John Pemberton launches Pemberton’s French Wine Coca—the precursor to Coca-Cola.
The French Wine Coca is a knockoff of the famous Vin Mariani.
Red and color in logo are set in stone.
Pemberton innovates with coupons, driving up sales.
Coke’s first celebrity endorser, Hilda Clark, begins to appear in ads.
Asa Candler purchases the full Coca-Cola formula and branding rights after Pemberton's son Charley initially maintains some control.
Candler claims his altered formula only contains one tenth the amount of coca leaves or cocaine previously used.
The first Coca-Cola bottling occurs at the Biedenharn Candy Company—owned by Joseph Biedenharn in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Coca-Cola expands from soda fountains into bottled distribution across the southeastern United States.
Coca-Cola is introduced to Cuba.
The Cuba Libre is invented.
Cocaine infused cola competitor Koca Nola is launched.
The Pure Food and Drug Act is passed by congress.
The regulators set their sights on Coca-Cola’s cocaine formulation.
The tiny Root Glass Company wins the competition.
The iconic contour Coca-Cola bottle is launched.
Ernest Woodruff purchases the company for $25 million. His Trust Company of Georgia helps Coca-Cola go public in 1919, selling 500,000 shares at $40 each.
Under Woodruff's leadership, Coca-Cola begins its longtime practice of paying out dividends to shareholders.
Coca-Cola becomes an even more popular during prohibition.
In the heat of the Mexican Revolution—Coca-Cola is introduced in Mexico.
The iconic Coca-Cola Polar Bear characters are created for winter ad campaigns.
The “Thirst Knows No Season” ad campaign debuts.
Robert Woodruff becomes President of Coca-Cola at age 33.
Trying to reach new audiences, the radio show “The Coca-Cola Hour” debuts.
Coca-Cola's famous ad campaign and slogan “The Pause that Refreshes” goes live.
Coca-Cola installs its first vending machine.
Robert Woodruff oversees major national advertising campaigns and sports sponsorships—including sponsoring the 1936 Berlin Olympic games and commissioning artist Haddon Sundblom's marketing depictions of Santa Claus drinking Coke.
Fanta debuts in Nazi Germany.
Coca-Cola officially trademarks its "Coke" nickname in advertising.
Sprite Boy character is launched for its holiday ads.
Sales of Coca-Cola overseas to WWII troops helps publicize it as a global symbol of American patriotism.
Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov requests a discrete “white coke” to enjoy at his discretion.
Coca-Cola's advertising budgets and distribution reach lead it to attain 60% market share of the US soft drink market.
The king size Coke bottle debuts.
The ad campaign “Sign of Good Taste” debuts.
Due to persistent inflation the 5 cent Coca-Cola bottle is discontinued.
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev is offered Coca-Cola for the first time in his visit to the U.S.
The first Coca-Cola 600 debuts.
Sprite is launched to compete against 7UP.
Andy Warhol begins to create Coca-Cola pop art
The diet soda TaB is launched.
“Things Go Better with Coke” debuts.
“It’s the Real Thing” slogan is launched.
Trying to compete with Dr. Pepper, Coke launches Mr. Pibb.
With the economy looking glum, Coca-Cola launched its ad “Look Up America.”
Coca-Cola opens in the Soviet Union.
Wanting to compete with the popular Mountain Dew–Coca-Cola debut Mello Yello.
The famous slogan, “Have a Coke and Smile” campaign is launched.
Roberto Goizueta becomes CEO and leads a shift towards diversified products and entertainment assets.
Coca-Cola switches completely to corn syrup in its American markets.
The company shakes it up with its new slogan “Coke is it!”.
Coca-Cola purchases Columbia Pictures for $692 million in an effort to expand into the entertainment industry.
Diet Coke is launched to cater to the health conscious community.
Diet Coke’s first slogan “Just for the Taste of It” debuts.
Cherry Coke is launched.
The famous slogan “Enjoy Coca-Cola” debuts.
The Cola Wars heat up between Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
The company attempts one of its most infamous missteps—launching New Coke to replace the original Coca-Cola. But the new formula proves deeply unpopular with the soft-drinking public.
After 79 days and over 40,000 angry calls, letters, boycotts and protests, Coca-Cola reintroduces "Coca-Cola Classic."
With New Coke fading, Coca-Cola returns to traditional advertising themes like holiday-themed campaigns featuring Santa Claus to reconnect with consumers.
Coca-Cola is sent into space with the Space Shuttle Challenger.
