in Coca-Cola.

The exact formula of Coca-Cola's natural flavourings (but not its other ingredients which are listed on the side of the bottle or can) is a trade secret. The original copy of the formula is held in SunTrust Bank's main vault in Atlanta. A popular myth states that only two executives have access to the formula, with each executive having only half the formula

In 1919 Candlerís children sold the business for $25 million to a syndicate of bankers headed by the Atlanta businessman Ernest Woodruff. Plagued by high sugar prices, Woodruff unsuccessfully attempted to abrogate ( put an end to ) the perpetual bottling contract. In 1923, his son Robert W. Woodruff took over the presidency of the troubled company and made Coca-Cola, popularly called "Coke," a symbol of the American way of life through effective advertising.

Coca-Cola remained the world's preeminent soft drink. The world's most widely distributed product at that time, "Coca-Cola" was reputedly the second best-known word on Earth after "okay."

A can of Coke has 39 grams of carbohydrates (all from sugar), 50 mg of sodium, 0 grams fat, 0 grams potassium, and 140 calories.

The Coca-Cola Company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.  Its current chairman ( 2010) and CEO is Muhtar Kent.

The Coca-Cola Company also produces a number of other soft drinks including Fanta and Sprite. Fanta's origins date back to World War II when Max Keith, who managed Coca-Cola's operations in Germany during the war, wanted to make money from Nazi Germany but did not want the negative publicity. Keith resorted to producing a different soft drink, Fanta, which proved to be a hit, and when Coke took over again after the war, it adopted the Fanta brand as well

Also according to the 2007 Annual Report, Coca-Cola had gallon sales distributed as follows:

  • 37% in the United States
  • 43% in Mexico, Brazil, Japan and the People's Republic of China
  • 20% spread throughout the rest of the world

In 2010 it was announced that Coca-Cola had become the first brand to top £1 billion in annual UK grocery sales

On July 6, 2006, a Coca-Cola employee and two other people were arrested and charged with trying to sell trade secrets information to the soft drink maker's competitor, PepsiCo for $1.5 million.

An issue with pesticides in groundwater in 2003 led to problems for the company when an Indian NGO, Centre for Science and Environment, announced that it had found cancer causing chemicals in Coca-Cola as well as other soft drinks produced by the company, at levels 30 times that considered safe by the European Economic Commission. This caused an 11 percent drop in Indian Coca-Cola sales. The Indian Health Minister said the CSE tests were inaccurate, and said that the government's tests found pesticide levels within India's standards but above EU standards

In the Indian state of Kerala sale and production of Coca-Cola, along with other soft drinks, was initially banned after the allegations, until the High Court in Kerala overturned ruled that only the federal government can ban food products. Coca-Cola has also been accused of excessive water usage in India.

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