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The History of Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola was invented by Dr. John Pemberton as a tonic to treat common ailments. It was first served on May 8, 1886 at Jacobs’ Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1885, Pemberton had introduced Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, an alcoholic beverage that he billed as a nerve tonic and cure for headaches, but the county passed a Prohibition bill shortly after, so he created Coca-Cola as a non-alcoholic alternative. Technically, this first iteration of Coca-Cola was only a precursor to the drink we know and love today. The early version was in syrup form and had to be mixed on the premises that was serving it.  Notably, it also contained a small amount of a precursor to cocaine as part of the recipe. Pemberton created the Pemberton Chemical Company, which later became Coca-Cola, to market and sell his new beverage. He died in 1888, but Asa G. Candler took control of the company and ran it until 1916. During Candler’s reign, the company began to bottle Coca-Cola and cocaine was removed as an ingredient. Cans were introduced in 1955. Later, Coca-Cola began to make different versions of its own soda and also began to acquire other beverage brands, turning the company into the bottled beverage behemoth we are familiar with today.

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