When our kids were little, we traveled to Atlanta, GA for our first big family trip. It was 10 years ago to be precise. So our experience of the World of Coke as we returned a decade later was a bit different the second time around—and it was fascinating! My dad and sister were avid Coke product collectors, and after revamping our backyard with the Coke merchandise over the years, my kids were interested in learning more about this century old brand.
Buying and Selling the Business
John Pemberton invented the original Coca-Cola formula in 1886 to help with headaches and offer a tonic to cure what ails you. The drink quickly became a local favorite. Unfortunately, Pemberton was pretty sick at the time and going bankrupt, so he sold his company for a meager $2300 to Asa Chandler in 1891.
Chandler was a marketing genius, and in ten short years this unique drink was being sold at soda fountains across the country. His one oversight was his lack of vision for bottling the drink. On our way to Atlanta we stopped in Vicksburg, MS to tour the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum where the soda was first bottled.
Biedenharn noticed that serving Coca-Cola at a soda fountain was restricting for consumption because people had to stay in the soda shop to enjoy their beverage. If more people could have access to the drink outside of his shop, the popularity of the drink would grow. He sent a case of his bottled product to Mr. Chandler, but he was unimpressed. Chandler didn't think there was a future in it. Two lawyers from Chattanooga, TN caught the vision however and purchased up the bottling rights for the rest of the United States (except for Vicksburg) for the incredible sum of one dollar.
Even though Mr. Chandler missed a golden opportunity with the bottling rights, he still did pretty well with his investment and sold the company in 1919 for $25 million dollars to a group of investors led by Earnest Woodruff. Not too shabby.
Sparking an Interest in Business
After our tour of the Vault where the secret recipe for Coca-Cola resides at the World of Coke, we were intrigued to learn more. My cousin recommended a podcast series Coke vs Pepsi by Business Wars.
I wish that I would have taken at least one business course in college, but podcasts like these about a topic of interest are a great way to spark an interest in business. These skills are necessary for any pursuit whether it be starting a brick and mortar storefront or running a home. Business know-how can benefit every walk of life.
Visiting World of Coke
Regardless of if you are interested in business or not, World of Coke in Atlanta, GA is a family friendly destination that has something for everyone. We particularly loved the Milestones of Refreshment exhibit that walks you through the iconic Coke paraphernalia over the years.
The other highlight of the tour is the tasting room. Since building the business stateside, they launched internationally. As you walk through the tasting room, you can taste the flavors of sodas around the world. It is incredible that some of those flavors can be successful because they were not my favorites. It was nice to find the old familiar flavors at the end of the tasting room!
If you're passing through Atlanta, you should stop by the World of Coke. It's an excellent opportunity for a introduction to business for the whole family.