The Pepsi Challenge – Coca-Cola Vs PEPSI. The Cola wars are back. Find out who wins to finally put an end to this madness once and for all. The Pepsi challenge originally took the form of a taste test. At malls, shopping centers and other public locations, a Pepsi representative sets up a table with two blank cups: one containing Pepsi and one with Coca-Cola. Shoppers are encouraged to taste both colas, and then select which drink they prefer. Then the representative reveals the two bottles so the taster can see whether they preferred Coke or Pepsi. The results of the test leaned toward a consensus that Pepsi was preferred by more Americans.
The drink Pepsi was first introduced as “Brad’s Drink” in New Bern, North Carolina, United States, in 1893 by Caleb Bradham, who made it at his drugstore where the drink was sold. It was renamed Pepsi Cola in 1898, named after the digestive enzyme pepsin and kola nuts used in the recipe. The original recipe also included sugar and vanilla. Bradham sought to create a fountain drink that was appealing and would aid in digestion and boost energy.
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 1909, automobile race pioneer Barney Oldfield was the first celebrity to endorse Pepsi-Cola, describing it as “A bully drink…refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer before a race.” The advertising theme “Delicious and Healthful” was then used over the next two decades. In 1926, Pepsi received its first logo redesign since the original design of 1905. In 1929, the logo was changed again.
In 1931, at the depth of the Great Depression, the Pepsi-Cola Company entered bankruptcy—in large part due to financial losses incurred by speculating on the wildly fluctuating sugar prices as a result of World War I. Assets were sold and Roy C. Megargel bought the Pepsi trademark. Megargel was unsuccessful, and soon Pepsi’s assets were purchased by Charles Guth, the President of Loft, Inc. Loft was a candy manufacturer with retail stores that contained soda fountains. He sought to replace Coca-Cola at his stores’ fountains after Coke refused to give him a discount on syrup. Guth then had Loft’s chemists reformulate the Pepsi-Cola syrup formula.
On three separate occasions between 1922 and 1933, The Coca-Cola Company was offered the opportunity to purchase the Pepsi-Cola company, and it declined on each occasion.
Rivalry with Coca-Cola
According to Consumer Reports, in the 1970s, the rivalry continued to heat up the market. Pepsi conducted blind taste tests in stores, in what was called the “Pepsi Challenge”. These tests suggested that more consumers preferred the taste of Pepsi (which is believed to have more lemon oil, and less orange oil, and uses vanillin rather than vanilla) to Coke. The sales of Pepsi started to climb, and Pepsi kicked off the “Challenge” across the nation. This became known as the “Cola Wars”.
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Caleb Davis Bradham (May 27, 1867 – February 19, 1934) was an American pharmacist, best known as the inventor of Pepsi.