In 1886, when John Pemberton first sold his refreshing new beverage in Jacob’s Pharmacy at the corner of Peachtree and Marietta Streets, few could have guessed what a world-wide phenomenon it would become. Local businessman Asa Candler bought the rights to Coca-Cola from Pemberton in 1888 and, using innovative advertising and distribution methods, the company grew quickly. In 1916, Coca-Cola introduced its distinctive hobble-skirt contoured bottle, creating a consistent package that set the drink apart from its competitors.
After becoming president in 1923, Robert Woodruff’s leadership helped make Coca-Cola one of the most recognized brands in the world. Bottling plants were operating in forty-four countries by the late 1930s. During World War II, the company set up dozens of “war” plants overseas to bottle and distribute Coca-Cola to American servicemen at a guaranteed price of five cents per drink. As a result, the familiar beverage became a symbol of homefront support for American troops.
"Coke IS Atlanta. It is an iconic symbol of the city."
—David Burdette, Community submission to Atlanta in 50 Objects
The success of Coca-Cola helped bring international recognition to Atlanta. And the city has benefited immeasurably from the generosity of both Candler and Woodruff.