Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Coca-Cola first sold in bottles

12th March 1894

This day in history...1894 - Coca-Cola is sold in bottles for the first time in Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA

Coca-cola has long been known as the 'World's Favourite Drink'. If you haven't heard of it people would say there is something seriously wrong with you. It can be enjoyed in many different flavours across the globe and had been an ongoing, successful and ever-changing business since it was first made by John Pemberton in Atlanta in 1886. 

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The First Coca-Cola bottle.
I won't bore you with an in depth history of the making of Coca-Cola and the business development, but it helps to have a little background knowledge. Pemberton was a pharmacist and was simply inspired by curiosity. He stirred up a type of syrup; a fragrant, caramel-coloured liquid, and took it down to Jacob's pharmacy. The mixture was combined with carbonated water and tested on a few customers - they all agreed it was something special. Jacob's put the drink on sale for 5 cents - 3p - a glass. Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, named the drink Coca-Cola and wrote it in his distinctive writing - the same writing used on the labels today. Only nine glasses of Coca-Cola were sold a day, in the first year. This however increased and a century later the company had produced more than 10 billion gallons of the syrup. Atlanta businessman, Asa Griggs Candler secured the rights of the business for $2,300 and became the first president of Coca-Cola.  

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 Coca-Cola being sold at Jacobs' Pharmacy
Now onto the infamous bottles. In 1894, a Mississippi businessman, Joseph Beidenharn, first put the drink into bottles. It was the beginning of the future for Coca-Cola in terms of being a portable, bottled beverage that customers could take anywhere. The first bottle was a success. 

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Biedenharn's Coca-Cola shop
However, the amount of competition of other 'copycat' drinks required a more distinctive bottle. In 1916 the contour bottle was introduced by The Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana. The bottle was inspired by the curves and grooves of a cocoa bean. In 1923 six pack carriers of coke were sold so that people were encouraged to take them home with them - this was a huge success. Media attention also followed as the contour bottle was the first commercial product to be featured on the cover of Time Magazine, and Coca-Cola's first TV ad appeared in 1950. Since the contour bottle, many different variations have been produced, including the two litre PET plastic bottles. This was a huge hit due to the fact that it didn't break, was reusable, resealable and recyclable. Aluminium and eco-friendly bottles have also been apart of the Coca-Cola evolution and innovation of bottles still continues today. 

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Evolution of Coca-Cola bottles
 Over the years Coca-Cola has had its fair share of marketing campaigns and advertisements. The most famous examples are the association with Santa and 'Share a Coke' campaign. Since the 1930s Coca-Cola has been popularised by Santa in Christmas adverts and the red and white colours of Santa coincide well with the drink. Many TV commercials and posters still utilise this campaign and it has become an anticipated part of Christmas to see what the new Christmas Coca-Cola advert will be like. The 'Share a Coke' campaign has also been highly successful. During the summer of 2013 countries around the globe, particularity Great Britain adopted the idea of putting names on the coke bottles to promote sharing cokes with friends etc. Coca-Cola bottles have been iconic since the first day they were used. And they will no doubt continue to be a success for many years to come. 

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Santa Advert 1920s
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Share a coke campaign

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