I don't know about you, but I don't really drink soda-pop. We didn't grow up with it, so the carbonation still gets me. If I did drink sugary syrup though, I would be a Coke drinker! I'm not sure if I have an affinity for their advertising campaigns, or the logo, or people I saw drinking Coca-Cola were cooler than those drinking Pepsi... but I side fully with Coca-Cola in the Pepsi/Coke debate.
Coca-Cola was created by Pharmacist, Dr. John Smith Pemberton in Atlanta, Georgia. He started by making French wine cola, but then prohibition rolled around and he needed to nix the alcohol. He developed the syrup (meant to be mixed with carbonated water) which included cocaine and extract of Kola nut, and claimed it was a remedy for many aliments including heartburn, nausea, and headaches. His bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, named the drink Coca-Cola and penned the flowing logo that is still used today (with a few tweaks). It was introduced May 8, 1886.
Pemberton sold his syrup to local businesses with soda fountains, and, with advertising, the drink became phenomenally successful. By 1891 another Atlanta pharmacist, Asa Griggs Candler, had secured complete ownership of the business (for a total price of $2,300 and the exchange of some proprietary rights), and he incorporated the Coca-Cola Company the following year. The trademark “Coca-Cola” was registered in the U.S. Patent Office in 1893. Cocaine was removed from Coca-Cola’s formula in about 1903. Many imitations cropped up, and an advertising push by Coca-Cola told people to "demand the genuine". The contoured Coca-Cola bottle was first introduced in 1916 to ensure you were getting the real thing instead of an imitation.
Under the leadership of Asa Candler, sales rose from around 9,000 gallons of syrup in 1890 to 370,877 gallons in 1900. Also during that decade, syrup-making plants were established in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, and the product was being sold in every U.S. state and territory as well as in Canada. In 1899 the Coca-Cola Company signed its first agreement with an independent bottling company, which allowed the bottling company to buy the syrup and produce, bottle, and distribute the Coca-Cola drink. Such licensing agreements formed the basis of a unique distribution system that now characterizes most of the American soft-drink industry.
Capitalized at $100,000 in 1892 upon incorporation, the Coca-Cola Company was sold in 1919 for $25 million to a group of investors led by Atlanta businessman Ernest Woodruff. His son, Robert Winship Woodruff, was elected president and chairman and served for more than three decades (1923–55). Woodruff expanded the company and brought Coca-Cola to the rest of the world. Coca-Cola began distributing bottles as “Six-packs”, encouraging customers to purchase the beverage for their home. Santa Coca-Cola advertisements started in the 1920's. In 1928, Coca-Cola was introduced as a sponsor for the Olympics Games, giving the company even more international exposure and starting a tradition that continues to this day.
The post-WWII years saw packaging and product diversification with Coca-Cola acquiring new products. The trademark “Coke,” was first used in advertising in 1941 and registered in 1945. In 1946 the company purchased rights to Fanta, a soft drink previously developed in Germany. The company introduced Sprite in 1961 and its first diet cola, sugar-free Tab, in 1963. With its purchase of Minute Maid Corporation in 1960, the company entered the citrus juice market. It added the brand Fresca in 1966. In 1982 the company introduced its low-calorie sugar-free soft drink, Diet Coke.
Coca-Cola created many new beverages during the 1990s, including the Asia-marketed Qoo children’s fruit drink, Powerade sports drink, and Dasani bottled water. Coca-Cola also acquired Barq’s root beer in the United States; Inca Kola in Peru; Maaza, Thums Up, and Limca in India; and Cadbury Schweppes beverages, which were sold in more than 120 countries across the globe.
Coca-Cola has become one of the most recognizable brands and trademarks in the world. With over 1.7 billion servings of Coca-Cola products being served each day, Coca-Cola continues to be one of the world’s most ubiquitous beverages.