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Myths About The Soft Drink Giants

Updated on April 6, 2015

Mmmm Delicious, Refreshing Soft Drink

A Dark Cola/Carbonated Soft Drink
A Dark Cola/Carbonated Soft Drink

Incredible! The Big "C" Soft Drink Company - Carbonated by Accident - Leads to whole new world of carbonated, refreshing beverages!

In this incredible story, we'll explore how one of the giants in the soft-drink and beverage industries ended up creating carbonated soft drink beverages BY ACCIDENT! The company I'm talking of is, of course, the Coca-Cola Company.

So here's what happened:

In the Spring of 1886, a pharmacist, Dr. John Pemberton, was working on a little something along the lines of invention and his invention was a special beverage recipe. Pemberton's first recipes were concocted in a simple, three-legged brass kettle in the comfort of his own back yard in Atlanta Georgia. Apparently, the name for his concoction was suggested by Frank Robinson, Dr. Pemberton's accountant and, with Robinson also having nice, neat penmanship, Robinson also supplied the flowing script for the first Coca-Cola logos.

Now, in late April and early May of 1886, Pemberton would dispatch runners to go take samples of his beverage on over to the soda fountain establishment owned by Willis Venable, just a short jog away from Pemberton's residence. The runners were to distribute samples of the beverage and conduct some taste tests, getting feedback on the new beverage from Venable's customers.

Venable called himself the "Soda Water King of the South," and was popular in Atlanta, Georgia, for the soda counter he managed at 2 Peachtree Street at the ground floor level of Jacob's Pharmacy. Understand, Venable got himself a prime spot for acquiring customers since this location was right at the heart and downtown centre of Atlanta in those days.

Legend has it that Venable allowed these exchanges by Pemberton's runners but because Pemberton's concoction was rather syrupy and very sweet, it would be mixed with water at the soda fountain counter, then would be served.

Unfortunately - or fortunately as it actually turned out - one day, Venable's sodaboy working along the impressive (massive for those days) 25-foot long, marbled soda fountain counter got the hoses or taps mixed up. He was supposed to prepare and hydrate some glasses of Pemberton's syrup to make it palatable for customers to drink. He was supposed to just use water but he didn't pay close enough attention and ended up filling the syrupy glasses with carbonated water instead of plain h2o!

When the next taste-testers sipped their drinks, they got somewhat of a surprise - and enjoyed the "fizzy" effect of this new beverage...

Thus - Coca-Cola as a carbonated, refreshing beverage was born! From a soda counter mistake!

A Pepsi Challenge Documented (Pepsi vs Coke)

Coca-Cola - Now Here's What Really Happened:

Most of the "lore" from above is errrr somewhat true.

The Coca-Cola company actually likes the version or similar versions above because such versions create a lot of interest in the company.

It is true that pharmacist, Pemberton, created the recipe for the original beverage, however, there was no mistake made in how the beverage ended up on customer tables.

The carbonated soda drink was sampled in said eating/drinking establishment and people liked the beverage...

Then Pemberton and supporters thought up marketing ideas and promotions that turned out to be very successful and to form a successful business.

The creation of, making of and distribution of Coca-Cola, other beverages and promotional products is simply a case of an excellent recipe, excellent marketing tactics and public love for the products and company.

Admittedly, the lore is much more interesting, don't you think?

Nickle Nickle (Radio Audio is Authentic, Video is modern interpretation)

Pepsi Cola

A man from New Bern, North Carolina created Pepsi. Like the creator of Coca-Cola, the recipe man for the original Pepsi cola was a pharmacist!

Caleb Bradham was a pharmacist who owned a drugstore that had a soda fountain in it. In his drugstore/soda fountain, at one time, the favourite drink was called "Brad's Drink," and customers loved this beverage. Brad's Drink was composed of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, rare oils, pepsin and cola nuts, and is said to have been created in the summer of 1893.

Brads Drink was renamed "Pepsi Cola" in 1898 to reflect the pepsin ingredients and cola nuts, and during the same year as this change, Mr. Bradham bought the trade name, "Pep Cola," from a competitor from Newark, New Jersey. The trade name was purchased for $100 from this competitor who went broke. Wise choice, Mr. Bradham!

