Prompted by discovering Ubuntu Cola while I was in Paris a few weeks ago, I went on a spree of reading Wikipedia articles about cola. Here’s some of the more interesting ones I found.
Ubuntu Cola is not to be confused with OpenCola, where rather than being a closely guarded secret like Coca-Cola, the recipe is open-source.
Russian general Georgy Zhukov was a big fan of Coca-Cola, but couldn’t be seen to be drinking it as it was considered a symbol of American imperialism. He had a word with a US general, and eventually the request made it all the way up to President Truman, who urged Coke to work on the problem. They eventually developed White Coke, a special colourless version, supposedly so Zhukov could pretend he was drinking vodka.
Coke’s attempts at developing new styles haven’t always been so successful. The most infamous example is probably the 80s’ New Coke, when they changed the formula for their flagship product, only to revert to the original a short while later following public outcry. Colossal blunder, ingenious marketing trick, or cunning ruse to disguise the change from sugar to High Fructose Corn Syrup?
My favourite passage from the New Coke article:
Gay Mullins […] formed the organization Old Cola Drinkers of America on May 28 to lobby Coca-Cola to either reintroduce the old formula or sell it to someone else. His organization eventually received over 60,000 phone calls. He also filed a class action lawsuit against the company (which was quickly dismissed by a judge who said he preferred the taste of Pepsi)
Speaking of Pepsi, they were sued in what must be one of the most ridiculous lawsuits ever: Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc. Can you redeem Pepsi reward points for a Harrier jump jet? (Spoiler alert: you can’t)