History of Pepsi Cola
Summer 1898, the weather was hot and humid. In New Bern, North Carolina pharmacist named Caleb Bradham began experimenting with combinations of spices, juices, and syrups trying to create a refreshing new drink to serve his customers. He invented the beverage known around the world as Pepsi-Cola.
His creation, a unique mixture of kola nut extract, vanilla and rare oils, became so popular his customers named it "Brad's Drink." Caleb decided to rename it "Pepsi-Cola," and advertised his new soft drink. People responded, and sales of Pepsi-Cola started to grow, convincing him that he should form a company to market the new beverage. In 1902, he launched the Pepsi-Cola Company in the back room of his pharmacy, and applied to the U.S. Patent Office for a trademark.
At first, he mixed the syrup himself and sold it exclusively through soda fountains. But soon Caleb recognized that a greater opportunity existed to bottle Pepsi so that people could drink it anywhere. The business began to grow, and on June 16, 1903, "Pepsi-Cola" was officially registered with the U.S. Patent Office. That year, Caleb sold 7,968 gallons of syrup, using the theme line "Exhilarating, Invigorating, Aids Digestion." He also began awarding franchises to bottle Pepsi to independent investors, whose number grew from just two in 1905, in the cities of Charlotte and Durham, North Carolina, to 15 the following year, and 40 by 1907. By the end of 1910, there were Pepsi-Cola franchises in 24 states.
Building a strong franchise system was one of Caleb's greatest achievements. Local Pepsi-Cola bottlers, entrepreneurial in spirit and dedicated to the product's success, provided a sturdy foundation. They were the cornerstone of the Pepsi-Cola enterprise. By 1907, the new company was selling more than 100,000 gallons of syrup per year.
Growth was phenomenal, and in 1909 Caleb erected a headquarters so spectacular that the town of New Bern pictured it on a postcard. The previous year, Pepsi had been one of the first companies in the United States to switch from horse-drawn transport to motor vehicles, and Caleb's business expertise captured widespread attention.
Pepsi-Cola enjoyed 17 unbroken years of success. Caleb now promoted Pepsi sales with the slogan, "Drink Pepsi-Cola. It will satisfy you." Then came World War I, and the cost of doing business increased drastically. Sugar prices see sawed between record highs and disastrous lows, and so did the price of producing Pepsi-Cola.
Caleb was forced into a series of business gambles just to survive, until finally, after three exhausting years, his luck ran out and he was bankrupted. By 1921, only two plants remained open. It wasn't until a successful candy manufacturer, Charles G. Guth, appeared on the scene that the future of Pepsi-Cola was assured. Guth was president of Loft Incorporated, a large chain of candy stores and soda fountains along the eastern seaboard. He saw Pepsi-Cola as an opportunity to discontinue an unsatisfactory business relationship with the Coca-Cola Company, and at the same time to add an attractive drawing card to Loft's soda fountains. He was right.
After five owners and 15 unprofitable years, Pepsi-Cola was once again a thriving national brand. One oddity of the time, for a number of years, all of Pepsi-Cola's sales were actually administered from a Baltimore building apparently owned by Coca-Cola, and named for its president.
Within two years, Pepsi would earn $1 million for its new owner. With the resurgence came new confidence, a rarity in those days because the nation was in the early stages of a severe economic decline that came to be known as the Great Depression.
History of Pepsi Cola
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