38 Surprising Facts About Coca-Cola

Though U.S. pharmacist John S. Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886, his bookkeeper, Frank Robinson invented the name. Robinson had beautiful handwriting, and his flowering script is still used today.[13]

Coca-Cola was first marketed as a nerve tonic that “relieves exhaustion.”[13]

The very first Coca-Cola products contained cocaine, about 9 milligrams per glass. It was removed from the drink in 1903.

The original Coke was also alcoholic.[14]

Coca-Cola is the most widely distributed product on the planet.[13]

Coca-Cola was officially launched in 1886, making it 130 years old.[3]

Only two countries in the world do not sell Coca-Cola: North Korea and Cuba.[13]

John Pemberton died from stomach cancer at age 57 in August 1888

John S. Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola, was a pharmacist and a colonel in the Confederate army during the Civil War. After sustaining a war-injury, he became addicted to morphine and believed his tonic would combat his addiction.[3]

Coca-Cola has so many types of drinks that it would take a person drinking one a day over nine years to try them all.[13]

If every drop of Coke ever made were placed in 8-ounce bottles and laid end-to-end, the bottles would reach to the moon and back over 2,000 times.[5]

Coke’s brand is worth over $83.8 billion, which is more than KFC, Subway, and Budweiser combined.[13]

Mexicans drink more Coke than any other country in the world. Mexicans drink about 745 Coke beverages per year. Americans drink about 401 Coke products a year.[13]

Studies have proven that Coca-Cola, especially Diet Coke, is an effective spermicide. However, neither is recommended as a form of birth control.[10]

Coca-Cola has traditionally been considered a wonder cure for everything including hiccups, colic, low libido, and relieving jellyfish stings.

[3]According to Warren Buffet, Coca-Cola has no taste memory, which means, like water, a person will never get sick of it.[8]

If you gave me $100 billion and said take away the soft drink leadership of Coca-Cola in the world, I’d give it back to you and say it can’t be done.

– Warren Buffett

In 2004, a Coca-Cola plant in India was forced to close for extracting and degrading groundwater above legal limits and for discharging excessive levels of pollutants into the environment.[2]

The name Coca-Cola refers to two of its original ingredients: kola nuts and coca leaves.[14]

In 2015, Coca Cola was the world’s third most valuable brand, after Apple and Google.[15]

Approximately 96% of the world’s population recognizes the Coca-Cola logo.[4]

A 12-ounce can of Coke has about 39 grams of total sugar, which is about 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar.[7]

The average child will consume more than their body weight in sugar every year

Coke sold 25 bottles its first year. Today, it sells 1.8 billion bottles—per day.[14]

Coca-Cola owns over half of all soft drinks sold.[14]Coca-Cola’s Facebook page has over 90 million fans.[5]

In 2015, Coca-Cola created controversy when it paid $550,000 directly to the head of an anti-obesity group. After the donation was revealed, the group disbanded.[1]

The six-pack was a way to increase sales

Coke invented the six-pack in 1932 to encourage people to drink more Coke. They initially didn’t use a plastic six-pack ring; they used a printed cardboard carton similar to the 12-pack cardboard tubes used today.[8]

Coca-Cola commissioned American artist Norman Rockwell to illustrate Coca-Cola ads in an idyllic American setting. Of the six illustrations, Coca-Cola has three originals, while the other three are lost.[12]

A 30-year old mother of 8 died after drinking 2 gallons of Coke daily for years. An autopsy revealed that Coke had ruined her liver and her heart and all of her teeth were rotten. At least one of her children was born without enamel on its teeth.[16]

The shape of the Coca-Cola bottle is patterned after a cacao seed pod.[14]

Coca-Cola is the largest user of cans in the United States. The company uses over 300,000 tonnes of aluminum sheet every year.[9]

Coca-Cola created controversy when they did business with the Nazis. During WW II, several of the top Coca-Cola executives were Nazis, and when German Coca-Cola plants could no longer ship ingredients to make Coke, the company helped them make Fanta.[14]

On average, over 10,000 soft drinks from Coca-Cola are consumed every second of every day globally.[13]

Coca-Cola’s “New Coke” advertising failure in 1985-1986 was so huge that it spawned several conspiracy theories. Some believe that Coke used the New Coke switch over as a ruse to replace the sugar in the original with cheaper high-fructose corn syrup. Indeed, by 1985, Coke had replaced their original recipe to include HFCS.[3]

The original formula for Coca-Cola is held in a vault in a branch of SunTrust Bank Atlanta, which close to the Coca-Cola headquarters.[8]

Coca-Cola was the first commercial sponsor of the Olympic Games in 1928.[3]

In 2001, Coca-Cola was sued for allegedly hiring right-wing death squads to terrorize, kill, kidnap, and torture workers at its Colombian bottling plant. Coca-Cola denied all involvement.[6]

Santa Has Been Featured in Coke Ads

Since the 1920sIn 1931, Coca-Cola created the now ubiquitous image of the modern Santa Claus, with his contrasting red and white clothes, which mirror the colors of the famous soda.[13]

Martin Luther King Jr. advocated a boycott of Coca-Cola as a “white good” as a means to non-violently protest racism. At the time, white workers in Coca-Cola factories were getting paid more than African American workers[14]

In the 1980s, an obscene image was snuck into one of the ice cubes in a Coca-Cola ad in South Australia. The company recalled and destroyed all of the posters, and the artist responsible for the image was fired and sued.[3]

In 2015, Coca-Cola, along with several other large companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Walmart, added their names to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge.[11]



1Adday, Michael. “Coca-Cola Paid $550K to Head of Anti-Obesity Group.” Fortune. December 28, 2015. Accessed: March 30, 2016.

2Bahar, Tengku. “Coca-Cola Forced to Close India Bottling Factory Over Excessive Water Use, Pollution.” Question More. Updated June 21, 2014. Accessed: March 30, 2016.

3Bodden, Valerie. The Story of Coca-Cola. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 2009.

4Coca-Cola Company Statistics.” Statistic Brain. 2016. Accessed: March 30, 2016.

5Coca-Cola Fun Facts.” Coca-Cola. 2016. Accessed: March 30, 2016.

6Coke Sued Over Death Squad Claims.” BBC. July 20, 2001. Accessed: March 31, 2016.

7Donovan, Tristan. Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press Incorporated, 2014.

8Facts about Coca-Cola You May Not Know.” AOL. February 25, 2015. Accessed: March 31, 2016.

9Frequently Asked Questions.” The CanMaker. January 18, 2011. Accessed: March 30, 2016.

10Johnson, Summer. “Forget Condoms? Use Diet Coke!” Bio Ethics. October 8, 2008. Accessed: March 30, 2016.

11Kasperkevi, Jana and Sam Thielman. “Thirteen US Companies Sign on to White House Climate Change Pledge.” The Guardian. July 27, 2015. Accessed: March 30, 2016.

12Missing Norman Rockwell Coca-Cola Illustrations.” PBS. April 23, 2012. Accessed: March 30, 2016.

13O’Reilly, Lara. “15 Mind-Blowing Facts about Coca-Cola.” Business Insider. September 25, 2015. Accessed: March 30, 2016.

14Pendergrast, Mark. Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It. 3rd Edition. New York, New York: Basic Books.

15Rankings.” Interbrand. 2016. Accessed: March 30, 2016.

16Woman Drank Herself to Death with Coca-Cola.” Discovery. February 12, 2013. Accessed: March 30, 2016.