Coca-Cola: The Real Thing Since 1886


Today is the 130th anniversary of the creation of the first batch of Coca-Cola.

Here are some things you may not know about the world’s most popular soft drink.

John Pemberton, a former colonel in the Confederate Army, became addicted to morphine to ease the pain of battle injuries. He worked as a pharmacist and began experimenting with painkillers that didn’t contain opium. He created a wine that contained an extract from the coca leaf, calling it Pemberton’s French Wine Coca.

Pemberton marketed the drink as a cure-all. It was said to be particularly beneficial for “ladies, and all those whose sedentary employment causes nervous prostration.”

However, in 1886, Atlanta and surrounding Fulton County passed temperance laws, which made his wine concoction illegal. He experimented with with alcohol-free versions, including one version in which the syrup was mixed with carbonated water. At this point, Pemberton decided to sell it as a fountain drink rather than medicine.

In its first year on the market, 25 gallons of Coca-Cola were sold. A year later, in 1887, sales increased to more than 1,000 gallons.

Despite trying to discover an alternative to morphine, Pemberton fell deeper into addiction. He sold shares of his business over then next two years, finally selling the remaining share to Asa Candler in 1888. Pemberton died of stomach cancer, destitute and addicted to morphine in August 1888 at 57 years old.

Candler bought out his partners in 1889 for approximately $2,300. In 1919, the company was sold to investors for $25 million.

The secret formula no longer includes cocaine. Until 1903, the formula did contain traces of the stimulant. Since then, coca leaves that have already been processed for medicinal cocaine have been used for flavoring.

Coca-Cola is now the third most valuable brand in the world.

Our question, can you name the top two most valuable brands?

Today is National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day and Vietnam Veterans Day.

It’s the birthday of U.S. President John Tyler, baseball pitcher Cy Young, and Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.

This week in 1988, the top song in the U.S. was “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson.

The No. 1 movie was “Biloxi Blues,” while the novel “The Icarus Agenda” by Robert Ludlum topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.


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