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7 Things You Didn’t Know About The Beverage That Rules The World

Despite its reign over your childhood, you probably don’t know much about the Coca Cola Company. This is because they’re actually a fairly low-key brand even with their complete global dominance of soft drinks.

But what if you’re interested in peeling back the curtain? What if you’d like to learn some interesting, shocking and downright unbelievable facts about your favorite carbonated beverage? Here are seven things you might not have known about Coca Cola.

1: Its Creator Was A Drug Addict

John Pemerton was a pharmacist addicted to opiates when he first invented Coca Cola in the late 1880s. Some say he only made it because he was looking for a complimentary drug to morphine, his favorite kind. It all makes sense when you realize that…

2: It Was Originally Made With Cocaine

While it wasn’t pumped into the bottles like some rumors insist, Coca Cola did derive its name from its first two ingredients, coca leaves and kola nuts. Coca itself is the psychoactive alkaloid used to make cocaine. Until the 1920s, when manufacturers changed the formula, Coke drinkers really were drinking coke.

3: The Brand Is Worth Staggering Amounts of Money

You knew they were rich, of course, but some wealth is simply beyond imagining. In 2012, Coca Cola made $48 billion, which is roughly on par with the national treasuries of several small countries. Their total net worth is even more impressive, with current estimates putting it anywhere from $170 to $200 billion. Again, that’s billion with a “B.”

4: Early Consumers Thought It Had Healing Properties

Maybe they were under the lingering effects of the coca leaves. Maybe they were just ill-equipped to handle the fizzy goodness in every glass. For whatever reason, it was an accepted truth for decades that Coca Cola was good for your health, eliminating headaches and providing energy to the exhausted.

5: The Company Stood Up For Martin Luther King Jr.

When bigwigs in Atlanta expressed hesitation in hosting an interracial dinner for Dr. King, the CEO of Coca Cola told them in no uncertain terms that if Dr. King wouldn’t be served, then Coca Cola would pull out of the event and the city. “The Coca-Cola Company does not need Atlanta,” he reportedly said. “You all need to decide whether Atlanta needs the Coca-Cola Company.”

6: The Staff Is An Eclectic Bunch

There’s no “soft drink” degree, so employees at Coca Cola have been educated in everything from finance to fashion design. Even their investors and directors enjoy a sense of whimsy; a certain Bobby Kotick board member is best known for his video game company. Coca Cola clearly values ingenuity and fun.

7: They Once Went to War Against Water

In 2010, Coca Cola decided that too many people were drinking tap water, so they launched a “Cap the Tap” program to pressure restaurant owners into discouraging their diners from drinking anything other than soda. If they absolutely had to have water, Coke suggested selling them bottled Dasani, one of their own brands. Only an avalanche of bad press nipped this campaign in the bud.

So there you have it, some of the most interesting facts and incredible secrets of Coca Cola. Did anything surprise you? Are you suddenly in the mood for a nice can of Coke?


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