Coco Cola: The carbonated beverage’s history of being marketed as tonic for ailments

05:28 PM Apr 11, 2021 | Team Udayavani |

Coca-Cola, the product that has given the world its best-known taste, the sweetened carbonated beverage also a company that produces and sells other soft drinks and citrus beverages has more than 2,800 products available in more than 200 countries.


Being the largest beverage manufacturer and distributor in the world, Coca-Cola was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886. Dr. John Stith Pemberton, a local pharmacist produced the syrup for Coca-Cola. He then carried a jug of the new product down the street to Jacobs’ Pharmacy and there it was placed on sale for five cents a glass as a soda fountain drink.

Pemberton originally proclaimed his drink as a tonic for most common ailments, basing it on cocaine from the coca leaf and caffeine-rich extracts of the kola nut. The cocaine was removed from Coca-Cola’s formula in about 1903.

By 1891, Asa Griggs, another Atlanta pharmacist secured complete ownership of Coca-Cola for a cash outlay 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.

Soon the sales rose from 9000 gallons of syrup in 1890 to 370,877 gallons in 1900 and in the very same decade, various syrup-making plants were established in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.


In 1899, Coca-Cola signed its first agreement with an independent bottling company, which was allowed to buy the syrup and produce, bottle, and distribute the Coca-Cola drink, leading to licensing agreements that formed the basis of a unique distribution system.

Packaging of Coca-Cola saw a diversification post World War II years. The trademark ‘Coke’ was first used in advertising in 1941 and was registered in 1945. The company later purchased rights to Fanta. It also introduced Sprite in 1961 and its first diet cola in 1963.

The company entered the citrus juice market with its purchase of Minute Maid Corporation in 1960.

Coca-Cola went on to become the only company allowed to sell cold packaged beverages in the People’s Republic of China in 1978. In 1982 Diet Coke was introduced and in order to address its decline in the market share, the company adopted a new flavor of Coca-Cola in April 1985, which wasn’t received well. Although owing to the public outcry, Coca-Cola revived its original flavor in July which was then marketed as Coca-Cola Classic.

In the early 1990s, the company began selling products in East Germany and in India in 1993. It introduced its first bottle made partially from recycled plastic in 1992.

It created many new beverages during the 1990s including Maaza, Thums Up, and Limca in India.

The Coca-Cola Company’s sustainability efforts and goals continue to develop as the years go on and their impact can be found across the globe. Within the last 5 years, the Coca-Cola Company has launched new initiatives and achieved many goals, such as accomplishing its 100 percent water replenishment goal five years ahead of schedule.


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