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5 Things You Didn't Know About Coca-Cola

Updated on October 5, 2013

Coca-Cola is the world's most popular soft drink, but it started out life as a stimulant and headache remedy created by a doctor and sold in drug stories. This article will cover 5 interesting and odd facts that you probably didn't know about Coca-Cola.

5. Coca-Cola was invented in response to a prohibition law.

The drink that would become Coca-Cola was originally known as a stimulant and headache remedy that was sold in most city drug stores. However, in its original formulation, it was sweetened with wine. Before the wine was switched out for sugar, it was known as "Pemberton's French Wine Coca". It was a 1886 prohibition law enacted in Atlanta that caused its inventor, Dr. John S. Pemberton, to rewrite the formula. [1]

4. The President of Coca-Cola once asked US President Eisenhower to create a 7.5 cent coin, because he wanted to raise the price of coke in his venting machines.

For a 70 years after its formulation, Coca-Cola was priced at 5 cents [2]. During this time Coke had foolishly designed their vending machines to only accept nickles. As inflation took its toll, the company decided it wanted to raise the price, but they felt having the machines take dimes was too much, they needed a smaller unit, so they decided to ask the US president to create a 7.5 cent coin, since the US president and the Coca-Cola company president were hunting buddies. However, US President Eisenhower wasn't interested, and Coke had to come up with a machine that accepted multiple types of coins.

3. If you drop a can of Coke and Diet Coke into a tub of water, the Diet Coke cans will float, while the regular Coke cans will sink.

The real sugar in Coke makes it dense enough to sink, while the artificial sweetener in Diet Coke doesn't make it dense enough to sink. You can see it in action here:

2. Long time Coke drinker and Cuban leader Fidel Castro called New Coke a sign of American capitalist decadence.

In the 1980s, Coke's market share began to fall and Pepsi began to outsell Coke in supermarkets. While Coke was able to maintain a sales lead through restaurants and vending machines, the company knew it was only a matter of time before Pepsi took over as the lead soft drink. To combat this problem, the executive team at Coke decided to have their flagship drink reformulated. They put a team of chemists together to create a sweeter drink and held several focus groups to evaluate the new flavor. The focus groups revealed that most people liked the new taste better, but that around 10-12% of the participants hated the new drink and felt alienated by the move to change the formula. Coke also found that this group's opinion effected others in the group, but they chose to ignore this finding.

Due to issues with bottlers and concerns about eating its own market share, Coke felt it couldn't sell both the classic and the new formula, so in April of 1985 it discontinued its classic drink and began selling New Coke. The move played out similar to the way it did in the focus groups, with most people liking the change, but the 10-12% vocal minority hating it. As time passed, this group grew louder and began convincing others - as it had in the focus groups. Many prominent Coke drinkers came out against the change, including Fidel Castro, and the company decided to reverse its decision 3 months later, re-introducing the original formula as a new drink called Coca-Cola Classic.

1. Coke switched to using high fructose corn syrup instead of cane sugar (in the US) when it re-introduced Coca-Cola classic.

After the New Coke debacle, when bottlers went back to producing the original formula, the ones who hadn't started using high fructose corn syrup to sweeten the drink switched over to it. This was because it was cheaper than cane sugar and since coke had been gone a few months, the change over would be less noticeable.

[1] Library of Congress Article on Dr. John S. Pemberton
[2] NPR Article on Why Coke Cost a Nickle for 70 Years


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    • profile image

      LC. 4 years ago

      Cane sugar. Not cain.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Oh my, there are so many things that I didn't know about Coca-Cola. Glad to have read yr hub. Thanks for sharing

    • KA Pederson profile image

      Kim Anne 5 years ago from Texas

      interesting. Wine for sweetener. I heard it originally had cocaine in it back in the day. Voted up for interesting!

    • lemonkerdz profile image

      lemonkerdz 5 years ago from LIMA, PERU

      Very interesting information on one of the worlds most popular drinks.

      Shame its still not 7.5 cents. Thanks voting up.