Soda Pop of the Week: Pepsi-Cola

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The History of Pepsi-Cola Soda


“Drink Pepsi-Cola. It will satisfy you.”

Pepsi-Cola was invented by Caleb Bradham, a pharmacist in New Bern, North Carolina. As a pharmacist, Bradham served refreshing drinks made with syrups to his customers at his soda fountain. His formulas for these soft drinks were his own. During the summer of 1893 he concocted a soft drink formula made of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, oils, pepsin and kola nuts, and his customers liked the drink so well they nicknamed it “Brad’s drink”. Bradham called the drink Pepsi-Cola, referring to the pepsin and kola nuts it contained. And in 1898 Bradham purchased the brand name “Pep Cola” from a bankrupt competitor for a mere $100.

Bradham’s Pepsi-Cola was successful enough that he started the Pepsi-Cola Company in 1902 to market it. He trademarked the name in 1903, and an artist friend created a logo for his soft drink. That same year, Bradhams’ new company sold 7,968 gallons of Pepsi-Cola syrup. The slogan was “Exhilarating, Invigorating, Aids Digestion”. Pepsi was sold in 6-ounce bottles starting in 1904 and sold 19,848 gallons that year. In 1905 Bradham started franchising his Pepsi-Cola bottling business and sales increased to over 100,000 gallons of syrup a year by 1907.

Pepsi-Cola brought Bradham great success until the arrival of World War I. With increasing expenses involved in doing business and the economic downturn of the depression, Bradham began to take some chances. He invested heavily in sugar, believing the price would continue to rise. When it fell, he was ruined and had to sell off his Pepsi-Cola company. It was purchased by Roy Megarel, but went bankrupt again. In 1931 Charles Gut, executive of the Loft Candy Company, bought Pepsi and had turning it around and making it successful once again by 1933. In 1934 they began selling 12-ounce bottles of Pepsi for the same 5-cent price that competitors sold their soda for in 6-ounce bottles. They introduced an ad campaign in 1939 in the form of a cartoon, called “Pepsi and Pete”, to make the consumer aware that Pepsi gave them “Twice as Much for a Nickel”.

Diet Pepsi was introduced in 1964, the same year they acquired another drink, called Mountain Dew. Today Pepsi is manufactured by PepsiCo, Inc. that is headquartered in Purchase, NY. Additional flavors have been added to the Pepsi lineup, including Pepsi Max, Pepsi Wild Cherry, Pepsi Lime and Pepsi Vanilla.

Pepsi-Cola Company
New Bern, North Carolina

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Last updated: Sep 02, 2009
Filed under: Soda Pop Tagged with: Diet Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi-Cola, PepsiCo