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Invented by John S, Pemberton, a Georgia-born pharmacist who settled in Atlanta in 1869 and in 1886, produced a syrup he called Coca-Cola. Mixed with water, he claimed it made a useful remedy for headaches and hangovers.
Another pharmacist, Asa G. Candler, bought ownership of the drink in about 1891. Candler was a chronic dyspeptic and suffered bad headaches, but didn"t see Coca-Cola as a therapeutic drink. Candler began promoting the drink for its refreshing qualities, as a competitor to soda water, which at the time was "America"s drink" with more soda fountains per capita than bars.
Although Pemberton had included extract of cola nuts and caffeine in his original mixture; and the Coca-Cola letterhead of 1900 mentioned " the tonic properties of the wonderful Coca plant and the famous Cola nut"; the company now says whatever trace elements of coca it contains " a non-narcotic extract from de-cocained coca leaves".
If there is practically no coca, there is even less cola, perhaps because the nut has a very bitter taste. In fact the amount is so small (perhaps 1/100th of one per cent), that it doesn"t show up in any laboratory analysis we"ve seen published.
The company was taken to court in 1909 on this issue o misbranding, and argued that there were no grapes or nuts in Grape-Nuts and no butter in butternuts. Coca-Cola lost the case, the judge Charles Hughes, said that unless he found against the company a product could be launched called "Chocolate-Vanilla", which contained neither chocolate nor vanilla. Since the case, Coca-Cola has had to put at least trace amounts of coca and cola in its product to maintain its trademark See'Caffeine'; 'Coca nut'; 'Cola; Pan'