Coca-Cola and Botanic Blood Balm

One of the most famous sparkling drinks in the world, Coca-Cola, was patented 120 years ago in the U.S.. The rights to produce the drink from coca leaves belong to Asa Griggs Candler, the founder of Coca-Cola Corporation. With the help of Candler's efforts, the drink, conceived as an anesthetic, has become a legend, and The Coca-Cola company surpassed the cost of such giant as Microsoft.

The would-be founder of a national symbol of the USA, Asa Griggs Candler, was born December 30, 1851 in Carroll County, into the family of a successful merchant and planter, who had a total of eleven children. Before the advent of the Coca-Cola brand in Candler's life, he was involved in a pharmacy business in Atlanta and produced patented medicines.

An officer of the American Confederation, who ended the war as a pharmacist - John Steve Pemberton - conducted first experiments with coca leaves and the nuts of tropical tree, cola. In his laboratory in Atlanta, Pemberton was working on the production of pain-killing medications and medicines for various nervous diseases, as well as impotence. The wonder potion appeared in pharmacies on May 8, 1886. As long as the society was unaware of the dangers of cocaine at that time, the coca-cola drug could be solved freely. However, there was no high demand on the medication, so without the slightest hesitation Pemberton agreed to sell the rights to manufacture the drug to businessman Asa Griggs Candler.

According to some sources, having become a full-fledged owner of the recipe for Coca-Cola in 1889, Candler cooked syrup in a metal pan together with his Botanic Blood Balm. The massive production of that drink was launched soon afterwards. Candler's entrepreneurial acumen and deep knowledge of such techniques such as marketing, allowed him both to patent the Coca-Cola drink in three years (1889-1891) and establish its production. To found The Coca-Cola Company, the American entrepreneur spent 2,300 dollars - a fortune in those days. In 1895, Coca-Cola factories appeared in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles. The drink was positioned as a refreshing and healing one, because it was based on cocaine.

This ingredient became a sticking point between the founder of The Coca-Cola Company and the authorities of the United States in the early 1900s. In 1902, the turnover of the company for the production of Coca-Cola made up 120,000 dollars. The government and the media cracked down on Candler accusing him of selling a drug. In 1903,  the New York Tribune published a devastating article, in which the product of The Coca-Cola Company was blamed for the attacks of  black people from urban slums against the white population of the United States. Journalists of the renowned publication believed that black Americans were losing control of themselves under the influence of the drink from coca leaves. The allegations forced Candler to stop adding fresh cocaine leaves to the drink and replace them with pressed leaves that contained no disgraced alkaloid.

The ways of packaging the beverage that was quickly gaining popularity in the United States were different at different times. Since 1894, Coca-Cola was produced only in glass bottles. Aluminium cans appeared only in 1955. Interestingly, the size of bottles and their design was also changing over time. It was also a marketing trick designed to reach wider audiences of consumers. In 1915, designer Earl R. Dean came up with the "contour" bottle of 6.5 ounces, which looked like cocoa beans. Supposedly, the designer messed up the words "coca" and "cocoa". However, during subsequent years, there were more than 6 billion of those bottles produced. In 1955, Coca-Cola started to produce bottles of 26, 10 and 12 ounces. On 4 December 2007, the company presented a new bottle, designed to reduce the use of glass, and the emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The 0.33-liter container was 20% lighter than its predecessor.

The more powerful the Coca-Cola brand was getting, the more companies were getting jealous. In 1916, representatives of The Coca-Cola Company invited to court about 153 companies that tried to profit from the glory of the famous product. They were manufacturing products that were similar to Coca-Cola in their composition. However, no matter how competitors tried to scout out the formula of the most famous drink, no one has been able to do that up until now. The formula is a commercial secret of the Coca-Cola Corporation and its original copy is kept in the main vault of SunTrust Bank in Atlanta.  

As for the creator and founder of the corporation, Asa Candler, he fully transferred the business to his children in 1916, when he was elected the mayor of Atlanta. Candler died at age 78, on March 12, 1929. At that time, The Coca-Cola Company was owned by Ernest Woodruff's syndicate, who bought the profitable corporation from the descendants of the enterprising businessman.

Maria Snytkova.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov