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Did You Know Pepsi-Cola Was Once Named Brad’s Drink?

By Orgesta Tolaj


20 March 2024



The history of Pepsi-Cola is filled with interesting facts and surprising twists. From humble beginnings as a simple concoction created by a pharmacist, to becoming a global sensation, the journey of Pepsi-Cola is truly fascinating. But, did you know that the popular beverage we now know as Pepsi-Cola was once named Brad’s Drink? It’s hard to believe that one of the biggest soft drink brands in the world started off with such a different name. But it did, and this is how the change happened!

The History of Pepsi-Cola: When Was It Called Brad’s Drink?

In 1893, Caleb Bradham, a pharmacist from New Bern, North Carolina, started experimenting with soft drink recipes at his drugstore soda fountain. By 1898, he created “Brad’s Drink,” later renamed Pepsi-Cola, consisting of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, rare oils, and cola nuts. He trademarked it in 1902 and founded the first Pepsi-Cola Company. Advertising began in 1903, and operations moved to a rented warehouse. In 1904, Bradham purchased a building for operations, and sales increased. By 1905, Pepsi-Cola establishes its first bottling franchises in North Carolina.

© NIKHIL / Unsplash

In 1906, Pepsi introduced a new logo, marking its first change since 1898. This marks the third logo change in eight years, featuring a script logo along with the slogan “The Original Pure Food Drink.” By this time, Pepsi has 15 bottling plants in the United States, and its trademark is registered in Canada. Syrup sales increased to 38,605 gallons.

What Came Next for Pepsi-Cola?

Between 1907 and 1923, the Pepsi-Cola Company underwent significant growth and changes. By 1907, the company expanded its bottling network to 40 franchises and saw syrup sales surpassing 100,000 gallons, with trademark registrations extending to Mexico. In 1908, Pepsi-Cola embraced modernization, transitioning from horse-drawn carts to motor vehicles for delivery, and boasted 250 bottlers across 24 states. The following year, Pepsi garnered an endorsement from automobile race pioneer Barney Oldfield. In 1910, the first Pepsi-Cola bottlers’ convention was held in New Bern, North Carolina. By 1920, Pepsi’s advertising theme emphasized consumer satisfaction. However, by 1923, the company faced financial troubles, leading to bankruptcy and the sale of its assets to Craven Holding Corporation for $30,000.

Pepsi-Cola and the 90’s

Chris Sinclair becomes President of Pepsi-Cola International. In 1990, Pepsi introduced Wild Cherry Pepsi and collaborated with rap artist Young MC for national radio ads. Ray Charles endorses Diet Pepsi with the slogan “You Got The Right One Baby.” Craig E. Weatherup becomes CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America. The company starts the use of recycled PET in drink bottles. In 1992, Pepsi launched the “Gotta Have It” theme and formed a partnership with Lipton Tea. Crystal Pepsi, a clear, caffeine-free soda, is introduced nationally. Mountain Dew adopts the theme “Get Vertical.”

© Ja San Miguel / Unsplash

In 1993, Pepsi introduced the slogan “Be Young. Have Fun. Drink Pepsi.” Profits surpass $1 billion, and a new 24-can multipack, “The Cube,” is introduced. In 1994, Diet Pepsi’s freshness dating initiative was advertised, and Pepsi Foods International merged with Pepsi-Cola International. In 1995, Pepsi launched the campaign “Nothing Else is a Pepsi” and won national advertising honors. PepsiCo spun off its restaurant division to form Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc. in 1998, coinciding with Pepsi’s 100th anniversary celebration.

Do you think Pepsi-Cola would have been as famous as it is now if they kept the name Brad’s Drink?

You might also want to read: Why You Should Stop Mixing Alcohol With Cola?

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!