History of Coca-Cola

Events

John Pemberton

1886

Atlanta pharmacist, John Pemberton, created a fragrant, caramel-coloured liquid. Pemberton then took it a few doors down to Jacobs’ Pharmacy where the mixture was combined with carbonated water and sampled by customers. Frank Robinson, Pemberton’s bookkeeper, named the mixture Coca-Cola and wrote it out in his distinctive script.

Asa Griggs

1888 - 1891

Over the course of three years, Atlanta businessman, Asa Griggs Candler, secured rights to the business for a total of about $2 300 and would become the first president of Coca-Cola and the first to bring real vision to the business and the brand.

Joseph Biedenharn

1894

Mississippi businessman, Joseph Biedenharn, became the first to put Coca-Cola in bottles. Biedenharn sent 12 of them to Candler who responded without enthusiasm.

Syrup Plants

1895

Candler had built syrup plants in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead

1899

Two Chattanooga lawyers, Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead, secured exclusive rights from Candler to bottle and sell the beverage for the sum of only one dollar.

The Root Glass Company

1916

The Root Glass Company of Terra Haute, Indiana, won a contest to design a bottle and they began to manufacture the famous Contour bottle, which remains the signature shape of Coca-Cola today.

Robert Woodruff

1923

Robert Woodruff became the Coca-Cola company president after his father, Ernest, purchased the company from Candler four years earlier.

Olympic Games

1928

Woodruff spearheaded expansion overseas and introduced Coca-Cola to the Olympic Games for the first time when the beverage travelled with Team USA to the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

Fanta

1940

The Coca‑Cola Company introduced Fanta after 70 years of success with one brand.

World War II

1941

America entered World War II and thousands of US citizens were sent overseas. To show support for the brave men and women, Coca-Cola President Robert Woodruff ordered that “every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for five cents, wherever he is and whatever it costs the company”.

General Dwight D Eisenhower

1943

General Dwight D Eisenhower sent an urgent cable to Coca-Cola requesting shipment of materials for 10 bottling plants. During the war many people enjoyed their first taste of the drink, and when peace finally came, the foundations had been laid for Coca-Cola to do business overseas.

Sprite

1961

The Coca‑Cola Company introduced Sprite.

TAB

1963

The Coca‑Cola Company introduced TAB.

Fresca

1966

The Coca‑Cola Company introduced Fresca.

"I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke"

1971

The international appeal of Coke was embodied by a famous 1971 commercial where a group of young people from all over the world gathered on a hilltop in Italy to sing ‘I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke’. Advertising for Coca‑Cola, always an important and exciting part of its business, really came into its own in the 1970s, reflecting a brand associated with fun, friends and good times.

Diet Coke

1982

Among his bold moves was organising the numerous US bottling operations into a new public company, Coca‑Cola Enterprises Inc. He also led the introduction of Diet Coke, the very first extension of the Coca‑Cola trademark. Within two years, it had become the top low-calorie drink in the world, second in success only to Coca‑Cola.

New Coke

1985

The development of a new taste for Coca‑Cola, the first change in formulation in 99 years. In taste tests people loved ‘New Coke’, but it soon became clear that the wider public had a deep emotional attachment to the original, and they pleaded for a return to the traditional formula. Critics called it the biggest marketing blunder ever. Coca‑Cola listened, and the original product was returned to the market as Coca‑Cola Classic.

Always Coca-Cola Advertising Campaign

1993

The popular Always Coca-Cola advertising campaign was launched and the world met the lovable Coca-Cola Polar Bear for the first time.

One Billion Servings

1997

Coca-Cola already sold one billion servings of its products every day yet recognised that opportunity for growth was still around every corner.