Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Caleb Bradham and Pepsi-Cola

Caleb Davis Bradham was born in Chinquapin, North Carolina, on May 27, 1867. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Bradham attended the University of Maryland School of Medicine in hopes of becoming a doctor. He dropped out of medical school because his father‘s business was going bankrupt.

After returning to North Carolina, Bradham taught public school for about a year, and later opened a drug store on the corner of Middle and Pollock Streets in downtown New Bern. He named the store ―Bradham Drug Company‖ and, like many other drug stores of the time, housed a soda fountain.

Caleb Bradham knew that to keep people returning to his pharmacy, he would have to turn it into a gathering place. He did so by concocting his own special beverage, a soft drink.

In 1893, “Brad’s Drink,” made from a mix of sugar, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg, and other natural additives, be overnight sensation. On August 28, 1898 , "Brad's drink" was changed to "Pepsi-Cola" and later trademarked on June 16, 1903. Caleb Bradham bought the name "Pep Kola" from a local competitor and changed it to Pepsi-Cola.

At first, he mixed the syrup himself and sold it exclusively through soda fountains. But soon Caleb recognized that a greater opportunity existed to bottle Pepsi so that people could drink it anywhere.

In 1903, Bradham moved the bottling of Pepsi-Cola from his drugstore to a rented warehouse. That year, Bradham sold 7,968 gallons of syrup. The next year, Pepsi was sold in six-ounce bottles, and sales increased to 19,848 gallons.

In late 1902, the Pepsi-Cola Company was formed due to the rising popularity and demand for the Pepsi-Cola Syrup with none other than Caleb Bradham as the first president.

After the WWI ended sugar prices soared from 3 cents to 28 cents per pound. Bradham purchased a large quantity of the high-priced sugar, which would be a factor to the company's downfall. Pepsi Cola went bankrupt in 1923. In 1931, the Loft Candy Company Loft president, Charles G. Guth who reformulated the popular soft drink, bought Pepsi Cola.
Caleb Bradham and Pepsi-Cola

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