This is the story of an unknown American chemist who was lucky enough to invent the most fabulous of all fizzy drinks.
A new refreshing drink
It all began in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1885. Dr John S. Pemberton, a pharmacist, wasn’t an ordinary chemist. He didn’t like selling drugs but he enjoyed making them. And he was very good at it! One day one of his friends asked him to create a new refreshing family drink, without alcohol. He started working hard on a secret mixture. The first drink he made was a delicious wine containing cola extracts, then he decided to cut out the wine but keep the cola nut fro energy.
A secret formula
He spent several years working on different potions. He mixed together cola nut extracts, cola leaves, caffeine, sugar, vegetable extracts and other ingredients to make his secret formula, and decided to make his recipe a secret so that nobody would ever known the ingredients! In May 1886, he created a new mixture, and by adding some carbonated water to it, made it taste fantastic! He was very excited – it had a great flavour and was very refreshing – just what he had been looking for!
John Pemberton sold that new drink at his friend Jacob’s pharmacy, where they sold it at 5 cents a glass.
Now they had to find a name for it, a name that would be as new and exciting as the drink John Pemberton’s partner and good friends, Frank Robinson, suggested calling the drink Coca-Cola. He thought that the two Cs would look good together in advertising. Robinson had beautiful handwriting and wrote the name as it still appears today on cans and bottles!
Pemberton sells to Candler
In the first year they only sold nine glasses a day, then they started to advertise with local newspaper adverts and hand-painted Coca-Cola signs. Unfortunately, Coca-Cola wasn’t as successful as they expected and they nearly went bankrupt. Pemberton became ill and had to sell the business for $ 2,300 to Asa Candler, another Atlanta pharmacist and businessman.
Candler was an entrepreneur and had lots of ideas on how to sell the drink – giving people Coca-Cola calendars and clocks and coupons. He gave in an image. Soon everybody in America wanted to buy Coca-Cola and loved its new taste. From that time on it has always been an incredible success and not only in America. Someone has even asked Coca-Cola for permission to open a bottling factory on the moon.
The world’s most famous drink
Every day, people in 195 nations buy 700 million soft drinks produced by the Coca-Cola Company and advertised in 80 different languages. That’s why, despite competition, Coca-Cola is the world’s most famous drink and one of the symbols of America.
Source: Excursion, an old Italian book.