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The History of Pepsi Cola
Caleb Bradham


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Located on the site of Caleb Bradham's original pharmacy.
By Mary Bellis

Caleb Bradham of New Bern, North Carolina was a pharmacist. Like many pharmacists at the turn of the century he had a soda fountain in his drugstore, where he served his customers refreshing drinks, that he created himself. His most popular beverage was something he called "Brad's drink" made of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, rare oils, pepsin and cola nuts.

"Brad's drink", created in the summer of 1893, was later renamed Pepsi Cola in 1898 after the pepsin and cola nuts used in the recipe. In 1898, Caleb Bradham wisely bought the trade name "Pep Cola" for $100 from a competitor from Newark, New Jersey that had gone broke. The new name was trademarked on June 16th, 1903. Bradham's neighbor, an artist designed the first Pepsi logo and ninety-seven shares of stock for Bradham's new company were issued.

After seventeen years of success, Caleb Bradham lost Pepsi Cola. He had gambled on the fluctuations of sugar prices during W.W.I, believing that sugar prices would continue to rise but they fell instead leaving Caleb Bradham with an overpriced sugar inventory. Pepsi Cola went bankrupt in 1923.

In 1931, Pepsi Cola was bought by the Loft Candy Company Loft president, Charles G. Guth who reformulated the popular soft drink. Guth struggled to make a success of Pepsi and even offered to sell Pepsi to the Coca-Cola company, who refused to offer a bid.

In 1940, history was made when the first advertising jingle was broadcast nationally. The jingle was "Nickel Nickel" an advertisement for Pepsi Cola that referred to the price of Pepsi and the quantity for that price. "Nickel Nickel" became a hit record and was recorded into fifty-five languages.

In 1964, Diet Pepsi was introduced.

Next page > History of Coca Cola

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