The new name was officially trademarked on June 16, 1903, and Caleb Bradham's artistic neighbor designed a new and unique logo. 97 shares were issued at this time for Bradham's new stock.

Unfortunately, if buying a competitor trade name and purchasing trademark rights were very wise, Mr. Bradham's later decisions regarding sugar markets during WWI years were NOT - and the founder/creator or Pepsi Cola went bankrupt, losing the biz in 1923 after only a 17 year ownership.

A company called Loft Candy Company bought Pepsi in 1931. Charles G. Guth, president of Loft Candy Company reformulated the recipe and tried to successfully market the beverage products. Guth even went so far as to offer Pepsi to the Coca Cola company but the latter refused and had no interest in the formerly competitive product. Coca-Cola wouldn't even bid on the Pepsi product/company.

Revamped marketing and perseverance is probably responsible for Pepsi finally becoming a competitor with Coca-Cola once more in the beverage market and in 1940, Pepsi's first advertising jingle campaign caught consumers' attention. "Nickle Nickle" was the jingle, became a hit record and was also recorded in over 50 languages!

"Nickle" refers to the price of Pepsi and the quantity for that price.

Awwwwe, So Sweet. Male Bonding.


Although checking out and double-checking on myths regarding the two respective cola GIANTS in the beverage industry has turned out to be a long-term affair, in my experience I have come up with a couple of basic theories as to why these to leading beverage companies have been around so long:

Coke: fantastic marketing strategies right from the start.

Pepsi: excellent marketing strategies developed one Loft Candy Company purchased Pepsi Cola.

Together: one company requires a competitor to compare with in order to gain customers. Coke assertions attempt to make Pepsi appear inferior, Pepsi asserts that it is better than Coke...the public likes to feel THEY are making choices, so competition is great for marketing, as well...

Pepsi seems to have gained ground and popularity via "jingles"

Coke incorporated jingles into their marketing, too.

Coke has incorporated "LORE" into its marketing while Pepsi doesn't seem to have done this to any large degree - HOWEVER - to many people, cola is cola, so perhaps Pepsi's similarity as being a "cola beverage" has allowed it to ride on Coke's love and promotion of lore...

For instance... there's a "COKE LORE" site (more than one, actually) online but what is written about Coca-Cola also gets run by Pepsi fans - who adopt the myths and lore, as well.

ie: mentos and coke experiments (chemicals in mentos and coke cause explosions)

Luckily for Pepsi, its cola beverages are similar enough in make-up that Pepsi mixed with mentos also makes explosions of sorts!

Often what goes for one beverage company can also be said of the other.

In my opinion... Coke is more bubbly, Pepsi has a sweeter taste. I drink diet drinks, so I'm probably addicted to the sweetener, anyway, so as long as it's a diet cola, I don't really have a preference for one soft drink giant's beverages over another.


Imagine Bumping Into MJ???

Coke Commercial 1970's

How It's Made TV Clip: Soft Drinks


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    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Hi luisj305 - thanks for reading and commenting. I didn't know this stuff, either, until I heard a few weird rumors then decided to look them up for this hub! If you want to see some fantastic soft drink company commercials, browse you tube... there are all kinds - funny, theatrical, dramatic... good stuff.

    • luisj305 profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      Interesting Mythbuster, I had no idea about this and I pretty much drink Coke every day!

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Glad you liked the little historical touch here, Micky Dee. Nostalgia can be fun.

      Susan - thanks for stopping by and commenting. I will be adding some details about Dr. Pepper to this hub, soon.

    • susanlang profile image


      8 years ago

      Good read with a new twist on soda. I remember the Dr. Pepper soda ads...back then...the ads wanted everyone to be a pepper!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Yes Sir! Thank you for the history. It was a few years ago I saw an old coke made around 1910 or 1912 or something. That was what I missed most, in the food group, about being in Vietnam. No cold cokes. Thanks Mythbuster!

    • profile image

      Jane Taxpayer 

      8 years ago from Your innermost conscience

      I'm familiar with some of these cola myths. My favourite surrounds the creation of Dr. Pepper and its 23 flavours! (which was also from a drugstore!) check it out sometime.


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