How the disastrous introduction of New Coke turned the tide in the Cola Wars

The great Cola Wars of the 1980s were a battle between Coca-Cola and PepsiCo for dominance. The disastrous introduction of “New Coke” in 1985 appeared to set Coca-Cola back. Yet by the end of the year, it was clear the “mistake” had actually helped Coca-Cola’s sales, allowing Coke to retain its spot as the largest-selling soda over Pepsi.

The two companies were both well-established by the time the Cola Wars broke out. Coca-Cola dated back to 1886 when a pharmacist in Columbus, Georgia invented the drink and began selling it to soda fountains. Six years later, the Coca-Cola Company was founded by an Atlanta pharmacist who’d secured the recipe (which contained small amounts of cocaine until 1929). Up in North Carolina, another pharmacist invented his own sugar drink in 1893. After seeing the success of Coca-Cola, he changed his soda’s name from “Brad’s Drink” to “Pepsi-Cola” in 1898 and founded the Pepsi-Cola Company in 1902… read more >

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