Coca-Cola is easily one of the most iconic brands in existence today. Its logo is immediately recognizable the world over, just about everyone has drunk it at some point or another, and it has millions, if not billions of fans all around the globe. But even if a day rarely passes without you getting your Diet Coke fix, we bet that there’s a lot you don’t know about this legendary beverage.
The basic origin story of Coca-Cola is fairly common knowledge by this point: It was invented as a patent medicine by an Atlanta pharmacist named John Pemberton, and once contained actual cocaine. But most people’s knowledge stops there; most don’t know, for example, that Pemberton died less than two years after inventing the drink, and shortly before his death, sick and in debt, he sold the rights to the formula to a businessman named Asa Candler. It was Candler who founded the Coca-Cola Company and turned the drink into the phenomenon it is today due to aggressive and trailblazing marketing and advertising tactics, and it made him incredibly wealthy.
Coca-Cola has had a lot of ups and downs over the years (punctuated by ongoing “cola wars” between it and Pepsi), and as each generation comes of age, the company always seems to find a creative way to market Coke to them; from “It’s the Real Thing” for the boomers to “Share a Coke” for millennials, the Coke folks keep the product fresh and relevant, without changing its core formula (because we all know how that went last time).
So let’s raise a glass of that sweet, brown, fizzy soft drink, and learn all about the long, strange trip Coke’s been on.