Would Brad’s Drink have hit the spot?

“Coca-Cola’s success spawned a host of cola imitators. The drink that would prove Coke’s strongest and most enduring copier was conceived in a North Carolina drugstore in 1896.

“New Bern pharmacist Caleb D. Bradham, an erstwhile medical student, served dyspeptic customers a drink he had created to calm their stomachs. To his surprise it became a hit with his other patrons, who would ask for ‘Brad’s drink.’ Forfeiting his opportunity for immortality, Bradham rechristened the drink ‘Pepsi-Cola.’ The name suggested two of the drink’s ingredi­ents, the digestive enzyme pepsin and the kola nut, in a form and cadence suggestive of Pepsi’s Atlanta competitor.”

— From “Charles E. Hires and the Drink that Wowed a Nation: The Life and Times of a Philadelphia Entrepreneur”  by Bill Double (2018)


One thought on “Would Brad’s Drink have hit the spot?”

  1. A couple other pages from Pepsi-Cola history noted in my book may interest your readers. European sugar beets provided over 40 percent of the world’s sugar prior to World War I. When the U.S. lifted wartime restrictions on sugar imports, the price of this commodity soared. Pepsi and other soft drink makers prudently stockpiled this vital ingredient to hedge against further increases. However, as beet producers returned to the market prices plummeted, leaving companies with huge debts and tons of devalued sugar. Two major firms, Pepsi and Moxie, were forced into bankruptcy.
    A 1933 marketing decision yielded a happier result. Hard-pressed to gain an edge in the battle with rival Coca-Cola, Pepsi doubled the size of its bottle to 12 ounces. Its new motto, “Twice as much for a nickel too,” was clearly aimed at Coke’s 6½-ounce bottle. Soda drinkers agreed this was a bargain. By 1939, 25 percent of all soft drinks were sold in 12-ounce bottles.
    Bill Double

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