Coca-Cola began in 1886 when the Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton mixed a caramel colored syrup he’d created with carbonated water. Upon having a few people try the drink, it was discovered that this new drink could be something special. Pemberton’s bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, used distinct script to write Coca-Cola, and this same script is still used today. Pemberton died just two years later, in 1888, without ever fully knowing what a hit his new drink was going to become. After his untimely death, Asa Griggs Candler secured the rights for the drink for a mere $2,300. It was Asa who transformed the drink into the company.
Asa G. Candler made and distributed to pharmacies products from clocks to calendars with the Coca-Cola label, pushing the name and design onto the public. This marketing technique seemed to work because, by 1895, there were syrup plants in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas. In 1894, Joseph Biedenham put Coca-Cola into bottles and sent them to Candler. He responded unenthusiastically, and in 1899 sold the rights to bottle and sell Coca-Cola to Benjamin F. Thomas and Joseph B. Whitehead.
In 1916, the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, was chosen to design a new bottle. The win came when a contest was held, as a ploy to fight off competitors’ beverages. The contour bottle, still the signature shape, was chosen and manufactured. Around this same time, the Coca-Cola company was beginning to boom. The company moved into Canada, Puerto Rico, Panama, Cuba, and France. In 1900 there were only two bottlers, but by 1920 there were around 1,000.
Ernest Woodruff purchased Coca-Cola in 1919 and just four years later named his son, Robert Woodruff, president. Woodruff was the leader in the expansion of Coca-Cola overseas. In 1928, he introduced the beverage to the Olympic Games when the United States team went to the Amsterdam Olympics. Woodruff pushed the innovation and distribution of the six pack, the open top cooler, and other products that allowed Coca-Cola to be enjoyed not just at home, but also on the go. Between the mid-1940?s and the 1960?s, the number of countries with bottle operations nearly doubled. Coca-Cola was chosen to be the only distributor of cold packaged drinks in the People Republic of China in 1978.
Roberto C. Goizueta became the chairman of Coca-Cola in 1981. He then organized the bottling operations world-wide into the new company called Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. Under this new name, he created diet Coke, a beverage that, within two years, would become the top low-calorie drink in the world. In 1985 came the release of new Coke, which was the first formula change in 99 years. Taste-testers loved this new formula, but people of the real world begged for the old formula back. The company listened.
Coca-Cola began expanding it’s products with the addition of Fanta in the 1950?s. From there, Sprite was added in 1961, TAB in 1963, and Fresca in 1966. In 1960, Coca-Cola acquired Minute Maid. By the 1990?s, Powerade, Qoo, Dasani and Barq’s were added to list. Limca, Maaza, and Thums Up were added in India, and Inca Pola in Peru. Cadbury Schweppes was added to the product line in over 120 countries.
As a marketing campaign, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear was introduced in 1993. This new, highly adored, bear became an instant sensation with it’s “Northern Lights” debut. Later, bear cubs were added for a “gather around the Christmas tree” moment.
The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England has a bottling plant located in Londonderry, NH. This plant is located on Symmes Drive. Symmes Drive is just off Exit 5 of I-93. Since the plant was built, it has been bottling such products as Dasani, Vault, Moxie, Dr. Pepper, Powerade, Fuze, and, of course, Coke. The next time you grab a bottle of one of these products, check the label. You may just discover it was bottled right here in Londonderry, NH!
(1) Images and data courtesy of Coca-Cola company.
Plant Images ImageAbility Inc. Londonderry, NH
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