To understand how successful Rock Hill Coca-Cola Bottling Company has become, we must start at the beginning of this phenomenal beverage’s history. Coca-Cola began in Atlanta, Georgia in 1886. John Stith Pemberton, a young pharmacist and chemist, invented Coca-Cola. Pemberton fought for the Confederacy and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the 3rd Georgia Calvary regiment. During this service he received multiple injuries that led to his use of morphine to relieve the pain. He became addicted to morphine and began a diligent search for a medicine that would give him pain relief and cure his addiction.
Pemberton spent long hours in his basement conducting experiments that would produce herbal remedies and patent medicines that he could sell in his upstairs pharmacy. Prohibition laws were being passed, and “Doc” Pemberton wanted to create a “temperance drink.” He continued conducting taste tests, mixing ingredients, adding sugar, spices and fruit oils to the coca leaf and kola nut.
Pemberton had already produced a product that combined the coca extract (cocaine) and the cola nut that he called “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca,” but he wanted a drink that would pass the temperance scrutiny. His taste test of the latest mixture confirmed success! Excitedly, he poured the caramel colored sweet syrup into a bottle and served it at the soda fountain to his friends at Jacob’s Pharmacy. The sample was pronounced excellent and sold for five cents a glass as a soda fountain drink. Carbonated water was teamed with the new syrup to produce a drink that was at once delicious and refreshing, a theme that continues to echo today wherever Coca-Cola is enjoyed.