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Drinking HistoryFifteen Turning Points in the Making of American Beverages$
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Andrew Smith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231151177

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231151177.001.0001

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The Temperance Beverage

The Temperance Beverage

Chapter:
(p.155) 10 The Temperance Beverage
Source:
Drinking History
Author(s):

Andrew F. Smith

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231151177.003.0010

This chapter describes the development of the American soft drink industry. In 1885, Atlanta druggist John Stith Pemberton needed a new product on his pharmacy shelves. Sales of his popular Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, compounded from his own formula consisting mainly of wine and cocaine, were in jeopardy following the passage of temperance legislation forbidding the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the city. Pemberton began experimenting with other mixtures, hoping to formulate a “temperance medicine” using a concoction of coca leaves, kola nut extract, sugar, and flavorings: when he felt he had the right blend, he launched the new syrup called Coca-Cola. Pemberton sold the concoction to other druggists as a “brain tonic” and an “ideal nerve tonic and stimulant;” it cured “neuralgia, hysteria, and melancholy” and “nervous afflictions.” Pemberton’s new concoction was one of many similar drugstore medicinal products that had little chance of survival. But Coca-Cola thrived and so did the soda drink industry. Americans adopted soft drinks as one of their favorite beverages, and they remain so today.

Keywords:   soft drink industry, sodas, Coca-Cola, John Stitch Pemberton, drugs, drugstore medical production

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