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. While attending school he worked part-time as a pharmacy apprentice at a local drug store.
Unfortunately a family crisis forced Bradham to drop his pursuit in medicine and return home to North Carolina. Upon returning, he taught school for a short period of time before opening a drug store on the corner of Middle and Pollock Streets in downtown New Bern. Bradham’s Drug Store would later become the very place Pepsi-Cola was invented. In 1893, “Brad’s Drink,” made from a mix of sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg, and other natural additives, became an overnight sensation. Despite its name and hearsay, pepsin was never an ingredient of Pepsi-Cola.
On August 28, 1898, Bradham renamed his drink “Pepsi-Cola.” He believed the drink was more than a refreshment but a “healthy” cola, aiding in digestion, getting its roots from the word dyspepsia, meaning indigestion.
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. The business began to grow, and on June 16, 1903, “Pepsi-Cola” became an official trademark. By 1904, the Pepsi-Cola Syrup sales reached almost 20,000 gallons. As demand for the drink continued to rise, Bradham decided it was time to offer Pepsi-Cola in bottles. By 1910 there were 240 franchises in 24 states and that year the Pepsi-Cola Company held their first Bottler Convention in New Bern.
Hard times fell on Bradham and the Pepsi-Cola franchise during WWI. This was due to the high price and severe rationing of sugar. This rationing prevented Pepsi-Cola from producing enough syrup to meet the demands of consumers. Though Bradham attempted multiple substitutes for sugar, like molasses, the outcome was always an inferior taste to the original. After the war 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 officially was bankrupt as of May 31,1923, and its assets were sold to Craven Holding Corporation for $30,000.
After years of ups and downs, PepsiCo is now back on top. In 2013, Pepsi was ranked #1 on CoreBrand’s list of Most Respected Companies.
The company was also ranked #41 on the Fortune 500 list, in 2012.
1898 – One of Caleb’s formulations, known as “Brad’s Drink,” a combination of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, rare oils and cola nuts, is renamed “Pepsi-Cola” on August 28, 1898. Pepsi-Cola receives its first logo.
1902 – The instant popularity of this new drink leads Bradham to devote all of his energy to developing Pepsi-Cola into a full-fledged business. He applies for a trademark with the U.S. Patent Office, Washington D.C., and forms the first Pepsi-Cola Company.
The first Pepsi-Cola newspaper advertisements appeared in the New Bern Weekly Journal.
1903 – “Doc” Bradham moves the bottling of Pepsi-Cola from his drugstore into a rented warehouse; he sells 7,968 gallons of syrup in the first year of operation.
Pepsi’s theme line is “Exhilarating, Invigorating, Aids Digestion.”
1904 – Bradham purchases a building in New Bern known as the “Bishop Factory” for $5,000 and moves all bottling and syrup operations to this location. Pepsi is sold in six-ounce bottles. Sales increase to 19,848 gallons.
1905 – Pepsi-Cola’s first bottling franchises are established in Charlotte and Durham, North Carolina.
Pepsi receives its new logo, its first change since 1898.
1906 – Pepsi gets another logo change, the third in eight years. The modified script logo is created with the slogan, “The Original Pure Food Drink.”
There are 15 U.S. Pepsi bottling plants. The Pepsi trademark is registered in Canada. Syrup sales rise to 38,605 gallons.
The federal government passes the Pure Food and Drug Act, banning substances such as arsenic, lead, barium, and uranium, from food and beverages. This forced many soft drink manufacturers, including Coca-Cola, to change their formulas. Pepsi-Cola, being free of any such impurities, claimed they already met federal requirements.
1907 – Pepsi-Cola Company continues to expand; the company’s bottling network grows to 40 franchises. Pepsi-Cola sells more than 100,000 gallons of syrup.
Pepsi trademark is registered in Mexico. Syrup sales rise to 104,026 gallons.
1908 – Pepsi-Cola becomes one of the first companies to modernize delivery from horse drawn carts to motor vehicles. Two hundred fifty bottlers in 24 states are under contract to make and sell Pepsi-Cola.
1909 – Automobile race pioneer Barney Oldfield endorses Pepsi-Cola in newspaper ads as “A bully drink…refreshing, invigorating, a fine bracer before a race.”
1910 – The first Pepsi-Cola bottlers’ convention is held in New Bern, North Carolina.
1920 – Pepsi theme line speak
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