Flickr: Benjamin Thompson

10 Coca-Cola Facts They Don't Tell You on the Back of the Label

Around the world, Coca-Cola's iconic brand is recognized as American. You'd be hard pressed to find a person that hasn't heard of, or tried, a bottle of Coke. Fizzy, sweet, and a jolt of caffeine, the soft drink is the embodiment of the United States.

Since its creation, the Coca-Cola Company has made a big name for itself. Constantly at the cusp of innovation, their marketing has set them apart from all the rest. Despite its popularity, however, Coca-Cola has a long history that many people don't know about. For all the Coke lovers out there, here are ten fun facts to cheers your refreshing, carbonated soda to.

1. It's native to Georgia.

Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by John S. Pemberton. While the original recipe remains a much guarded secret, John Pemberton is the man to thank for introducing one of the biggest soft drinks in the world.

When visiting Atlanta, Georgia, you can learn all about Coke and its creation at the World of Coca-Cola.

2. Its brand name is recognized on a global scale.

The red and white Coca-Cola logo is recognized by 94 percent of the world's population. Now that's marketing power.

3. Except in North Korea and Cuba. . .

Due to trade embargoes, North Korea and Cuba are the only countries in the world where you cannot purchase or sell Coke products. That is, of course, unless you smuggle it in.

4. It was first at the Olympics.

Well, kind of. It didn't win a gold medal or anything, but in 1928, it became the first Olympic sponsor.

5. White Coke was invented for a Russian general.

During World War II, Coke wanted to make sure soldiers on the front lines could get a taste of home. By establishing bottling plants near Europe and the Pacific, soldiers wouldn't have to go without a refreshing coke.

Non-Americans, however, could not be seen drinking the soda. Coke had become synonymous with America.

This was a problem for Red Army general Georgy Zhukov. After receiving a bottle of Coca-Cola from General Eisenhower, he loved it so much he asked Coca-Cola to make a clear version so he could disguise drinking the American product.

6. They have a long history of beloved commercials.

Coke has shaped our vision of Santa Claus. It made polar bears a Christmas symbol. It has a long history of commercials that we identify with.

We love them so much, we wait for the latest one each year during Super Bowl.

The most famous one, however, is quite possibly the 1971 Hilltop "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" commercial.

Inspired by a plane delay that resulted in irritated passengers soothing their nerves by laughing over bottles of Coke, the result was the above commercial.

7. Cola is named after Kola.

The kola nut originated in Africa, and it is loaded with caffeine.

Supposedly used in the guarded secret formula, the kola nut was the original caffeine source and inspiration for the word Cola.

8. Coke originally contained cocaine.

More than a name, the original recipe, derived from coca leaves, did in fact contain the narcotic cocaine. At the time of the invention of Coke, cocaine was legal. It wasn't until 1903 that founder Asa Griggs Candler and marketer Frank Robinson had to completely ditch the coca leaf from the original recipe.

Apparently Americans weren't the only ones using cocaine either. According to Atlas Obscura, in 2016, 815 pounds of cocaine was discovered at a Coca-Cola factory in Marseilles. Looks like the French were also fans of the coked up version.

9. Coke was medicinal.

Maybe it was the cocaine, maybe it was the sugar, whatever it was Coke wasn't just a soda when it was invented - it was medicine.

It was originally marketed as a nerve tonic. Whatever soothed the nerves, Freud certainly approved. He drank Coke for his depression.

10. You can't share a Coke with all your friends.

When Coke replaced its brand name with personalized names in the 'Share a Coke' campaign you could pick up a bottle with your friend's name and give it as a gift. Or for five bucks, you could put any name you want on a Coke bottle - as long as it was tasteful. Coke, however, doesn't find everyone's name in good taste.

According to Atlas Obscura, 24 sovereign states are left out of Coke's shareable list. Want to share a Coke with your friends in Belize? Sorry guys. How about Denmark? That's a no go. What about the former American president? Nope. But you can share one with his wife. Maybe Coke never went to preschool.

This post was originally published on March 2, 2018. 

Coca-Cola Essentials

1. Coca-Cola Can Green Glass - Set of 4 11oz

2. Coca-Cola Genuine Stainless Steel Tumbler

3. Coca-Cola Float & Slushy Maker

Watch: 6 Reasons Why Coca-Cola Tastes Better at McDonald's