History of Favorite American Foods Coca-Cola Part 1

About the famous American soft drink Coca-Cola or Coke, history and information of the soda.


It used to be "the real thing" when pharmacist John Styth Pemberton brewed it up in his backyard before the days of drug paranoia. The trademark "French Wine Coca--Ideal Nerve and Tonic Stimulant" was registered in 1885 for his homemade medicine which then contained the cocaine extracted from the coca plant. It is said that his assistant could "audit the composition of a batch of syrup merely by sniffing it." By the next year the wine was taken out, caffeine was added, extract of the kola nut was thrown in for flavor, and the name Coca-Cola was invented. The syrup was sold in used beer bottles and recommended for headaches and hangovers. The 1st year only 25 gallons of syrup were sold, compared to some 100 million bottles of Coke sold daily around the world in the 1970s.

Pemberton sold the business to Asa Candler, who turned it into a corporation. Although it is as symbolic of the U.S. as the American flag, Coke is now bottled in 128 foreign countries--including Bulgaria, where the 1st communist franchise was established in 1966. The company is intensely image-conscious and if you happen to print the product's name using a small c, you can count on receiving a very gentle chiding letter from Atlanta, home of the industry. Some have found the Coca-Cola company's official politeness in other situations suspect, and its image has suffered from boycotts against it on various occasions during segregation troubles in the South. Even in the northern states, boycotts occurred to protest racial discrimination in the bottling plants.

The manufacturing and bottling plants of today are quite different from the backyard brewery where Pemberton stirred his potion with an oar. Quality controls are more stringent and the secret ingredient 7X is known to only 2 or 3 people, although even the nonsecret ingredients are difficult to pin down. Coke still contains a mixture of 3 parts coca--minus the buzz--and one part cola. The kola nut contains caffeine, although much of it is removed during processing and additional caffeine is probably added. The company is not required to list caffeine on the label even though noncola beverages are subject to more complete exposure of their additives. The words "artificial coloring" may be sufficient too, though not exact.

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