Today I learned a few things about Coca-Cola.
- Coca-Cola was originally created in response to prohibition.
In 1886, the city of Atlanta passed a short-lived law prohibiting the sale and/or manufacture of alcohol. In response, a pharmacist named John Pemberton created a faux wine, mixing together fruit flavors with extracts from kola nuts (caffeine) and coca leaves (cocaine). He dispensed it via soda fountains—at the time, carbonated water was believed to have medicinal benefit—and with that, Coca-Cola was born.
- Coca-Cola has a special arrangement with the government to allow it to use coca leaves stripped of cocaine.
In order for Coca-Cola to continue to exist in its current form, the company has a special arrangement with the Drug Enforcement Administration, allowing it to import dried coca leaves from Peru (and to a lesser degree, from Bolivia) in huge quantities. The dried coca leaves make their way to a processing plant in Maywood, New Jersey, operated by the Stepan Corporation, a publicly traded chemicals company. The Stepan factory imports roughly 100 metric tons of the leaves each year, stripping the active ingredient—the cocaine—from them. The cocaine-free leaves are then shipped off to Coke to turn into syrup, and, ultimately, soda.
- Supposedly only 2 people alive know the mystery flavor of Coca-Cola known as '7x flavor'.
“only two people know how to mix the 7x flavoring ingredient” and that “[t]hose two people never travel on the same plane in case it crashes; it’s this carefully passed-on secret ritual and the formula is kept in a bank vault.”