Coca-Cola was originally meant to be a medicine invented by John Stith Pemberton. He was bought out by Asa Griggs Candler who used his marketing magic to get Coca-Cola to become the leading soft-drink in the 20th century.
Candler’s marketing ability would have been slightly aided by the addictive properties of cocaine which, at the time, was one of the key ingredients. This formula persisted until 1929. Drugstore soda fountains were common at this stage due to the belief that they were good for your health. This meant that until about 1914 people were going to their local pharmacy to chug a glass of cocaine-infused Coca-Cola when feeling a bit down or looking for a healthy kick… a little bit like the wheat-grass shots we see today except made from cocaine and caffeine.
In 1888 Candler had a stronger hold on Coca-Cola but was still forced to sell under the name ‘Yum Yum’ or ‘Koke’ because Pemberton’s son had the rights over the name ‘Coca-Cola’. Later that year Charley Pemberton died which allowed Candler to become the sole owner of the ‘Coca-Cola’ brand. There has been some further dispute regarding the ownership of Coca-Cola.
Coca leaves and kola nuts (where the caffeine comes from) is how the Coca-Cola name was derived. The formula somehow remains a trade secret to this day which is a phenomenal achievement considering the price tag that could come with discovering that secret.
Coca-Cola still produces the concentrate which is then bottled separately by the different plants.
There is not a single country in the world where you can’t find a Coca-Cola, even in Cuba and North Korea where it is banned but sold in secret.