Since everybody is always asking me about the history of Coca-Cola, here you go--courtesy of the fine folks at wikipedia:
Fascinating History In-Brief
"The prototype Coca-Cola recipe was formulated at the Eagle Drug and Chemical Company, a drugstore in Columbus, Georgis by John Pemberton, originally as a coca wine called Pemberton's French Wine Coca. He may have been inspired by the formidable success of Vin Mariani, a European coca wine.
"In 1886, when Atlanta and Fulton County passed prohibition legislation, Pemberton responded by developing Coca-Cola, essentially a non-alcoholic version of French Wine Coca. The first sales were at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886. It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass at soda fountains, which were popular in the United States at the time due to the belief that carbonated water was good for the health.
"Pemberton claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases, including morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence. Pemberton ran the first advertisement for the beverage on May 29 of the same year in the Atlanta Journal.
"By 1888, three versions of Coca-Cola — sold by three separate businesses — were on the market. Asa Griggs Candler acquired a stake in Pemberton's company in 1887 and incorporated it as the Coca Cola Company in 1888. The same year, while suffering from an ongoing addiction to morphine, Pemberton sold the rights a second time to four more businessmen: J.C. Mayfield, A.O. Murphey, C.O. Mullahy and E.H. Bloodworth. Meanwhile, Pemberton's alcoholic son Charley Pemberton began selling his own version of the product.
"John Pemberton declared that the name "Coca-Cola" belonged to Charley, but the other two manufacturers could continue to use the formula. So, in the summer of 1888, Candler sold his beverage under the names Yum Yum and Koke. After both failed to catch on, Candler set out to establish a legal claim to Coca-Cola in late 1888, in order to force his two competitors out of the business. Candler purchased exclusive rights to the formula from John Pemberton, Margaret Dozier and Woolfolk Walker. However, in 1914, Dozier came forward to claim her signature on the bill of sale had been forged, and subsequent analysis has indicated John Pemberton's signature was most likely a forgery as well.
Coca — cocaine"Pemberton called for five ounces of coca leaf per gallon of syrup, a significant dose; in 1891, Candler claimed his formula (altered extensively from Pemberton's original) contained only a tenth of this amount. Coca-Cola did once contain an estimated nine milligrams of cocaine per glass, but in 1903 it was removed. Coca-Cola still contains coca flavoring.
"After 1904, instead of using fresh leaves, Coca-Cola started using "spent" leaves — the leftovers of the cocaine-extraction process with cocaine trace levels left over at a molecular level. To this day, Coca-Cola uses as an ingredient a cocaine-free coca leaf extract prepared at a Stepan Company plant in Maywood, New Jersey.
"In the United States, Stepan Company is the only manufacturing plant authorized by the Federal Government to import and process the coca plant, which it obtains mainly from Peru and, to a lesser extent, Bolivia. Besides producing the coca flavoring agent for Coca-Cola, Stepan Company extracts cocaine from the coca leaves, which it sells to Mallinckrodt, a St. Louis, Missouri pharmaceutical manufacturer that is the only company in the United States licensed to purify cocaine for medicinal use.
Kola nuts — caffeine
"Kola nuts act as a flavoring and the source of caffeine in Coca-Cola. In Britain, for example, the ingredient label states "Flavourings (Including Caffeine). Kola nuts contain about 2 percent to 3.5 percent caffeine, are of bitter flavor and are commonly used in cola soft drinks. In 1911, the U.S. government initiated United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola, hoping to force Coca-Cola to remove caffeine from its formula. The case was decided in favor of Coca-Cola. Subsequently, in 1912 the U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act was amended, adding caffeine to the list of "habit-forming" and "deleterious" substances which must be listed on a product's label.
Coca-Cola contains 46 mg of caffeine per 12 fluid ounces, while Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola and Diet Coke Caffeine-Free contain 0 mg."
Huh. The U.S. government allows a company to import coca leaves in order to flavor Coca-Cola (and Red Bull) and help another company create pharmaceutical-grade cocaine for medicinal purposes? Sounds totally cool. Why not, right? I'm sure we can trust them and they deserve the special treatment because...otherwise...we wouldn't have that stuff. And we need it. Because if we didn't have real (spent) coca leaves, how could we ever replicate the flavors of Coca-Cola and Red Bull without filling the drinks with random unhealthy chemical additives? Wait...
I wonder how many other companies over the last 106 years have petitioned for the privileges of importing coca leaves and manufacturing pharmaceutical-grade cocaine. I wonder to what corrupt lengths Stepan Company and Mallinckrodt have gone to maintain their government-authorized monopolies.
"United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola" is funny to think about and also, oddly, sounds like a fight we cannot win; no surprise, therefore, that we didn't. Ah, the corporations are mighty...