The Anniversary of Coca-Cola

John Pemberton earned a medical degree when he was only 19 years old -and then worked as a pharmacist, trying to invent new drugs. He particularly needed a new kind of pain relief, as he was badly wounded in the Civiil war and had become addicted to morphine for relief.
After the war, Pemberton settled in Atlanta, where he began work on a beverage combining coca leaves and cola nuts. His objective was to create a pain reliever but when his lab assistant accidentally mixed the concoction with carbonated water on May 8, 1886, the two men tasted it, liked it, and decided it might make a profitable alternative to ginger ale and root beer.

Pemberton sold the rights to Coca-Cola (twice, actually, but that’s another story) as his behavior became more erratic. He died only two years after his accidental invention and only a few months after the Coca Cola Corporation was incorporated.

The Coca-Cola that you may be drinking right now has been reformulated a bit over the years, but the basic beverage is 126 years old today. Link

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I really do not know if this is an "urban legend" or not, but I just wanted to put it out there...
I heard once that one of the driving forces behind the "New Coke" fiasco was Coca-Cola's unspoken fear of the public relations hit they would take if it became generally known that their product was flavored with coca leaf extract. This was at the height of the anti-drug, "just say no" frenzy - partly because of the horrible toll that the crack cocaine epidemic was taking in our cities at the time, and what I heard was that Coke was desperately afraid that they would be perceived (rightly or wrongly) as profiting from the coca trade, and they tried to quietly change to a coca-free formula. Modern retrospective stories paint the whole "New Coke" marketing fiasco as entirely a response to the highly successful "Take the Pepsi Challenge" campaign that was going on at the time, but this theory always seemed to have a certain ring of truth to me.
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