Sunday, March 2, 2014

World of Coca Cola

After attending a wedding in Birmingham, Alabama we planned to go visit the “capital of the South” - Atlanta, Georgia.  It’s about a 2 ½ hour drive from Birmingham and pretty much a straight shot across one freeway.  We planned to stay for 3 days in “Hotlanta” but we could only do sightseeing for two of those days.  You see when we were there, Atlanta was anything but “Hotlanta”.  In fact, it was “Damn Cold Lanta”.  We spent our third day there cooped up in a hotel room due to the heavy snow and an ice storm.  The whole city shut down for the storm and there was nowhere to go and nothing to do.
 
But I digress…
When we first arrived in Atlanta we visited the World of Coca Cola.
 

Atlanta is the headquarters for Coca Cola and of course they have a Coke Museum.  We visited the museum and enjoyed the mostly self-guided tour very much.  It’s a pretty neat place that’s fun and informational about everything related to Coke (not the illegal white powder, I mean the soft drink).
 
Dr. John Pemberton invented Coke in 1886.  In 1891, Asa Candler bought this Company for $2,300.  In 1919, he sold Coca Cola for $25 million.  Today, Coca Cola is worth $164 billion.
 
                                                              Dr. John Pemberton
 
The Coca Cola Company keeps their secret recipe for Coke in a heavily guarded vault at this location.  This is the magical recipe that combines the Coca Cola syrup with carbonated water and makes this delicious soft drink (which of course is bad for your health but so addicting because it tastes so good).
 
                                                                   Vault Entrance
 
                                                                Actual Vault
 
Sidenote. 
A few years ago, a disgruntled secretary in the Coca Cola Company stole a copy of the secret recipe and offered to sell it to a senior executive at a rival company (Pepsi).  You know what the senior executive did?  He called the police and also informed the Coca Cola Chairman.  That is what I call honesty and integrity in business.
 
So at this museum, they have a fully functional but miniature bottling plant.  It produces 8 oz. glass bottles of Coca-Cola.  We were able to witness a behind the scenes view of the actual bottling process. At the end of the tour, every visitor gets a complimentary 8 oz. bottle of Coke.
 
 
 


 
Of course, the highlight of the tour is the immensely popular tasting room.  It was pure fun and we couldn’t get enough. They have 5 stations to taste local soft drinks manufactured by Coca-Cola around the world.  Each station represents a different continent and each “continent tasting station” has countries listed and the Coca Cola products offered in that country.
 
 

You can sample any country’s drink that is made by Coca Cola.  Add to that, you can drink as much as you want without any time limits or quantity limits!
 
For example, the Asia tasting station had soft drinks made by Coca Cola representing Japan (2), Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, India, and Thailand.  Altogether, the tasting area must have had over 100 different soft drinks to taste from…from around the world. If you drink a full cup from each country, you cannot taste more than 10 samples.  So we just took a few sips from each country and we tasted more than 50 drinks from around the world. 
 
Now which country’s Coca Cola product tastes the best? The best in my opinion is “Bibo” made in South Africa.  It is a combination of kiwi and mango. It’s the best in my humble opinion and the people that I was with also liked it very much.
 
 
The guaranteed worst is “Beverly” made in Italy.  This is not just my opinion but everyone’s opinion. It’s clearly the worst drink in the tasting room and 100 out of 100 people will agree on that.  If you are ever in Italy, don’t buy this drink (even though they don’t make it anymore).  I would rather drink animal vomit than drink “Beverly” again.  YUCK! (no, I won’t REALLY drink animal vomit but you get my point).
 
 
Was there a Coca Cola drink representing India in the tasting station room?  Of course!
We tasted Thums Up…in Atlanta of all places!  The reviews for Thums Up were actually pretty good from the fellow drinkers standing around me.  Even I enjoyed it when compared to the other drinks from around the world.

 
Towards the end of the tour, I was talking to the Floor Supervisor in the Tasting Room.  I told him that I didn’t know that Thums Up was manufactured by Coca Cola.  He said that Coke bought Thums Up in order to become Number One in India.  He said that Coke was originally Number Three in India behind Pepsi and Thums Up.  He also said, “We want to be Number One in every country in the world.”  I was amazed at his knowledge of the company’s products and also impressed with his company loyalty.
 
