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The Journey of Pepsi-Cola from Local Elixir to Global Icon


In the quaint town of New Bern, North Carolina, a local pharmacist named Caleb Bradham scripted the first chapter of what would evolve into the Pepsi-Cola phenomenon. Originally named “Brad’s Drink,” this concoction, blending sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, kola nuts, nutmeg, and assorted additives, laid the foundation for one of the world’s most beloved soft drinks.

May 1893 – Pepsi-Cola Emerges
As the popularity of Bradham’s creation soared, he decided to rebrand it, settling on the name “Pepsi-Cola.” The inaugural servings took place at his pharmacy on the intersection of Middle and Pollock streets in downtown New Bern.

August 1898 – Let’s Make It Official
By the summer of 1898, Bradham took a monumental step by trademarking the name Pepsi-Cola. This move paved the way for the widespread distribution of his soda syrup to pharmacies and vendors across North Carolina.

June 1903 – Growing To Greatness
Driven by escalating demand, Bradham expanded Pepsi-Cola’s reach by establishing its first bottling franchises in Charlotte and Durham.

January 1905 – A Place to Call Home
The surge in sales surpassed expectations, prompting the need for an official home. The Pepsi-Cola home office building opened its doors in New Bern, marking a pivotal moment in the brand’s history.

January 1908 – Expansion
With 240 franchises spanning 24 states, Pepsi-Cola Company held its first Bottler Convention in New Bern. This event solidified Pepsi’s roots in the Carolinas.

January 1910 – Radio Jingle
Pepsi achieved a milestone by creating the first radio advertising jingle, reaching audiences from coast to coast.

January 1939 – Modernized Script
Pepsi-Cola ventured into television advertising for the first time, unveiling a modernized version of its famous script.

January 1950 – Swirl Bottle
The iconic Pepsi “swirl” bottle made its debut, capturing the essence of the brand’s distinct identity.

January 1958 – #1 Cola Drink
Pepsi-Cola ascended to become the most popular cola drink in supermarkets, solidifying its position in the beverage market.

January 1977 – Coming Home
In a symbolic move, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi declared that the annual PepsiCo shareholders meeting would relocate to New Bern. “We are proud to be a North Carolina company and feel at home right here,” she expressed.

January 2012 – 
What commenced as an experimental elixir in a local pharmacy on Middle and Pollock streets has evolved into one of the world’s most cherished soft drinks.

January 2019 onwards – The Century of Pepsi
As Pepsi celebrates its rich history, the brand remains an integral part of the Carolinas’ community fabric. Committed to honoring its roots and giving back, Pepsi stands as a testament to the adage: “No matter how far we’ve been, or how far we’ve come, there’s no place like home.”

Credits: Pepsi. Born in the Carolinas

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