Little did the pharmacist know 100 years ago that his elixir for aiding digestion would become the choice of generations. In the late 1890's at a drug store fountain in New Bern, NC, Caleb Bradham began offering his new beverage. It consisted of one ounce syrup and five ounces of soda water mixed with a spoon.
It was dubbed "Brad's Drink" but in 1898 Bradham changed the name to Pepsi-Cola. In 1902, he launched the Pepsi-Cola Co. from the back room of his pharmacy. He was awarded the Pepsi-Cola trademark in 1903.
In the beginning Bradham mixed, packaged, and sold his syrup. In 1905 he started bottling his drink. The first two fanchises he awarded were in Charlotte and Durham, NC. By 1910 the business had expanded to 24 states and 280 bottlers.
Shortly after World War I, Bradham fell victim to volatie sugar prices. He stockpiled sugar at 22 and a half cents a pound, and then watched it plummet to 3 and a half cents a pound. The loss, combined with poor marketing, forced him into bankruptcy. He sold the trademark and business in 1923 for $35,000.
The Company changed hands four times by 1928 and went bankrupt again in 1931. In the late 1950's, the company stopped advertising Pepsi as a bargain brand and began focusing its advertising on young people. Over time advertising has past from the Pepsi Generation to the New Generation and now to GeneratioNext.
In 1965 the company changed it's name to Pepsico and expanded into other beverages, such as Mountain Dew and Diet Pepsi. In the past 30 years, Pepsico has also developed Slice, Diet Mt. Dew and Mug Root Beer, as well as snack foods like Doritos and Lay's. The company's venture into the resturant business with Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC ended in 1997 when they were spun off.
Still interested? There's lots more Pepsi history available!