Thums Up to him!
(or should I say Thumbs Up?  Never understood why the b was omitted in the name of the drink)

29 comments:

  1. I did not know that Thums Up was bought by Coca Cola. Born in the 90s, I always thought it was a Coca Cola brand.

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  2. Thanks for your comments Karunesh. I did not know this is owned by Coca Cola until I visited their Museum’s tasting room. Thums up was originally owned by Parle Brothers and they sold this to Coca Cola in 1993 for $60 million.

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  3. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. I wish we have the same type of honesty and ethics in India..

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  4. Thanks for your comments Renu. I am so happy you liked this post.

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  5. Hey...nice and informative post SG.. I liked the pictures...I so wanna taste it all..

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  6. Thanks for your comments Aakanksha. Wish you were with us in the tasting room. Please let us know when you plan to visit here. Will make all the arrangements.

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  7. Thumps up was owned by Parle.When Coke bought over Parle bottling in Bombay,the deal included buy of Thumps Up too

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  8. Had a few minutes' envigourating journey after sipping the coco cola you offered.Nice pictures also.

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  9. Thanks for your comments Mr. Chowla. You are absolutely correct.

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  10. Thanks for your comments Anon. I am glad you liked this post.

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  11. Wow!! That's an awesome account of your trip to the Coca Cola Museum. Loved every bit of it. The honesty of the Pepsi guy is commendable!

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  12. Thanks for your comments Shilpa. I am glad you liked this post.

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  13. When I used to visit Andhra Pradesh (before many years), I used to see many people drinking Thumbs Up. It was too strong for my taste. I don't think it was that popular in TN. At least I was not a fan of that drink.

    Do you remember Gold Spot? I used to like that drink a lot. I visited the factory when I was in school. These days I drink fresh juices, mostly. But in May I drink anything that is cold :)

    Destination Infinity

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  14. Thanks for your comments Rajesh. In Thums Up, there is no "p" or "b". I don't know why.

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  15. I don't like aerated drinks, but the fact that Coca cola's secret recipe still remains a secret is a marvel :) Would like to taste the worldwide variety though, sounds like real fun museum visit :)

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  16. Thanks for your comments Reshma. The tasting room is real fun. You should visit there one of these days.

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  17. Information packed post! Thanks SG for supporting the write up with lovely photos. I virtually toured the Coco cola co through your post.

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  18. Looks like you had lotsa fun! wow! I once visited their factory in Chennai..and subsequently have drawn a plant design for them under one of my study paper- production mgt. It was fun. I wish I had gone to production/manufacturing sector.

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  19. Thanks for your comments Asha. I am glad you enjoyed reading this post.

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  20. Thanks for your comments Ekta. Yes, we had lots of fun. I did not know there is a coca cola factory in Chennai. I am sure you will excel in whatever field you choose.

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  21. Thanks of the virtual tour of the museum SG. It was very interesting to know. I will definitely try to visit this if I ever visit Atlanta. Tasting so many drinks from so many countries must be fun. That pepsi executive is so honest! Can't believe such men exist.

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  22. Thanks for your comments Ash. Please visit this museum. You will enjoy.

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  23. I wish I got to attend the tasting sessions. It would definitely be nice to try something different. And the Chairman of Pepsi actually did that? Wow. No wonder the earth still goes around!

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  24. Thanks for your comments Ashwini. You will enjoy the tasting session. No, it was not the Chairman of the Pepsi. It was a Vice President in Pepsi

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  25. Does Bibo have real Kiwi and mango? I thought all the drinks are chemically flavoured!

    It is good to know that integrity is still prevalent somewhere in the world!

    Loved the tour of the factory! Thank you!

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  26. Thanks for your comments Sandhya. I do not know. That is what the information says - that this drink is made from kiwi and mango.

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  27. Glad that you had a great trip. The Coca Cola factory visit was interesting. Even I had read somewhere about the story of secrets of Coca Cola making being sold t Pepsi and how it never could happen.
    I still prefer Coke to Pepsi, and only like to drink it from their glass bottles, not through the plastic ones.
    The pictures are lovely.

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  28. Like the post very much and reminds me of a similar experience in a tea museum I visited in Ooty..they showed us all the procedures and at the end all the visitors were served with tea of various flavours..

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  29. Do you love Coca-Cola or Pepsi?
    ANSWER THE POLL and you could get a prepaid VISA gift card!

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