It was the biggest victory in the Cola Wars since Michael J. Fox picked up his first can of Pepsi: Diet Coke last year passed Pepsi to move into second place in U.S. soft drink popularity.
But the sales figures — released last week by the trade publication Beverage Digest — brought up many more questions than answers for consumers of sugary carbonated beverages. What ever happened to 7 Up? Are there really enough 13-year-old boys in the U.S. to keep Mountain Dew in fourth place? And who the hell drinks Fanta?
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5- Dr Pepper – 1885
In 1885, in Waco, Texas, a young pharmacist called Charles Alderton invented the soft drink “Dr Pepper”.
Alderton worked at a place called Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store and carbonated drinks were served at the soda fountain. Alderton invented his own recipes for soft drinks and found one of his drinks was becoming very popular. His customers originally asked for the drink by asking Alderton to shoot them a “Waco”.
Morrison, owner of the drug store is credited with naming the drink “Dr Pepper” after a friend of his, Dr. Charles Pepper. Later in the 1950s the period was removed from the “Dr Pepper” name.
4- Mountain Dew – 1948
Early 1940s: Brothers Ally and Barney Hartman, of Hartman Beverage bottle a lithiated-lemon drink used as a personal mixer for hard-liquor bars. They affectionatley call it “Mountain Dew” after Tennessee Mountain Moonshine.
1946: The Hartman brothers add a label to the bottle, featuring a drawing of a hillbilly with a gun and the inscription, misspelled by the artist: “by BARNEY and OLLIE.” They take the bottle to a convention in Gatlinburg, Tennessee where they are assured by friends that their product, nothing more than a joke, could turn them a tidy profit. On the way back from the convention the brothers meet Charlie Gordon, of Tri-City Beverage, who is interested in the brothers’ drink.
Nov. 12, 1948: The Hartman brothers trademark their label.
3- Pepsi-Cola – 1898
Born in the Carolinas in 1898, Pepsi-Cola has a long and rich history. The drink is the invention of Caleb Bradham (left), a pharmacist and drugstore owner in New Bern, North Carolina.
The summer of 1898, as usual, was hot and humid in New Bern, North Carolina. So a young 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 succeeded beyond all expectations because he invented the beverage known around the world as Pepsi-Cola.
2- Diet Coke – 1983
Diet Coke, called Coca-Cola Light in some countries, is a sugar-free soft drink produced and distributed by The Coca-Cola Company. It was first introduced in the United States on August 9, 1982, as the first new brand since 1886 to use the Coca-Cola trademark. The product quickly overtook the soft drink Tab in sales.
Diet Coke was sweetened with aspartame after the sweetener became available in the United States in 1983; to save money, this was originally in a blend with saccharin. After Diet Rite cola advertised its 100 percent use of aspartame, and the manufacturer of NutraSweet (then, G.D. Searle & Company) warned that the NutraSweet trademark would not be made available to a blend of sweeteners, Coca-Cola switched the formula to 100 percent NutraSweet. Diet Coke from fountain dispensers still contains some saccharin to extend shelf life.
1- Coca Cola – 1886
The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world’s most valuable brand, our Company’s portfolio features 16 billion dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks.