99 bottles of coke on the wall
Giorez / iStock

Pepsi's Original Name Was 'Brad's Drink'

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Thanks to a podcast for uncovering this important discovery
99 bottles of coke on the wall
Giorez / iStock

99 bottles of soda on the wall

Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine is a podcast about what used to be considered medicine. The hosts, a married couple (she’s a doctor and he’s the comic relief), detail the sometimes hilarious, often horrifying ways we used to treat disease. (Honestly, the conceit is laid out pretty well in the name of the podcast. No surprises here.)

This week, the duo visited Atlanta, the birthplace of Coke, and so decided to give a history of how soda used to be sold as medicine (explains all the pharmacy soda counters, eh?) and the evolution of soda from a trick to get people to drink more mineral water to its current incarnation as a frequent target for public health advocates.

But what stopped me in my tracks was the revelation that Pepsi used to be called Brad’s Drink, named for its creator Caleb Davis Bradham. But the name “Pepsi-Cola” — derived from dyspepsia (i.e., indigestion), which the beverage (a blend of kola nut extract, sugar, and sparkling water) was supposed to assuage — took hold on August 28, 1898, which means next year will be its 120th anniversary.

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Interested in more obscure soda trivia? Click here to learn 10 facts you didn’t know about Coca-Cola.