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Coca Cola – A short history

The Coca-Cola Company, which is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is an American multinational beverage corporation, and manufacturer, retailer, and marketer of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups.The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in Columbus, Georgia. The Coca-Cola formula and brand were bought in 1889 by Asa Griggs Candler (December 30, 1851 – March 12, 1929), who incorporated The Coca-Cola Company in 1892. The company has operated a franchised distribution system since 1889, wherein The Coca-Cola Company only produces syrup concentrate, which is then sold to various bottlers throughout the world who hold exclusive territories. The Coca-Cola Company owns its anchor bottler in North America, Coca-Cola Refreshments.
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Citizen Coke: The Making of Coca-Cola Capitalism

How did Coca-Cola build a global empire by selling a low-price concoction of mostly sugar, water, and caffeine? The easy answer is advertising, but the real formula to Coke’s success was its strategy, from the start, to offload costs and risks onto suppliers, franchisees, and the government. For most of its history the company owned no bottling plants, water sources, cane- or cornfields. A lean operation, it benefited from public goods like cheap municipal water and curbside recycling programs. Its huge appetite for ingredients gave it outsized influence on suppliers and congressional committees. This was Coca-Cola capitalism.

In this new history Bartow J. Elmore explores Coke through its ingredients, showing how the company secured massive quantities of coca leaf, caffeine, sugar, and other inputs. Its growth was driven by shrewd leaders such as Asa Candler, who scaled an Atlanta soda-fountain operation into a national empire, and “boss” Robert Woodruff, who nurtured partnerships with companies like Hershey and Monsanto. These men, and the company they helped build, were seen as responsible citizens, bringing jobs and development to every corner of the globe. But as Elmore shows, Coke was usually getting the sweet end of the deal.

 

Citizen Coke: The Making of Coca-Cola Capitalism

 

 

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