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Caleb D. Bradham (1867 - 1934)

Original Founder of Pepsi-Cola Co.

The Pepsi-Cola story itself begins with a drugstore in New Bern, North Carolina, and a pharmacist named Caleb Bradham.

Bradham's aim was to create a fountain drink that was both delicious and healthful in aiding digestion and boosting energy.

It would be free of the impurities found in many bottled health tonics, and it would contain none of the stronger narcotics often added to popular fountain drinks.

As most pharmacies in 1896, Bradham's drugstore housed a soda fountain where the small-town clientele would meet to socialize. Bradham's establishment even featured a kind of primitive jukebox, which for a nickel would entertain the listener with the latest musical selections rendered by violin or piano or both.

It was at such convivial gatherings that Bradham would offer his latest concoction. Over time, one of his recipes became known as Brad's Drink. A member of the press declared, "It has sparkle and just enough acidity to make it pleasant." Soon its popularity would exceeded the boundaries of New Bern.

The cellar of Bradham's drugstore served as the original site of Pepsi-Cola syrup manufacturing. Electing to start his new business on a small, manageable scale, Bradham based his operation on familiar territory. Ingredients were hauled downstairs to cramped quarters where they were mixed together and then cooked in a large kettle. The syrup was subsequently poured into one-gallon jugs and five-gallon kegs to be shipped to customers.

By 1902, the demand from surrounding drugstores increased so dramatically it dawned on Bradham that Pepsi-Cola was something special.

On December 24, 1902, he filed incorporation papers with the state of North Carolina; in these, he indicated his plans for corporate branches in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. The rest is history!