The slogan and ad campaign “You Can’t Beat the Feeling” debuts.
Warren Buffet invests $1.3 billion in to Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola’s museum, the World of Coca-Cola debuts in Atlanta, Georgia.
Coca-Cola art collaborator Keith Haring passes away.
Coca-Cola merges some of its key bottling partners to form a new consolidated anchor bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises, which helps centralize operations.
Limited edition playing cards are released to the public.
The ad campaign “Always Coca-Cola” debuts.
Coca-Cola re-enters the Indian market by acquiring leading local brand Thums Up.
Thums Up outsells Coca-Cola's trademark drinks which struggle to compete with strong domestic brands.
The trendy Diet Coke Break commercial debuts on TV.
The iconic red trucks are shown on TVs for the first time with the Christmas ad campaign “Holidays are Coming!
Grunge themed beverage, OK Soda, is discontinued.
Coca-Cola buys a majority stake in Barq’s Root Beer.
Coca-Cola begins major expansion into China following years of tight governmental controls over foreign businesses. By the next decade China becomes one of Coca-Cola's top markets.
Coca-Cola is accused with a lawsuit of inadvertently funding Colombian death squads in Colombia.
The trial Sinaltrainal vs Coca-Cola begins in Miami.
Minute Maid launches Simply Beverages.
Vanilla Coke is launched.
Coca-Cola acquires Seagram’s non-alcoholic line of products.
Fruitopia is discontinued in the U.S. markets.
After nearly 40 years of US-imposed embargo, Coca-Cola returns to Iraq in June 2005 following increasing stabilization. However plants face continued risks of instability over the next decade.
Coca-Cola Zero is launched.
Sprite Remix is discontinued.
The marketing campaign, “Coke Side of Life”, debuts.
Iced tea brand Gold Peak Tea debuts.
Coca-Cola acquires trendy Fuze Beverage company known for teas, juices and fitness drinks like Fuze and NOS. The move continues Coke's attempted diversification.
Coffee infused Coca-Cola Blāk is discontinued.
Coca-Cola takes a minority stake in Honest Tea.
Dean Kamen invents the Coca-Cola Freestyle soda machine.
The critically acclaimed “Share a Coke” ad campaign is launched worldwide.
Vault Soda is discontinued.
Coca-Cola re-enters Myanmar.
In the summer London Olympics—Coca-Cola unveils its music marvel—the Beatbox.
Coca-Cola launches its “Hug Me” ad campaign.
Michael Bloomberg attempts to ban large sodas.
Coca-Cola is accused of greenwashing with its “World without Waste” campaign.
Coca-Cola acquires Mexican mineral water brand, Topo Chico.
Ginseng infused Coca-Cola Plus debuts in Japan.
Coca-Cola acquires the British coffeehouse chain Costa Coffee for $4.9 billion. This gives the company a major foothold in the global coffee industry to diversify beyond traditional sodas.
In his meeting with President Trump—the Korean dictator Kim-Jung-Un—reportedly orders a Coke.
The vintage soda brand, Moxie Soda, is acquired.
After initially purchasing 40% in 2016, Coca-Cola acquires full ownership of Chi Limited, Nigeria's leading value-added dairy and juice company. This supports Coke's expansion in the African continent.
Coca-Cola acquires Kist Soda.
Sparkling water brand AHA Sparkling Water debuts.
As the COVID-19 pandemic batters beverage sales, Coca-Cola announces it will cut over 200 smaller brands - over half its portfolio - to focus on core profitable brands. Discontinued brands included Odwalla juices, ZICO coconut water, and regional sodas like Northern Neck Ginger Ale.
The “Real Magic” ad campaign is launched.
The Coca-Cola Company continues operations today as one of the most recognizable consumer brands in the world, available in over 200 countries worldwide.
The company currently offers over 500 beverage brands led by trademark sodas Coca-Cola, Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and Fanta. Other top brands include Minute Maid juices, Smartwater, Powerade sports drinks, and Georgia Coffee.
Over 1.9 billion Coca-Cola beverage servings are consumed worldwide every single day as of 2023.
Major recent priorities include responding to changing consumer preferences like health trends, expanding coffee offerings since the Costa Coffee acquisition, and pursuing sustainability efforts around plastic bottle use and recycling.
In 2023 and beyond, Coke aims to keep pace with beverage innovations while leveraging the nostalgia, sentiment and tradition behind being one of humanity's original modern consumer brands.
Many facts have not been included in this timeline as the history of Coca-Cola is vast.