Coca-Cola is a carbonated, caffeinated soft drink produced by the Coca-Cola Company. It was invented in the nineteenth century by John Stith Pemberton but the rights to it were later purchased by Asa Griggs Candler, who incorporated the Coca-Cola Company in 1888.
Pemberton originally intended it as a medicine rather than a regular drink. It was called Coca-Cola because it originally contained cocaine, although that substance was soon removed from the recipe. The American version of Coca-Cola is made out of carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, cola, phosphoric acid and caffeine, as opposed to the Mexican version, which is sweetened with real cane sugar, unlike the version sold in the United States. The Coca-Cola bottle was designed early in the twentieth century by designer Earl R. Dean.
Later on a rival soft drink company called Pepsi-Cola sprang up; Pepsi was invented in the 1890s and trademarked in 1903. The Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi economic wars became famous.
During the Cold War the Soviet Communists chose Pepsi as their national soft drink franchise whereas the Chinese Communists chose Coca-Cola. Pepsi has done a better job than Coca-Cola in the non-soft drink and non-caffeinated market, but Coca-Cola does have a presence there. Coca-Cola owns Powerade, which is its equivalent of Pepsi's Gatorade.
Today Cuba and North Korea are the only countries, where Coca-Cola does not exist. In Cuba, Coca-Cola is only sold to foreigners in the hotels and is forbidden for consumption by the average Cuban. In Cuba, where American distribution of the product is banned due to that country's embargo on Cuba, it is imported by way of Panama and Mexico, but Communist party members like Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, despite being against capitalism, have pictures of them consuming this beverage that the average Cuban could not consume because it was claimed by the Communist leadership to be an "imperialist" beverage.
In 2021, Coca-Cola received widespread criticism from conservatives for telling people to "be less white" and for opposing the George voter ID law, with many boycotting the company's products in response.